News by Professionals 4 Professionals

government

Manhattan Security Guard Attacked Citizen in Government Building, Prosecutors Say

FINANCIAL DISTRICT, NY A private security guard hired to work in a government building in lower Manhattan allegedly attacked a citizen and fractured his ribs without provocation, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Wednesday. (For more news from the Financial District and the rest of New York City, subscribe to Patch news alerts here[1].)

Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Tuesday charging Edwin Caban, a security officer in a federal government building, with violating the civil rights of a civilian last year. Caban allegedly pushed “the victim over a desk and then repeatedly [punched] the victim in the ribs without physical provocation,” according to the criminal complaint. Caban, 55, worked as a security officer at a Social Security Administration building in the Financial District. He was employed by a private contractor hired by the Federal Protective Services, the branch of Homeland Security that guards federal buildings. The criminal complaint also accuses Caban of lying about the incident and trying to cover it up. Joon Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for Manhattan, disclosed the complaint on Wednesday evening.

“The Federal Protective Service s mission is to protect federal facilities, including employees and visitors,” Kim said in a statement. “But in this case, we ve alleged, an innocent visitor needed protection from a violent and unprovoked attack by Protective Security Officer Edwin Caban, which fractured the visitor s ribs. Officer Caban then allegedly lied about the incident, falsely claiming the victim was disruptive and required removal from the building. “

According to prosecutors, Caban was working in the lobby of the building in June 2016 when a man entered the building wheeling an older man in a wheelchair. When Caban tried to move the wheelchair, the man asked him to stop, prosecutors said. Caban then accused the man of trying to take photos of him with his phone, according to the complaint. At that point, Caban reached for the man, who had his hands up, and pushed him toward the elevator bank, authorities said. Caban allegedly continued to push him backward over a desk, before pinning the man against a wall and then punching him four times in the chest and ribs, according to prosecutors. The incident was recorded by security cameras. Caban lied about the incident to NYPD officers who responded to the scene, in an incident report he submitted, and to investigators from the Federal Protective Service, prosecutors claimed. He was also charged with one count of filing false forms and making false statements

Caban’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lead image via Shutterstock.

References

  1. ^ subscribe to Patch news alerts here (patch.com)

Former Pawtucket group home employee accused of sex-trafficking teen in DCYF care

Katie Mulvaney Journal Staff Writer kmulvane

CRANSTON A former staff counselor at a group home was charged this week with sex trafficking a teenage girl who was under the care of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families. The Cranston police, working with U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators, arrested Reysean Williams, 27, Monday at the Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative in Pawtucket. He has since been fired from his job working at the group home that helps transition men ages 18 to 21 who are in state care into independent living, according to Dan Brito, Blackstone Valley executive director. The charge did not relate to Williams’ work at Blackstone, according to a spokeswoman for DCYF.

“It’s extremely disturbing. These are the people we should be helping,” Brito said Thursday. He added: “It’s sad that we have people in this field who engage in this behavior.”

Williams, of 52 Manton St., Pawtucket, was in District Court, Warwick on Tuesday. Judge Mary E. McCaffrey released Williams on a $10,000 property bond, court records show. He was referred to the public defender. Kerri White, spokeswoman for DCYF, confirmed that a call was placed to the state hotline about Williams’ arrest, and that the victim’s case was open to the department. White said Williams had never been a caregiver to the child. The Blackstone Valley Collaborative is contracted with the state to provide services to individuals in DCYF care.

White said that she couldn’t provide more information due to confidentiality laws, but that DCYF is investigating. According to an affidavit supporting Williams’ arrest, filed in District Court by Cranston police, on April 17 the department’s special victims unit, working with Homeland Security, conducted a sting for juveniles posting advertisements for commercial sex on the Backpage website. A 17-year-old girl, identified as J1, was located. Three days later, investigators accompanied J1 to an apartment in Cranston for a sex transaction. As a result, an unnamed man and woman were arrested for prostitution. Two cellphones were seized from J1.

Two conversations between the girl and Williams, using the handle “Sincere,” were found, the affidavit said. J1 had sent Williams nude and scantily clad images to which Williams would respond with screen shots of provocative Backpage ads he said he had posted. J1 told investigators that she met Williams in late February through an unidentified male for purposes of prostitution, the affidavit says. According to the affidavit, she and Williams reached an agreement in which they would split evenly all money earned for sex acts. Williams managed the posts and took her to hotels in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York, booking rooms for prostitution, under his own name using his credit card.

