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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shooting on Blue Hill Ave

Around 3PM today, Boston Police responded to a shooting call in the area of 99 Blue Hill Ave. Upon arrival, they located one victim down with a gunshot wound to the head.
The victim was transported by EMS to the trauma center at BMC. Full notifications were made, and extra officers were brought in from other districts to assist in interviewing witnesses and to search the area for possible suspects.
State Representative Carlos Henriquez noted on twitter that the incident occurred across from 102 Blue Hill Ave, a problem address, and also from a vacant lot filled with trash. Universal Hub compiled a sampling of crime reports from the two addresses.

UPDATE: News article about the shooting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Motor Vehicle Questions Answered

I'm not a lawyer, but I spend a fair amount of time in court, and I'll attempt to answer your questions as best as I can. All answers apply in Massachusetts, although if you need an answer for another state, I can look it up. Submit additional questions on twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below.

Q: Is it illegal to flash your headlights at oncoming traffic to warn them about a police officer ahead?

A: I can't find any law that says it is, and I've certainly never cited anyone for it. I think it would be difficult in court to prove why you had flashed your high beams, as there are other reasons to do so that are perfectly acceptable (to inform someone their headlights aren't on, for instance).
A creative police officer could possibly cite you for 540 CMR 22.05(2), Failure to dim your high beams within 500 feet of approaching traffic, which carries a fine of $35.
As a side note, keep in mind that the ultimate goal of speed enforcement isn't to generate revenue, it's to keep people safe by slowing them down. So, whether you slow down because someone flashed their lights at you, or because you saw my cruiser, it's all the same to me (assuming you weren't traveling at a ridiculous speed to begin with). I'm mostly worried about the people that blow by me without any reaction at all.

Q: Can you drive in the fast lane in a pick-up truck with dual rear wheels.

A: I don't bust heads on the highway, and I'll admit I had never heard of this one before. A little research shows that it is definitely illegal for heavy commercial vehicles to operate in the passing (left-most) lane. Mass General Law, Chapter 89, Section 4c states:
On any highway with more than one passing lane in the same direction, heavy commercial vehicles, except buses, shall be restricted in ordinary operation to the right-hand travel lane, and in overtaking and passing shall be restricted to the next adjacent passing or travel lane, and shall not use any other lanes except in an emergency. For the purpose of this section, heavy commercial vehicles shall be defined as those in excess of two and one half tons used for transportation of goods, wares, and merchandise.

So it would seem if your pickup has commercial plates and is over 2 1/2 tons, the answer would be yes. On a public way, this carries a fine of $100, and if you are on a state highway, you can receive a "parallel violation" of 720 CMR 9.08(5)B.

Q: A police officer ran my plate and I wasn't doing anything wrong. That's a violation of my constitutional rights, man!

A: Sorry, but the courts have held that you have no right to privacy with something you publicly display, like a license plate. The police can run your plate for any reason, or even for no reason, and if that leads them to believe you are committing a crime, you'll be pulled over.

Q: When can the police search my car?

A: There are generally 4 times police can conduct a search of your car:

  • With consent. In Massachusetts, you have to be stopped for a criminal violation (as opposed to a civil infraction), police can ask for consent to search your vehicle during the course of a traffic stop. If you're in another state, or in federal jurisdiction such as a National Park, the police can ask for consent if you were stopped for any reason.
  • With probable cause. Due to the mobile nature of a vehicle, sometimes an exigency is created which would keep law enforcement from being able to obtain a search warrant before evidence of a crime could be moved or destroyed. As long as the officer has probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime in your  vehicle, he can search your vehicle for evidence of that crime without a warrant.
  • With a search warrant. With probable cause, the police may apply for a search warrant for your vehicle. When this happens, usually the vehicle is seized and held in police impound unitl the warrant can be obtained.
  • When you are arrested. If you are driving around, and end up arrested, it is legal for police to search the passenger compartment of your car for weapons within your reach and evidence of the crime you are committing. If further evidence is found, it may provide probable cause to then search your trunk or other areas of your vehicle.
Q: Do police have to have their parking lights on when on the side of the road looking for speeders?

A: There's no legal requirement that prevents police from hiding while conducting vehicle enforcement, including turning all their lights off.

Q: A state trooper gave me a ticket, but he didn't have his hat on. It doesn't count, right?

A: It counts. You have twenty days to pay or appeal.

Keep the questions coming!

Missing Girl Found in Quincy

MSP today reportedly located a missing 15 year old in the area of 11 Newbury St. in Quincy. A supervisor and EMS were called to respond to the scene. One source states that the incident may have involved a kidnapping, and that the girl was transported by EMS to Beth Israel Hospital for evaluation. Massachusetts State Police are conducting the investigation.

Here's an article from WCVB, apparently the girl had been kidnapped and forced into prostitution.

