Sunday, September 27, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: September 28

48 BCE Officers under orders from King Ptolemy of Egypt fell upon Roman general Pompey as soon as he stepped foot in Egypt after his defeat by Caesar. The assassins stabbed him to death, cut off his head, and threw his naked body into the sea. Ptolemy hope to gain favor with Caesar for the assassination but the dictator was appalled because he’d planned to pardon Pompey, his most ardent rival.

235 Roman emperor Maximinus Thrax, an opponent of Christianity, exiled both Pope Pontian and anti-Pope Hippolytus, church leader of Rome, to the mines of Sardinia, a certain death sentence.

365 Roman usurper Procopius bribed two legions passing by Constantinople and proclaimed himself emperor. Two of his generals betrayed him to the rightful emperor, though, and he was beheaded a few months later.

935 Nobleman Boleslav I the Cruel and three allies stabbed to death Boleslav's older brother, Duke of Bohemia Wenceslas I, on his way to mass. Boleslav became the Duke and “Good King” Wenceslas became the patron saint of the Czech state. Every year on this day, the Archbishop of Prague parades the skull of St. Wenceslas through the town of his murder, Stará Boleslav.

Sixty years later to the day, Boleslav’s son, Boleslav II the Pious, murdered most members of the rival Slavník dynasty—Spytimír, Pobraslav, Pořej and Čáslav—and added their land to his dukedom.

1787 The U.S. Congress sent the new Constitution to the states for their approval.

1850 The U.S. Navy abolished flogging as a form of punishment.

1871 The Brazilian Parliament passed a law granting freedom to all government-owned slaves and all new children born to slaves.

1904 NYPD arrested a woman for smoking a cigarette in a car on 5th Avenue.

1919 In Omaha, Nebraska, a mob of between 5-15,000 whites assaulted police officers guarding the courthouse where Will Brown, a Black man, was being held on suspicion of raping a white woman. The mob set the courthouse on fire, cut all fire hoses, looted downtown stores, beat up black citizens at random, and almost succeeded in lynching Mayor Edward Smith. Deputies and prisoners, trapped in the burning courthouse, threw Brown to the crowd. He was hanged from a telephone pole and riddled with bullets before being cut down and dragged behind a car for blocks, burned, and paraded through the streets. 1600 Army soldiers finally restored order.

1920 A Chicago grand jury indicted eight Chicago White Sox players for fixing the 1919 World Series in the Black Sox Scandal. All eight were acquitted at trial but banned from professional baseball and consideration for the Hall of Fame.

1928 The U.K. Parliament passed the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis, although doctors could continue to prescribe it. On this day in 1971, Parliament banned the medicinal use of cannabis.

1931 200,000 demonstrators in Peking demanded a declaration of war on Japan after Japanese forces invaded Manchuria.

1958 France ratified the Constitution of the Fifth Republic.

1961 In Damascus, Syria, Syrian Army officers unhappy with Egypt’s dominance in the United Arab Republic staged a coup, effectively ending the union between Egypt and Syria. An independent Syrian Republic was restored—for a while.

1973 The Weather Underground bombed the ITT Building on Madison Avenue in New York City for ITT's alleged involvement in the September 11 military coup d'état in Chile. The company reportedly helped finance Pinochet.

1975 Three robbers took the staff of the Spaghetti House restaurant in Knightsbridge, London, hostage and barricaded themselves in the basement for six days.

1995 French mercenary Bob Denard and 33 freelance soldiers took the islands of the Comoros in a coup. It was his third coup there, but this time France sent paratroopers to stop him and Denard was forced to surrender.

1995 In Boston, gunman John Tibbs opened fire on the luxury Bentley of pop singer Bobby Brown, killing passenger Steve Sealy, Brown’s childhood friend, bodyguard, and would-be brother-in-law. Brown ducked under the steering wheel and escaped injury during the ensuing gun battle. Prosecutors believe either robbery, a turf war, or jealousy motivated the shooting: local gang members begrudged Sealy’s closeness to Brown, who grew up in Roxbury. Tibbs received 27 years in prison.

