Criminal Justice News

Monday, November 20, 2017

Attorney General Sessions Announces $98 Million To Hire Community Policing Officers



WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced $98,495,397 in grant funding through the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The Attorney General announced funding awards to 179 law enforcement agencies across the nation, which allows those agencies to hire 802 additional full-time law enforcement officers.

“Cities and states that cooperate with federal law enforcement make all of us safer by helping remove dangerous criminals from our communities,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Today, the Justice Department announced that 80 percent of this year’s COPS Hiring Program grantees have agreed to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in their detention facilities. I applaud their commitment to the rule of law and to ending violent crime, including violent crime stemming from illegal immigration. I continue to encourage every jurisdiction in America to collaborate with federal law enforcement and help us make this country safer.”

CHP provides grant funding directly to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to support hiring additional law enforcement officers for three years to address specific crime problems through community policing strategies.

In September, the Justice Department announced additional priority consideration criteria for FY2017 COPS Office grants. Applicants were notified that their application would receive additional points in the application scoring process by certifying their willingness to cooperate with federal immigration authorities within their detention facilities. Cooperation may include providing access to detention facilities for an interview of aliens in the jurisdiction’s custody and providing advance notice of an alien’s release from custody upon request. Eighty percent of the awarded agencies received additional points based on their certifications of willingness to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The complete list of award recipients can be found here.

The COPS Office awards grants to hire community policing officers, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.

Friday, November 17, 2017

ATF, Firearms Industry Offer Reward in Seville Gun Store Burglary



CLEVELAND — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry – are announcing a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the burglary of BMT Firearms, located at 123 Greenwich Road, Seville, Ohio.

ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000, which will be matched by the NSSF for a total possible reward of $10,000.

At approximately 1:15 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2017, several unknown individuals forcibly gained entry into the building, taking 16 handguns and four long guns. ATF is working with the Seville Police Department, the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate the incident.

The same individuals are suspected of attempting to burglarize Elite Tactical, located at 224 High Street, Wadsworth, Ohio prior to entering BMT Firearms.  The suspects were unable to make entry to the Wadsworth store.  ATF is working with the Wadsworth Police Department to investigate the incident.

Anyone having information about this burglary should contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867).  Individuals may also email ATFTips@atf.gov (link sends e-mail), or contact ATF through its website at www.atf.gov/contact/atf-tips.  Tips may also be submitted to ATF using the ReportIt® app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store, or by visiting www.reportit.com (link is external).  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

This reward is part of a larger national cooperative initiative between the NSSF and ATF in which NSSF matches ATF rewards in cases involving the theft of firearms from federally licensed retailers.  ATF works closely with the members of the firearms industry to curb the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms.

Defendants Charged in Armed Robbery of Jewelry Store in Downtown Brooklyn



Robbers Posed as Construction Workers, Pistol-Whipped Store Owner, Then Fled Into Subway Station

Earlier today, Darryl Odom was arrested in connection with the May 25, 2017 armed robbery of Court Street Jewelers located at 60 Court Street in Brooklyn, New York.  Odom and three coconspirators who were previously arrested – Kenneth Davis, Shaka Davis and Lashawn Williams – are charged in a superseding indictment in the Eastern District of New York with Hobbs Act robbery, Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy and brandishing a firearm during the commission of the robbery.  Odom and another coconspirator, Leonard Hinton, are also charged in the indictment with the robbery at knifepoint of a jewelry store at 98 Smith Street in Brooklyn on February 10, 2017.  Odom is scheduled to be arrigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge James Orenstein.

Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

According to the court documents, at approximately 5:15 p.m., Odom and his coconspirators entered the jewelry store at 60 Court Street disguised as construction workers while another perpetrator waited outside as a lookout.  Once inside the store, one of the robbers pistol-whipped the store owner with a gun, causing lacerations to his head.  Odom and the other perpetrators grabbed several hundred thousand dollars in cash and jewelry during the robbery.  They fled to a nearby subway station where their images were recorded by surveillance cameras.  Law enforcement officers collected numerous pieces of evidence dropped by the perpetrators in the subway station, including gloves worn during the robbery, a hardhat and an envelope containing approximately $10,000 in cash.

“As alleged, the defendant and his co-conspirators engaged in a violent gunpoint robbery in broad daylight, then tied-up and beat the store owner,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “Thanks to the relentless investigative efforts by our law enforcement partners at the ATF and the NYPD, the defendants will now he held to account for their crimes.”

“Darryl Odom is alleged to have participated in an armed robbery of a jewelry store during which the store owner was violently assaulted and injured as a result.  The defendants are alleged to have escaped with jewelry, gold and cash,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Benedict.  “This was a carefully organized crime, even going so far as to have a participant wait outside wearing a disposable hazmat suit hold a sign that asbestos work was underway in order to prevent others from entering the store while the robbery took place.  I would like to extend my gratitude to the Special Agents and NYPD Detectives on the ATF/NYPD SPARTA Joint Robbery Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work in swiftly bringing the defendants to justice.”

 “Thanks to the NYPD and our law enforcement partners these individuals were apprehended following an armed robbery that played out in a local business and on the streets of New York City,” stated Police Commissioner O’Neill. “I commend the investigators involved who worked diligently to ensure these individuals were held accountable for this act of violence.”

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum of seven years in prison.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Josh Hafetz and Special Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Saltzman are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

DARRYL ODOM
Age: 53
Residence: Bronx, New York

KENNETH DAVIS
Age: 52
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

SHAKA DAVIS
Age: 29
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

LASHAWN WILLIAMS (“Ron Johnson”)
Age: 48
Residence: Bronx, New York

LEONARD HINTON (“Bebe”)
Age: 54
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-MJ-668; 17-CR-432 (BMC)
Field Division: New York Field Division