The ex-cop charged with murder for kneeling on the neck of George Floyd illegally voted in Florida elections while living in Minnesota, a lawyer alleged on Friday.
Attorney Dan Helm sent a letter containing the voting record of ex-cop Derek Chauvin to Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala, asking her to pursue charges, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“While living in Minnesota, working there, paying taxes there, Derek Chauvin cannot claim residency in Orange County. His home, residency and where he intends to live is in Minnesota, not Florida,” wrote Helm, who is running for election supervisor role in Pinellas County.
The Minneapolis police department, where Chauvin worked when he fatally kneeled on Floyd’s neck during an arrest, does not require its police officers to hold a residence in the city, according to its website.
The Minneapolis Police Department had a residency requirement for its officers — which was removed in 1999 a bill called the “Stanek Residency Freedom Bill” was signed into law by then-governor Jesse Ventura prohibiting municipalities in the state from requiring residency for employment, according to MinnPost.com.
Anti-police brutality protesters in New York City paid their respects on Friday to Breonna Taylor, a black EMT who was fatally shot by cops in her home in Kentucky home — grieving her at memorials in Brooklyn and Manhattan on what would have been her 27th birthday.
Taylor, 26, had been sleeping with her boyfriend on March 13 in Louisville when three plainclothes cops burst into her home on a no-knock warrant; she was accidentally shot eight times.
None of the officers involved in the shooting have been arrested, though they have been placed on administrative leave. The FBI said it was investigating the shooting in May “due to a number of media requests.”
Steve Conrad, the former chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, was later fired after cops killed another Louisville resident, David McAtee, a black man who ran a popular barbecue business frequently patronized by local law enforcement.
“It’s very frustrating, it’s heartbreaking. It’s a smack in the face, actually, to know that these officers are still being paid to do a job that they failed at,” said Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer in an interview Friday with The 19th.
A massive crowd gathered at the Old Farley Post Office to sing “Happy Birthday” to Taylor — whose name has also become a fixture as Black Lives Matter protesters have gathered to demand justice after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
Another crowd was seen standing in the rain at Domino Park in Williamsburg for a 27-minute moment of silence in her memory — also sending off pink balloons to celebrate the health worker’s birthday.
“Say her name!” an organizer chanted into a megaphone.
A wannabe Florida rapper was arrested after telling fans to kill cops in an Instagram post, a report said Wednesday.
Cale Groff, 20, was arrested Tuesday by St. Petersburg Police after calling on fans to gather at a local mall and throw bricks through the windows, according to the arrest affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.
“If you see a police … Throw a brick at his head or whatever’s in your hand… F–k all the police, we gonna kill them how they killed George,” Groff said in the video.
Groff, who makes music under the name “Ace $wift,” received a felony charge of making threatening communications or threats of mass shootings. He was released later Tuesday on a $20,000 bond, jail records show.
Groff posts music on his SoundCloud page to his 308 listeners, with songs titled “Pimpin Ain’t Easy,, “Still Scamming” and “F–k It.” Cover art accompanying the images shows Groff with weapons and cash.
Since his arrest, he has scrubbed his Instagram of all posts.
It’s common for livestock to escape in Double Oak, a town just west of Flower Mound that is often considered an urban farming community because of its large acreage properties.
But regardless of its regularity, escaped livestock still excites those who spot the missing mammal.
“There has been a longhorn going through the yards on South Forest Lane for the last couple of hours,” a Double Oak resident posted on Facebook this morning. “I tried to go over there to let them know but they have an electric gate. Only in Texas lol!”
Blake Ringberg, a Double Oaks police officer, said that by the time he responded to the call, the owner already had the longhorn put up.
Residents in the 200 block of Kings Road have three longhorns “that are basically pets of theirs,” Rinbgberg said. A creek on the backside of their property touches the fence line. Because of heavy rain last week, part of the fence washed way.
The owner was able to get the animal corralled and was repairing his fence.
About a third of the residents in Double Oak have some sort of livestock. You’re not quite sure what you’re going to see from day to day.
Ringberg said he’s seen everything from horses and longhorns to miniature donkeys and llamas. At one time, a zebra even called Double Oak home.
