Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lima police sergeant acquitted in drug-bust shooting death

LIMA, Ohio — A veteran Lima police sergeant was acquitted Monday on charges he was negligent when he shot an unarmed woman to death and wounded her 1-year-old son.

Joseph Chavalia, 52, was found innocent of negligent homicide and negligent assault, both misdemeanors, stemming from a Jan. 4 drug raid at Wilson’s Third Street home in which Tarika Wilson, 26, and her son, Sincere, were shot.

The jury deliberated for about three hours.

The verdicts followed 3½ days of testimony in Allen County Common Pleas Court, including an account of the raid by Sergeant Chavalia.

He told the jury that as he climbed the staircase of the house with another SWAT team member directly behind him, he saw a shadowy figure duck in and out of a doorway at the end of the dark hallway at the same time he heard gunfire.

Sergeant Chavalia said he was "absolutely, positively" certain he was being fired at, and he returned fire even though he could not see the person he was shooting at.

Tarika Wilson, 26, was killed in the Jan. 4 shooting during a drug raid.

As it turned out, two SWAT officers downstairs had shot two pit-bull dogs let loose on officers by Wilson’s boyfriend, Anthony Terry, the target of the raid.

The incident focused national attention on Lima, where some residents accused police of unfairly targeting African-Americans.

About a month later, the Rev. Jesse Jackson met with community leaders in Lima and declared the shooting of the biracial woman by a white police officer "unnecessary force, excessive, and illegal."
Earlier Monday, a longtime member of the Columbus Police Department’s SWAT team testified that he would have fired at Ms. Wilson during a drug raid at her home, although he would’ve fired sooner.

James Scanlon, who has been with Columbus Police for 30 years and co-owns a SWAT training business, said as police officers in high-threat situations frequently do, Sergeant Chavalia waited too long to fire after he heard gunfire and believed he was the target.

“You’re always waiting for the next bit of information hoping that next bit of information causes you not to fire,” Mr. Scanlon said.

Following Mr. Scanlon’s testimony the defense rested.

Mexico and Brazil Now Top 10 Creditors to US Government!

Greenspan warns of more bank bail-outs

By Krishna Guha in Washington

More banks and financial institutions could end up being bailed out by governments before the credit crisis is over, Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, warns in an article in Tuesday’s Financial Times.

However, Mr Greenspan cautions that a heavy-handed regulatory response to the crisis would do more harm than good because it would depress global share prices. He worries that governments, already troubled by inflation, might try to reassert their grip on economic affairs.

“If that becomes widespread, globalisation could reverse, at awesome cost,” he says.

The former Fed chairman says this financial crisis is a “once or twice a century event deeply rooted in fears of insolvency of major financial institutions”.

Highlighting the examples of Northern Rock in the UK and Bear Stearns in the US, he says: “There may be numbers of banks and other financial institutions that, at the edge of defaulting, will end up being bailed out by governments.”

Mr Greenspan says this “insolvency crisis” will end only when home prices in the US begin to stabilise.

He says that “later this year” suppressed housing starts will feed through into a significant decline in home completions, allowing for a “rapid rate of liquidation of the inventory glut”. But this “assumes that current levels of demand for housing hold up”.

Mr Greenspan says the performance of world stock markets will be crucial in determining how well the financial system holds up in the interim, and to banks’ ability to recapitalise themselves.

He says a key determinent of global equity prices is the rate at which investors discount future cash flows, and this in turn is influenced by the degree of market capitalism and globalisation.

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