Click. Los Angeles Near Critical Choice as 4th Officer Faces Charges
LAPD: Officials must decide whether to fight the Justice Department in court or make a deal.

Click. Open-casket funeral displays body of gay man beaten, run over


British breakthrough brings chance of a pill to treat cancer within three years.

Scientists begin trials in September on the world's first anti-cancer pill. The gene- based pill could be on the market in three years, offering a revolutionary alternative to "primitive" treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The 90-strong international team of scientists will be led by Professor Sir David Lane, of Dundee University, who was knighted in the New Year's honours list and has been widely tipped as a future Nobel Prize winner. It will be based in a new multi-million- pound building in the middle of Dundee.

Professor Lane, 47, made his name with the discovery of the body's Guardian Angel or Gatekeeper Gene, known to scientists as p-53. The gene produces a protein which acts as a tumour suppressor: dysfunctional p-53 is a critical factor in, for example, 90 per cent of lung, bowel and cervical cancers and 50 per cent of brain cancers. Professor Lane is about to test a molecule which he believes will replicate this protein.

"The great beauty is that we would be turning on a natural protective cell function which does not do any of the damage caused by current treatments," Professor Lane told the Independent on Sunday.

Professor Lane's reputation has already drawn the backing of investors such as Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, the Cancer Research Campaign, Equitable Life and the founders of Stagecoach, enabling Lane to found his own company, Cyclacel.

Now he has found 10 terminal cancer patients in London and Glasgow to take part in the first phase of the clinical trials. He predicts a time scale of three to five years before Cyclacel can put a pill on the market – fast in drug development terms – so long as each clinical trial stage goes smoothly. Such a breakthrough would be a remarkable conclusion to what would by then have been a 30-year odyssey for Professor Lane since he discovered p-53 almost by accident, while studying for a PhD, only to have its protein dismissed by senior colleagues as an irritating contaminant.

He pressed ahead, establishing that the gene had a vital "watchdog" effect, springing into life when cancer – the uncontrollable division and proliferation of any of the body's hundred trillion cells – is threatened. It begins producing a protein that triggers responses from other genes responsible for inhibiting cell multiplication.

His renown has made Dundee University one of the world's leading centres of cancer research. Some 1,500 biochemists, cell biologists, developmental biologists and other specialists are concentrated in closely integrated departments devoted to unravelling cancer, which kills one in four Britons.

For Professor Lane, the Holy Grail has been to take p-53 beyond theory and the electron microscope to the ultimate stage of a successful clinical cure. But he discovered that, despite all the talent attracted to the university, traditional academic funding could never provide enough money for expensive clinical trials. He also feels there is a reluctance among the big drug companies to look for new cancer treatments.

The trialling process is long and complex. The volunteers in the Phase One trial will first be administered an agreed safe dose of the replicated p-53 protein molecule. "We'll then escalate the dose, checking for possible toxic effects while looking also for any responses in their tumours," he said.

Phase Two trials will be much bigger and more comprehensive, on perhaps 50 to 100 cancer sufferers, testing the drug's efficacy to the full and targeting particular cancers, such as that of the colon.

In Phase Three, serious questions will be asked of the scientists before they are allowed to patent a commercial drug. They will have to provide statistical proof that the p-53 cancer pill is superior to other therapies.

Professor Lane said: "At times this is so much fun I can hardly sleep at night thinking about it. But cracking p-53 is not the whole answer. The best way of avoiding colon cancer is to eat broccoli and to avoid lung cancer it's obvious that you should not smoke. Sometimes it's so depressing to give a lecture to medical students on the causes of cancer and then walk out of the hospital and see them and the nurses all lighting up."

Biofem probe moving ahead.

SHOOTING: Trial is set for one suspect. Police hope a TV show will help find another.