Boston Home Invaded at Gunpoint

Boston PD responded to a report of an armed home invasion at 7 Chesterton St shortly before 2 PM. The home's occupant reported to police that four or five men, described as black or hispanic, entered his home and held him at gunpoint. One of the men was wearing a Halloween mask. They then fled in a newer black Mazda SUV towards Massachusetts Ave. Boston Police crime scene responded to the home to search for evidence.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

POTUS Scanner Activity

This post will be updated throughout the day with communications activity related to the President's visit to Boston.

UPDATE: Doing my day job prevented me from being able to do much monitoring. If you have any comms from the visit you'd like to share, I'd love to add them.

Encrypted traffic on 165.3750 NAC:1, listed as a USSS channel.

Boston PD operating on Channel 1 (Citywide/Events), clearing streets in advance of the President.

Boston PD Channel 12 (Special Operations) talking about the motorcycles escorting the motorcade.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Radioactive Leak in the Tip O'Neill Building Basement

Boston Fire responded to the Tip O'Neill Federal Building at 10 Causeway St today when two Federal Protective Service officers received high radiation readings on their personal dosimeters.

The source of the radiation was determined to be an old meter in a basement storage area. The meter was isolated. No other persons are believed to have been affected.

Edit: BFD is now reporting that the scene was actually on floor 1, not the basement.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Person Shot Next to KFC on Washington St.

At 9:30 PM, Boston Police responded to a call of shots fired in the 400 block of Park St. Upon arrival, they learned that someone had been shot near the intersection of Park St. & Washington St. One shooting victim was located next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken at 465 Washington St.
Witnesses reported seeing three men fighting in the parking lot. One, believed to be the victim, was on the ground. A second individual fled behind the KFC, and the third, believed to be the suspect, fled down Park St.
EMS responded and transported the victim to the Boston Medical Center emergency room.
Boston Police are searching for a suspect in the shooting, identified as Robert Scott, a 34 year old black male. He is described as being 5'7, 130 pounds, with a puffy nose. At the time of the shooting, he was wearing a black leather jacket and a black hat.

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in court.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

BCLA School in Brighton Evacuated for Pepper Spray

Boston Fire responded to the Boston Community Leadership Academy (formerly the Taft School) at 20 Warren St just before 10:30 for a report of an order that was making people choke. A level 2 HazMat response was ordered, and companies discovered a discharged can of pepper spray or mace in a 2nd floor hallway.
The school was partially evacuated, and multiple students were evaluated by EMS. Firefighters ventilated the building, and Boston PD took possession of the can of spray. Twenty students were transported by ambulance to an area hospital.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Troy, NH Auto Repair Garage Burns to the Ground

At 12:30 today, Troy FD responded to calls for a fire at 10 Derby Lane. When the fire department arrived, they observed heavy fire spread throughout the building, a 1 story auto repair shop at the corner of Derby Lane and N. Main St. Mutual aid ambulances and water tankers were requested. The fire continued to grow to a third alarm, and firefighters were only able to make an exterior attack due to dangerous conditions. During the exterior attack, the roof began to collapse, and several explosions could be heard from within the building. A HazMat response was initiated to deal with unidentified chemicals believed to be inside.

Carjacking & Shots Fired in Lowell

Just before 11:30, Lowell PD responded to a report of an armed carjacking near the intersection of Lakeview Ave & Exeter St. Once on scene, police discovered a 9mm shell casing. The suspect, a white male, fired the shot while taking the vehicle from a delivery driver for Broadway Pizza.

Police are still looking for the vehicle, described as a red 1995 Chevy Monte Carlo 2 door coupe. The vehicle has Mass plate #881EW2, and when last seen, still had the large Broadway Pizza roof sign.

UPDATE: Per the Lowell Sun, police located the vehicle around midnight.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fire on Washington St in Brighton

Boston Fire Department responded for a fire at 335 Washington St. just before noon. Upon arrival, they requested EMS respond forthwith for one injured person. The building's sprinklers were operating, and the fire department was able to quickly bring the fire under control.

Rehoboth Foundry Burns to the Ground

Rehoboth Fire responded just after 8 AM to 128 Bay State Rd for a fire from the G & W Foundry. Companies observed heavy fire on arrival and immediately ordered a 2nd alarm. Fire quickly spread and a 3rd alarm, along with a task force alarm were ordered. Due to heavy fire conditions, the building quickly became fully involved, and firefighters were ordered out of the building. Shortly after 8:30, the building collapsed.

As of 9:30 AM, firefighters were still working at the scene. A Tier 1 Hazmat response was ordered due to chemicals in the building.

Photo by Kevin Connors

Fire Tears Through Building on Boston Waterfront

At approximately 5:20 this morning, Boston Fire Department responded to a call for a building fire on a pier in the North End (95 Commercial Wharf). Within 10 minutes, command had ordered a 2nd and 3rd alarm. The BFD Fire Boat was in use, and once the fire had spread to the underside of the pier, divers worked from underneath to put water on it. Four firefighters were transported to the hospital with unknown, but non-life threatening, injuries.

As of 9 AM, the fire department was still working to completely extinguish the fire.

Boston Fire Department photo