Aug 05, 2022
Police seek to fire officer after video shows excess force
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island police department is seeking to fire an officer after video showed him smashing a handcuffed man’s face into the pavement during a fireworks celebration on Fourth of July weekend.
The Providence Police Department said Friday that Capt. Stephen Gencarella has been accused of violating several department rules governing conduct, lawfulness and truthfulness.
“Based on the facts and circumstances presented, Providence Police administration has recommended that Capt. Gencarella be terminated from his employment,” the department said in a statement announcing its decision.
Gencarella and another officer arrested Armando Rivas, 21, for leaving his parked vehicle unattended in a roadway at the city’s India Point Park on July 3, The Boston Globe reported.
A video shared on YouTube, which has since been taken down, shows Gencarella grabbing Rivas’ head and slamming his face into the pavement as Rivas was handcuffed and lying face down, the Globe reported.
Gencarella is currently employed but went on injured-on-duty leave on July 6, a department spokesperson confirmed to the newspaper. Under labor rules, he may choose to resign or seek a hearing on the department’s recommendation to fire him.
The Globe reported that on July 5, Rivas pleaded no contest to obstructing police, resisting arrest, and two counts of simple assault on the officers; he was placed on probation for a year.
The Providence police union didn’t respond to a call seeking comment, and efforts to contact Gencarella were unsuccessful Friday.
A separate investigation into the incident by the state attorney general’s office is ongoing.
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Muhammad Syed Accused in Murders of Muslim Men in Albuquerque
Facebook From left: Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, Mohammed Ahmadi and Aftab Hussein are three of the four men who victims of a possible serial killer.
Muhammad Syed was named as the suspect who is accused of murdering Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a series of murders.
Police created an “evidence submission portal” where the public can submit photos of videos that may help with the case.
The victims are: Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27; Aftab Hussein, 41; Mohammad Ahmadi, 62; and Naeem Hussain, 25. Syed has been accused in two of the murders thus far.
According to ABC News, Ahmadi was murdered outside a business “he ran with his brother.” Muhammad Afzaal Hussain worked “on the planning team for the city of Española, New Mexico,” CNN reported.
CNN reported that authorities believe the victims were ambushed and shot.
Mayor Tim Keller said in a news conference that police don’t know who the killer is or how long they’ve been in the city. He said the city has been an inclusive and welcoming city for refugees.
He said the city’s officials and residents “all condemn the senseless killings . … We want to express our solidarity with the New Mexico Muslim community.”
President Biden tweeted, “I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families, and my Administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. These hateful attacks have no place in America.”
Here’s what you need to know:1. Police Released a Photo of a ‘Vehicle of Interest’ & then Announced They Had Found It
Authorities revealed they found a vehicle of interest, which led them to the “primary suspect” in the murders of the Muslim men.
“We tracked down the vehicle believed to be involved in a recent murder of a Muslim man in Albuquerque. The driver was detained and he is our primary suspect for the murders. We will update the media later this afternoon,” Albuquerque police tweeted on August 9, 2022.
The Albuquerque Police Department released a photo of a car in connection with the investigation. “WANTED: APD releases photos of a vehicle of interest in the shootings of 4 Muslim men. If you have any information about this vehicle please contact Crime Stoppers at (505)-843-STOP,” police wrote on August 7, 2022.
The police poster with information about the car reads, “The vehicle pictured below is suspected as being used as conveyance in recent homicides of 4 Muslim men.”
It says, “APD is asking the public for assistance with the identification of the vehicle in the photos avoce. The vehicle is a dark gray/silver Volkswagen sedan with four doors and tinted windows. The vehicle appears to be a Jetta.”
In a news conference, authorities said the vehicle is either a Jetta or a Passat.
Keller said police have “some leads” but need the community’s help to catch the suspect.
“We have got to find this vehicle,” said Keller.2. Two Pakistani Men & a Man From Afghanistan Were Murdered First
In their first news release on August 4, 2022, police wrote that “APD homicide detectives are investigating three recent murders of Muslim men that may be linked to the same offender. The FBI is assisting in the investigation.”
They added: “Detectives determined there is a connection between Monday’s murder of Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, 27, and last week’s murder of Aftab Hussein, 41. Both men are Muslim and from Pakistan. They were killed in Southeast Albuquerque, near Central Ave.”
“Muhammad was soft-spoken and kind, and quick to laugh,” Mayor John Ramon Vigil said in a news release obtained by CNN. “He was well-respected and well-liked by his coworkers and members of the community.”
The release said he had “studied law and human resource management at the University of Punjab in Pakistan,” CNN reported, and he had “both master’s and bachelor degrees in community and regional planning from the University of New Mexico.”
“Our City staff has lost a member of our family,” the mayor’s statement said, “and we all have lost a brilliant public servant who wanted to serve and improve his community.”
According to the police release, “As a result of these murders, detectives are now trying to determine whether the Nov. 7, 2021 murder of Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim from Afghanistan, is also related to the more recent homicides. Ahmadi was killed outside of a business he and his brother ran at 1401 San Mateo Blvd., N.W.”
“Our homicide detectives and our investigators currently believe there is a strong possibility that the same individual committed all three of these crimes,” said Kyle Hartsock, deputy commander of APD’s Criminal Investigations Division. “While we won’t go into why we think that, there’s one strong commonality in all of our victims, their race and religion.3. A Fourth Muslim Man Was Murdered on August 6, 2022
A fourth murder occurred two days after the police news conference.
“APD homicide detectives are investigating an overnight murder of a Muslim man that may be linked to three similar murders in Albuquerque. The FBI is assisting in the investigation,” the press release said.
“APD officers in the Southeast Area Command responded Friday just before midnight to reports of a shooting in the area of Truman St. and Grand Ave., N.E. An adult male was located and found to be deceased. Homicide detectives were called to the scene to start an investigation. Investigators learned the victim, believed to be in his mid-20s, is Muslim and a native from South Asia. His identity has not been positively confirmed.”
His name was Naseem Hussain.
“Investigators believe Friday’s murder may be connected to three recent murders of Muslim men also from South Asia,” they wrote.4. Police Vowed to Keep the Muslim Community Safe After the Deaths Play
President Biden speaks out on Muslim murdersPresident Biden speaks out on Muslim murders2022-08-07T23:53:07Z
The police chief, Harold Medina, said in a news conference on August 6, 2022, that another young man part of Muslim community was murdered.
“We believe this death is related to those shootings,” he said of the other three deaths.
The chief said he had called the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. He said police are working to ensure the safety of the Muslim community, adding that federal agencies are involved, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Police listed overtime caps for officers and are doing neighborhood patrols. They are asking the Muslim community to stay vigilant.
“I want to reassure our friends in the Muslim community that we are making these crimes a top priority for the department,” Chief Medina said in a news release. “I appreciate the assistance of the FBI and the District Attorney as we partner to solve these crimes.”5. The Governor Called Them ‘Targeted Killings’
The targeted killings of Muslim residents of Albuquerque is deeply angering and wholly intolerable.
I am sending additional State Police officers to Albuquerque to work in close coordination with APD and the FBI to bring the killer or killers to justice – and they WILL be found.
— Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) August 6, 2022
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wrote on Twitter that she was sending more police to help investigate the“targeted killings.”
“The targeted killings of Muslim residents of Albuquerque is deeply angering and wholly intolerable,” she wrote on Twitter.
“We will not stop in our pursuit of justice for the victims and their families and are bringing every resource to bear to apprehend the killer or killers — and we WILL find them.”
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