2009 The Presidential Guard of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, leader of the junta government in Guinea, sprayed tear gas and opened fire on an estimated 50,000 pro-democracy protesters at a rally at a football stadium in Conakry, Guinea. At least 157 demonstrators were shot or bayoneted and 1,250 injured. A U.N. panel reported more than 100 women and girls were raped or sexually mutilated during the chaos following the shooting. A handful of protest leaders were arrested.

2012 Saudi Arabian authorities deported more than 170 women who arrived from Nigeria without a male escort. The women were on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Officials detained about 1,000 Nigerian women during the week before. 

2018 Facebook reported an unknown hacker, using a code weakness, had breached the accounts of as many as 50 million users.

2018 A Las Vegas woman accused football star Cristiano Ronaldo of rape in a lawsuit filed in Nevada. Kathryn Mayorga claimed Ronaldo assaulted her in a Las Vegas penthouse suite in 2009. In 2010 Mayargo signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $375,000; no criminal charges were ever filed. The new suit included charges of battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, coercion, fraud, abuse of a vulnerable person, racketeering, defamation, abuse of process, negligence, and breach of contract.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: September 21


1776 During the American Revolutionary War, British forces arrested American spy Nathan Hale as he attempted to cross back into American-controlled territory. He was caught with the intelligence he’d been gathering for several weeks behind British lines and was hanged the next day.

1780 American Revolutionary War General Benedict Arnold met with British Major John Andre and made plans for British forces to seize West Point, the fortress on the Hudson River under Arnold’s command, in exchange for 10,000 pounds and a British military commission. The conspiracy was uncovered, Major Andre captured and executed, and Arnold fled to England.

1792 The French National Convention formally abolished the monarchy.

1898 Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi seized power and imprisoned the Guangxu Emperor, her nephew and adopted son, ending the Hundred Days' Reform, a movement to modernize and reform China's imperial system that was vigorously opposed by the conservative elite.

1939 The Iron Guard, a fascist movement in Romania, assassinated Romanian Prime Minister Armand Călinescu with the approval and assistance of Germany.

1942 Horrors in the Ukraine: On Yom Kippur, the most revered holiday in Judaism, Nazis murdered 2,588 Jews in Dunaivtsi and sent more than 1,000 Jews of Pidhaitsi to Bełżec extermination camp.

1953 North Korean pilot Lieutenant No Kum-sok defected to South Korea with his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 jet fighter. No received a $100,000 reward for being the first pilot to defect with an operational aircraft as well as asylum in the U.S. Five of his North Korean Air Force comrades and commanders, including his best friend, were executed by firing squad as punishment for his defection. 

1972 Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos began authoritarian rule by declaring martial law.

1976 Agents of Chile's secret police, under orders from dictator Augusto Pinochet, assassinated Chilean exile Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C. with a car bomb. Letelier had been a member of the Chilean Marxist government of Salvador Allende, overthrown by Augusto Pinochet in 1973.

1981 The U.S. Senate unanimously approved Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice.

1985 American CIA case officer Edward Lee Howard fled to Russia after being identified as a KGB agent. He left a dummy made from stuffed clothes and an old wig stand in his car to fool the FBI agents following him. His book Safe House: The Compelling Memoirs of the Only CIA Spy to Seek Asylum in Russia explains his side of the story.

1993 Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspended parliament and scrapped the constitution, triggering a constitutional crisis.

1996 The U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act. The federal law defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned by other states. Subsequent Supreme Court decisions (United States v. Windsor [2013], Obergefell v. Hodges [2015]) have ruled it unconstitutional or rendered it unenforceable.

1998 American television networks publicly broadcast President Bill Clinton's August 17th grand jury testimony in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (This is the hearing where Clinton redefined “sexual relations” and argued the meaning of the word “is.”) The interview was taped at the insistence of the investigating team for the benefit of a jury member who could not attend the hearing. Members of the House of Representatives insisted on the release of the tape—along with 2,800 pages of supporting documentation—saying the public had the right to see all the evidence of the Starr Report.