“You wouldn’t think you’d get livestock calls in a metropolitan area, but we do frequently and actually keep equipment in the car to wrangle them,” Ringberg said. “We keep horse halters, horse ropes, lead ropes, snake poles, pretty much anything for an animal we’d need to deal with.”
The Flower Mound Police Department recently put up two signs marking two adjacent spaces in its parking lot. Police hope the signs, which read “online exchange zone,” will encourage smarter shopping with online classified sites such as Craigslist.
Wess Griffin, a Flower Mound police spokesman, said the signs are precautionary measures. So far, the town has been fortunate to avoid incidents in which an unwary buyer or seller gets ambushed when meeting someone with criminal intent.
“I can’t think of a single instance in Flower Mound where online transactions had gone wrong,” he said.
Craigslist transactions go flawlessly 99 percent of the time. It’s just one nice person trying to sell an object, and one nice person buying an object, Griffin said.
“If you’re someone who’s thinking about doing harm to someone else, hopefully you’ll think twice before trying to attempt that at the police department,” he said. “But I’m not going to say nobody would be brazen enough to try something in front of the police station.”
In February, Denton police Officer Orlando Hinojosa proposed the idea for online safe zones for Denton residents — also for precautionary measures. The safe zone in Denton is also at the police station.
“It wasn’t because we were having issues. Anybody will feel safe doing a transaction at the police department,” Hinojosa said. “If they don’t want to make the exchange at the station, I wouldn’t make a deal with that person.”
Online transaction zones have become popular because of several high-profile cases in which a buyer or seller went to meet someone and ended up getting robbed or killed.
A Dallas County state district judge recently declared a second mistrial in the capital murder case of Christopher Howard Beachum, according to a Dallas Morning News report. Beachum was accused of killing Gerald Canepa, 68, a man he met through Craigslist.
A post on the Richardson Police Department’s Facebook page mentions two robberies in which Craigslist sellers lured potential buyers to two homes in Richardson and robbed them at gunpoint. Similar crimes have occurred across the country, such as the case of Philip Haynes Markoff, the so-called “Craigslist Killer,” who is accused of one murder and two aggravated robberies in Boston.
Dan Rochelle, a captain with the Lewisville Police Department, said his station doesn’t have any designated safety zones. But residents are always welcome to do their exchanges at the station, he said.
“We’ve had plenty of reports filed that they didn’t get the merchandise they paid for,” he said. “But I don’t know of any that are violent in nature.”
The Flower Mound zones have received positive feedback on social media.
Greg Decker, a Flower Mound resident, said safe zones represent an improvement in services.
“I have done quite a few Craigslist deals, and I would never go to [someone’s house] or ask the other party to my house,” he said. “I used a public lot near a restaurant I patronized where I knew employees. I parked in sight, told my buddies what I was doing and to watch, and also had my own defense if needed.”
Brenda Stiles Johnson, another Facebook user, wrote the safe zones are also a great place for a divorced parent to drop off children with the other parent. Johnson said her divorced daughter is more comfortable now when she drops off or picks up her child.
“My daughter loves that Flower Mound has a place,” she said. “She has been meeting her ex in front of Denton PD, but both of them are in our town a lot as both work here.”
Griffin said his department hadn’t envisioned that the safe zones could be used by divorced parents.
“For years and years, our police department has been used for custody exchanges, and we encourage people to do that too,” he said. “It’s always good if there’s any ill will there.”
Griffin said the benefits of buying or selling items at the police department is that the station is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Additionally, the spots were chosen to be close to security cameras as possible, which would make it easier to identify suspects and vehicles.
Officers had not considered the possibility that some may use the safety zone for nefarious operations — essentially hiding in plain sight, Griffin said. For example, some drug dealers could think that conducting business in front of the station may prevent them from getting shot by potential buyers.
“I’d hope the safety zones would act as a deterrent, but you never know,” Griffin said. “We caught a guy stealing a bottle of hand sanitizer from our lobby on camera.
“If my dealer wants to meet me in the police department parking lot, I’m probably not going to show on that one. But you never know. Stranger things have happened.”
ADAM SCHRADER can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @schrader_adam.
Badgers BBQ, a new restaurant in Lewisville, has a mission.
Owners Emilee and Erich Klein serve family-style barbecue, but they also want to use their restaurant to honor “the badge”: law enforcement, firefighters and soldiers in the community.
Hence the name Badgers.
