Officer suspended for failing to find gun on shoplift suspect who killed himself
An Austin, Texas, police officer who failed to find a loaded gun on a shoplifting suspect he arrested, who then ended up using the gun to commit suicide while handcuffed in a patrol car, has been suspended. Officer Iven Wall, a 10-year veteran with the Austin Police Department, has been suspended for 20 days starting June 22. Zachary Anam’s parents, Sayeed and Cara, say they are severely disappointed with the “minimal discipline” imposed on Officer Wall. “A 20-day suspension is like a vacation,” said Sayeed.
On Jan. 8, Officer Wall and Officer John Ricker were called to the Macy’s at Barton Creek Square Mall to assist with a shoplifting suspect, identified as 19-year-old Anam, who had been detained by a Macy’s loss prevention officer. According to the memo, loss prevention associates searched Anam and placed him in a holding room while they waited for police. When Officer Wall arrived, he went into the holding room and performed a pat-down of Anam where he also switched out the handcuffs to an APD issued set, all while Officer Ricker stood nearby. According to the memo, Officer Wall said he “only patted the subject down” instead of doing a complete search. He acknowledged this lapse was a “significant error” on his part. The officer also said he threw away the box cutter that Anam was using to steal items in the store, instead of collecting it as evidence. Anam was then handcuffed behind his back and placed into the back of Officer Wall’s patrol car, with the seat belt on. As the officer transported Anam to APD Headquarters, Anam began having conversations with the officer about being suicidal, said Interim Chief of Police Brian Manley in January. During transport, Anam was able to remove his seatbelt.
“In light of the many instances in which APD has missed weapons in the past, this appears to be a systemic failure on the part of APD,” said the family’s attorney, Jeff Edwards. “Unless Chief Manley commits to retraining every officer so that they learn how to properly frisk suspects, this will happen to someone else. A 20-day suspension does little to nothing to correct the issue going forward and is insulting to the Anam family, who lost their only son.” [For more: KXAN NBC News]
$2K shoplifting spree ends for pair at Walmart, cops say
A South Carolina pair is jailed after allegedly stealing $2,000 worth of goods in a shoplifting spree in Mansfield Township. Charged are Shayraina Ball, 22, and Melsun L. Mohammed, 23, both of Lexington. Mansfield police were called to the Walmart store for the pair allegedly concealing items. A loss prevention associate spotted the pair and recognized them as thieves in two past incidents at the store, according to police. The pair initially left the store, but turned around after seeing officers, police said. They were stopped, arrested and their vehicle was searched. Seized from the car were $2,000 worth of stolen items from various stores. Police also found a list of Walmart locations in Ball’s purse. Both were charged each with three counts shoplifting and conspiracy to commit shoplifting. Mohammed also was also charged with possession of stolen property. The pair were taken to the Warren County jail with a court date pending. [For more: Lehigh Valley Live]
Local police make shoplifting sweep
Moline, Illinois, Police made six arrests in the last week during a sweep to curb shoplifting. Called a “Booster Buster Detail,” the sweep involved Moline police officers in and out of uniform working with employees to target retail theft, according to a Moline police news release issued Wednesday. There were five misdemeanor arrests and one felony arrest made. There also were five city citations written. The operation also is credited with solving previously reported theft cases and starting new investigations, the release stated. Moline police have not released the names of those arrested or cited; further details were not available. [For more: Dispatch-Argus]
Judge OKs $1.6M Neiman Marcus data breach settlement
A $1.6 million settlement between Neiman Marcus Group LLC and a class of its customers whose credit card data was exposed in a 2013 data breach received preliminary approval from an Illinois federal judge on Wednesday. The deal, which the parties first announced in March, will cover U.S. residents whose credit or debit card was used from July 16, 2013, to Jan. 10, 2014, at any store operating under the Neiman Marcus umbrella, which includes Bergdorf Goodman, Cusp or Last Call. At a brief hearing in Chicago federal court on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan granted the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement and certification of the class without commenting on the agreement’s terms. Under the agreement, Neiman Marcus is released from any claims stemming from the data breach, which it said was the result of malware installed in the luxury retailer’s computer system.
The malware was used to scrape payment data from some stores for three months in 2013, the company said in a press release in 2014. Approximately 370,385 cards were used at the stores while the malware was operating, according to the settlement agreement, which does not require Neiman Marcus to admit liability. Of the cards that were exposed, approximately 9,200 were later used fraudulently, the company said. Customers who file a claim showing their card was used at a store while the malware was operating will receive up to $100, and the four class representatives will receive $2,500 apiece. Of the $1.6 million settlement fund, $400,000 is expected to go to the settlement administrator. Class counsel, Tina Wolfson of Ahdoot & Wolfson PC and John A. Yanchunis of Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group, have agreed not to seek more than $530,000 in attorneys’ fees, according to court filings. [For more: Law360]