2001 A gang of ten British Pakistani youths murdered Ross Parker, a white 17-year-old, in Peterborough, England, in a racially-motivated crime. Ross bled to death after being stabbed, beaten with a hammer, and repeatedly kicked. The Muslim community aided police in the capture of the perpetrators. Three defendants received life sentences and a fourth defendant was cleared of murder and manslaughter.

2019 The skies over Jambi province, Indonesia, turned red as the worst illegal forest fires since 2015 burned more than 800,000 acres and created respiratory problems for a million people. Fire is a cheaper and faster way to clear land than using heavy construction equipment, it provides a cheaper treatment than chemicals and fertilizers to create arable soil, and burned land can be sold illegally at a higher price. Environmental protection lawsuits against firms believed responsible for the fires have produced little change.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: September 14

1846 Jung Bahadur Kunwar and his brothers massacred about 40 members of the Nepalese palace court, including the prime minister and other senior ministers, military officers, and palace guards at the royal palace armory in Kathmandu. The massacre enabled Jung Bahadur to establish the powerful Rana dynasty of hereditary prime ministers, an office that remained in his family until 1951.

1901 U.S. President William B. McKinley died of gunshot wounds inflicted by anarchist Leon Czolgosz eight days earlier. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him, becoming the youngest president in U.S. history.

1911 In Kiev, leftist revolutionary Dmitry Bogrov shot Russian Prime Minister Peter Stolypin, whose regime had been characterized by harsh measures against dissidents. Stolypin died three days later and Bogrov was hanged ten days after the assassination.

1940 The Hungarian Army, supported by local Hungarians, killed 158 Romanian civilians in Ip, Sălaj, a village in Northern Transylvania. The soldiers and vigilantes were acting on the rumor that Romanians were responsible for the deaths of two Hungarian soldiers who died in an accidental explosion, and a report that armed Romanians were looting. The massacre is regarded as an act of ethnic cleansing.

1960 With CIA help, Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in a military coup in the Congo, suspending parliament and the constitution.

1979 Communist politician Hafizullah Amin ordered the arrest of Afghan president Nur Muhammad Taraki and took over the government.

1982 Syrian Social Nationalist Party member Habib Shartouni assassinated president-elect of Lebanon Bachir Gemayel, along with 26 others gathered at the Lebanese Phalanges Party offices in Beirut. Lebanese forces arrested Shartouni two days later.

1982 Princess Grace of Monaco died from injuries sustained in a car crash the previous day. Although official records show the monarch was driving, witnesses put 17-year-old Princess Stephanie—underage and unlicensed—behind the wheel.

1989 Pressman Joseph T. Wesbecker shot and killed eight people and wounded twelve others at the Standard Gravure printing plant in Louisville, KY. Wesbecker, 47, was on disability for mental illness. He took his own life after the incident.

2010 Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in London sentenced George Michael to eight weeks in prison, a £1,250 fine, and a five-year ban from driving for crashing his Range Rover into a Snappy Snaps store while under the influence of cannabis the previous July. He was released from Highpoint Prison after four weeks.

2015 In MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school because a teacher assumed it was a bomb.

2018 Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort plead guilty to conspiracy charges and agreed to co-operate with the U.S. Justice Department.

2019 Members of the Houthi movement in Yemen launched a drone attack on the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia. The attack destroyed half of the country's oil production and 5% of the world's.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

TODAY IN CRIME: September 7


Tower Hill, London

1303 Backed by 1600 men, royalist Guillaume de Nogaret took Pope Boniface VIII prisoner at his Palace in Anagni, Italy, on behalf of King Philip IV of France. Philip’s plan was for Nogaret to take Boniface to France to face charges of heresy, corruption, and committing various mortal and venal sins before a general council. Before that could happen, though, the Pope excommunicated both conspirators, and Nogaret’s forces, facing too much local opposition, fled back to France and the Pope was free.

1571 Authorities returned Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, to Tower Hill and held him on charges of treason for his role in the Ridolfi plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.