The restaurant opened in August and had its grand opening last Saturday.
Emilee runs the restaurant with Erich’s help. He is a full-time federal law enforcement officer.
Erich, 43, has been with a federal agency in the area for almost seven years. He chose not disclose which agency.
When he was 16, he snagged his first job in law enforcement as a cadet at a California police department. At 21, he received his California police officer certification. He moved to Texas in 1999 and received his new certification in 2001.
“I decided not to pursue it for various reasons,” he said. “An opportunity rose up to get with my agency now, and here I am.”
Emilee, 43, has been in retail management since high school. After moving to Texas, she took a short break to blend the couple’s families before returning to work as a general manager for a fast-food chain.
The Kleins talked about opening their own place for years. Finally, they decided to stop talking and do it. Emilee left her job to start planning the new venture in December of 2013.
They shopped for space, but none felt right. One day, their insurance agent called to tell them the restaurant next to her office was going out of business.
The location on Lewisville’s Main Street, just east of Flower Mound, fit. It’s close to Lewisville and Flower Mound police stations. Attracting law officers to dine with them is part of their business plan.
“The landlords were open to everything. They were really trying to work with us,” Emilee said. “It was time, and everything fell into place, so here we are.”
Erich said they couldn’t have done it without support and input from his friends and co-workers. The Kleins said their two 15-year-old daughters Danielle and Shelly, who are in ROTC, and Lilly, 10, were instrumental in their success.
“They’ve really stepped up and helped put in sinks, scrub nastiness off the floor before we moved in,” Emilee said. “They learned how to cook barbecue and are our primary waitstaff.”
The Kleins suffered hiccups on the road to completion. Renovating the space was difficult and money was short. They feared failing to meet their deadline for opening.
“Because of a significant loss of money and having to pay someone to come back in and rebuild, we had to open very quickly,” Emilee said. “So we were not able to decorate like we wanted to, but we’re getting there.”
In the end, they orchestrated a successful opening with assistance from Helping Our Heroes in Lewisville.
Helping Our Heroes
Lewisville Helping its Heroes was formed by a group of friends who decided to help a military family in need. Their goal is to formally incorporate as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. And they are raising money to get that done.
The Kleins came across the group on Facebook as they were scheduling Badgers’ grand opening.
“Michelle, one of the officers of the organization, came in, sat down and talked to us about how we can have a mutually beneficial relationship,” Erich said.
Lewisville Helping its Heroes board member is a carpenter. He helped with the restaurant renovations. Then, in return, Badgers let Heroes use its banquet space to pass out fliers and information about their mission during the grand opening.
“They [Helping Our Heroes] have been wonderful and believe in the same things we believe in,” Erich said.
Among the scheduled events for last Saturday’s grand opening was a raffle with proceeds going to the Heroes group.
Honoring the badge
The main dining room had not been fully decorated for the grand opening, but the Kleins decided to walk their guests through the planned decor so they could envision how it might look when finished.
A vinyl blue sign decorated with police shoulder patches from around the world greets customers as they enter Badgers. Soon, a red sign with firefighter patches will decorate another wall.
On the back wall, the Kleins will hang printings of the police officer’s prayer, the firefighter’s prayer, the soldiers’ prayer and the EMT prayer. They also plan to commission a mural dedicated to fallen heroes. A formally set table underneath the mural will always remain empty to remind guests of fallen soldiers who are not forgotten. Emilee said sugar and lemon on the table symbolize the bitter-sweetness of their sacrifice.
“When my customers come into my building, I want them to feel that overwhelming sense of pride that this is their country,” Emilee said. “People fight for their freedom to safely come to restaurants like mine.”
The restaurant also hosts a table reserved for on-duty, uniformed officers and firefighters. Its location allows officers a full view of the restaurant, the entry points and their cars.
Emilee said when the restaurant held a fundraiser for the Lewisville High School baseball team, all the tables were full and people were waiting. One group asked if they could sit at the reserved table.
“I had to tell them ‘no,’ and explained that the table is reserved specifically for on-duty officers. You don’t know when they will get to eat because they are always working. I want to make sure they get fed and have a place to kick back,” she said. “Once I explained that to them, they were like, ‘Absolutely, we will wait.’”
“It’s very cool that I can do that through my restaurant,” she said.