J1 told investigators that Williams would regularly drive a Blackstone Valley Collaborative van to a “trap house” in Providence, where J1 was staying, to collect money from her and others. She said that she and other females were not allowed to leave the house unless specific permission was granted, the affidavit says. Col. Michael J. Winquist, Cranston police chief, referred all questions to the federal agency involved in the probe. Shawn Neudauer, public affairs officer for Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston, referred calls to the state attorney general’s office and said that eventually Williams might be charged federally.

Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for the attorney general, said the department is working with its partners to ensure the mental and physical well-being of sex-trafficking victims. “As law enforcement finishes the investigation, prosecutors from our office and the U.S. Attorney s office will determine the best venue for prosecution either in state court of federal court,” she said.

The Providence Journal does not identify juveniles or alleged victims of sex crimes. The phone number listed for Williams was not accepting calls Thursday afternoon.

Mississippi Is New Base of Homeland Security Drone Testing

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has chosen Mississippi as the new base of a demonstration program for small drones that originally started in Oklahoma. After a competitive selection process, the department decided that Mississippi s multi-site offering was best for its mission of testing unmanned aircraft for DHS component agencies.

We evaluated regions using a set of standard questions and requests, and a detailed qualitative and quantitated evaluation of each region, the DHS said in response to an AIN inquiry. Based on that process, the department selected Mississippi (via several specific sites) as the most compatible to support demonstrations, testing and training on unmanned aircraft systems. Under a program it called Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety[1] (RAPS), the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) directorate started evaluating drones weighing less than 25 pounds in 2012, choosing an Oklahoma State University site near Elgin, Okla., within the restricted airspace of Fort Sill. The evaluations included operations at Liberty City, a simulated urban environment at the U.S. Army base. Announcing Oklahoma s selection in June 2012, Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said the state expected the program focused on evaluating drones for uses including mapping, search and rescue and responding to fires and radiological and chemical incidents would attract an overall investment of $1.4 million in its first year and last at least three years.

In a spring 2015 report, however, the governor s unmanned aerial systems council said the program has been temporarily halted in recent months due to the re-interpretation of policy from the Department of Defense, specifically the Department of the Army, in the use of Fort Sill restricted airspace by DHS for the RAPS program. The council expected the Army and the DHS would forge new agreements, but noted that the DHS was also working with the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct part of the RAPS program at Chilocco, Okla. But Elgin remained the preferred site for drone testing. The governor s council also recommended that the state work with Oklahoma s delegation in Congress to make RAPS a program of record within the next DHS authorization bill. Mississippi s congressional delegation and Mississippi State University (MSU) at Starkville jointly announced that state s selection by the DHS on April 19. The selection represented a second significant win for the state in the area of unmanned aircraft systems. The FAA announced in May 2015 that an MSU-led coalition would serve as the agency s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) center of excellence. The state has also affiliated with the Alaska-based Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, one of six FAA-designated drone test ranges[2].

Expected to begin operations this fall, the DHS drone demonstration range in Mississippi will use 2,000 square miles of restricted airspace up to an altitude of 60,000 feet, mainly in the state s southern and coastal regions. Multiple sites will participate, including the Mississippi National Guard s Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, NASA s John C. Stennis Space Center buffer zones and Singing River Island, a former naval base in the Mississippi Sound off Pascagoula.

The DHS S&T directorate realized a need for DHS to consolidate its demonstrations and testing of unmanned aircraft systems to prioritize flight time and reduce the overall cost to taxpayers, the department explained in an email. We spent a year working with federal stakeholders to identify a region where we could best accommodate the needs of the various DHS components and the DHS S&T First Responders Group, including terrain (desert, elevated regions and forest) to simulate border regions, deep water for ship operations and city environments for search and rescue and other operations. Formed in 2010, the First Responders Group is a collaboration involving the DHS and public safety associations and organizations representing law enforcement, emergency medical services and firefighting departments nationally.

This entire effort was undertaken to satisfy S&T s major function to provide applied technology that meets the components needs at an affordable cost, the DHS added.

References

  1. ^ Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (www.ainonline.com)
  2. ^ one of six FAA-designated drone test ranges (www.ainonline.com)