1695 In one of the most profitable pirate raids in history, British pirate Henry Every captured the trading ship Ganj-i-Sawai of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb on its way from Yemen to India. In response, Aurangzeb closed all ports in India to English ships until Every was caught and executed, igniting a global manhunt. The East India company compensated the Great Mughal for his losses—£325,000 to £600,000. Every and most of his crew were never caught.

1857 In southern Utah, Mormon John Doyle Lee led 50 to 60 Mormon militiamen disguised as Native Americans, along with Paiute allies, in an attack on a wagon train of Arkansas emigrants traveling to California. The Mormons feared outsiders (and the U.S. Army) were plotting an invasion of Utah and suspected some of the Arkansans in the death of Mormon Apostle Parley Pratt. The fighting continued for five days and left 120 migrants dead. After two trials, Lee was convicted of first-degree murder and shot at the site of the massacre on March 23, 1877.

1876 In Northfield, Minnesota, Jesse James and the James–Younger Gang attempted to rob the town's bank but were driven off by a mob of armed and angry citizens. Town residents killed two robbers that day; a posse killed or captured four more gang members after a 14-day manhunt while Jesse and Frank James escaped.

1911 French police arrested poet Guillaume Apollinaire on suspicion of aiding and abetting the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum. Even Picasso was brought in for questioning. Both men were exonerated. The real thief, Italian house painter Vincenzo Peruggia, was caught two years later when he tried to sell the painting in Florence.

1923 In Vienna, 22 delegates formed the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC), the direct forerunner of INTERPOL. Today, INTERPOL has 194 member countries, making it the world's largest police organization.

1978 Bulgarian secret police agent Francesco Gullino fired a ricin pellet from a specially-engineered umbrella into the leg of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov as he walked across Waterloo Bridge in London. Markov died four days later. According to some reports, the Bulgarian police had arrested Gullino on smuggling charges and gave him the choice of going to prison or becoming a secret agent.

1986 Members of Marxist guerilla group the Patriotic Front of Manuel Rodríguez ambushed Chilean President Augusto Pinochet's motorcade on its way back to Santiago. Firing on the convoy with machine guns, rifles, bazookas, and hand grenades, the guerillas killed five bodyguards and wounded eleven but inflicted only a hand wound on the president. Pinochet's grandson, protected by his grandfather, survived unharmed. Pinochet said he did not fear his opponents. "Try to kill me," he said. "I'm a soldier, I'm ready."

1996 An unknown assailant fired shots into the car of hip hop artist Tupac Shakur after he attended a Mike Tyson boxing match in Las Vegas, Nevada. Shakur suffered four .40 caliber rounds from a Glock 22—two in in the chest, one in the arm, and one in the thigh—and died six days later. He was 25. Bullet fragments hit passenger Suge Knight, causing slight injuries. Shakur's entourage was headed for an anti-violence fund-raiser at Knight's Club 662. Suspect Orlando Anderson was himself murdered before he could be charged.

2000 Police arrested rocker Timothy Commerford of Rage Against the Machine for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct during the MTV Music Awards. The bassist shimmied up a 15-foot-high scaffold and rocked it back and forth, disrupting Limp Bizkit's acceptance speech for Best Rock Video and delaying the show 20 minutes, before stagehands and security talked him down.

2006 Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage confirmed he was the source of a leak that disclosed the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame to journalist Robert Novak. Armitage claimed he didn't realize Plame's job was covert.

2008 The U.S. Treasury Department placed troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in government conservatorship.

2017 American credit bureau Equifax announced a data breach potentially impacting 140 million consumers in the U.S. Exposing millions of names and dates of birth, Social Security numbers, physical addresses, and other personal information, the breach was one of the largest cybercrimes related to identity theft. Equifax agreed to pay $575 million in a global settlement with the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and all 50 U.S. states and territories.

2019 Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and 69 others were released in a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia. Sentsov, an outspoken opponent of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government and of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and 24 Ukrainian sailors captured by Moscow when warships seized three naval vessels in the Kerch Strait in 2018 were among those released, while Russian prisoners released to Moscow included Volodymyr Tsemakh, a suspect in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that killed 298 people.