July 8, 2000, By BILL RAMS, The Orange County Register

SANTA ANA -- A judge set a trial date Friday for the man accused of being the getaway driver in the botched attempt to kill an Irvine drug company executive, and police are hoping that a national television re-creation of the crime will lead them to the shooter.

Dino D'Saachs, 56, of Alta Dena will stand trial beginning Sept. 11 for the Feb. 28 shooting of James Patrick Riley in front of Biofem Inc.'s Irvine Spectrum office.

The gunman is still at large -- but police are hoping that will change after the television show "America's Most Wanted" broadcasts a story tonight on the shooting.

Riley said this week that he has also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

Police say they want to talk to Tony Rodriguez, a former employee of D'Saachs'. He was last seen with D'Saachs the day of the shooting.

The show is the latest event in one of the most bizarre criminal investigations in Orange County history. Police suspect that Riley's former partner, Dr. Larry Creed Ford, a friend of D'Saachs', masterminded the hit. But two days after the shooting - and a day after police searched his home - Ford shot and killed himself.

Then allegations surfaced that Ford was involved in advising South Africa on biochemical warfare. Police got a tip that Ford had stored dangerous chemicals in his home.

Police evacuated 200 homes in Ford's Woodbridge neighborhood and found illegal firearms and bottles filled with bacteria that cause cholera and typhoid fever.

The FBI has launched a weapons of mass destruction investigation, and officials are probing Ford's alleged ties to apartheid-era biochemical weapons in South Africa.

City Near Critical Choice as 4th Officer Faces Charges
LAPD: Officials must decide whether to fight the Justice Department in court or make a deal.

By JIM NEWTON, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer July 9, 2000

     Faced with decisions that could permanently change the way the Police Department is run, top Los Angeles officials are fast approaching an important crossroads: Whether to fight the U.S. Department of Justice in court over the management of the LAPD or to cut a deal that would require the city to implement a long list of reforms.
     City and federal authorities have been meeting privately for weeks, and sources say the federal government has completed presenting its reform plan. That 103-page document covers major aspects of the LAPD's management, oversight and discipline, according to participants in the talks, who are scheduled to meet again this week.
     The talks this week represent a watershed moment in the negotiations. Up to this point, Justice Department lawyers have been laying out their case while city officials asked questions or tried to understand various provisions. Now, it's up to the local team--made up of City Atty. James Hahn; Mayor Richard Riordan's chief of staff, Kelly Martin; Chief Legislative Analyst Ron Deaton; and Police Commission President Gerald Chaleff--to decide how to respond.
     In its proposed decree, the federal government lays out the reforms that it wants the city to adopt or else face a lawsuit charging that the LAPD has engaged in a pattern or practice of misconduct. Although some observers have urged fighting that suit, most people involved in the talks--and many knowledgeable legal experts removed from them--believe the city would lose in court.
     Among the highlights of that document, according to several people who have seen it:
     * The Police Department would need to build and maintain a computerized officer-tracking system far beyond what it currently operates. The new system would track, not just officer discipline, but also such things as shootings, arrests, assignments, promotions and training recommendations.
     * The Police Commission's inspector general would receive broad orders and authority to conduct audits of the LAPD's operations, discipline and other areas--duties that would probably require the city to beef up the inspector general's staff. Under the proposal, the inspector general or his staff would also be expected to respond to the scene of police shootings.
     * The Police Department's Internal Affairs Group would be required to handle many of the more serious complaints currently investigated at the department's local police stations. As with the inspector general, that obligation would almost certainly force the city to spend more money.
     * The LAPD would be directed to gather information about the ethnicity of the people it stops for traffic violations and other offenses, material that later could be used to determine whether police disproportionately focus their efforts on minorities--a practice known as "racial profiling."
     * The city would have to agree to the appointment of an outside monitor who would report to a federal judge to ensure that the city government and the LAPD live up to the reforms demanded in the decree. This notion, in some ways, is the most controversial because it would shift the final say on some LAPD matters from the city government to a federal judge.
     Although many specifics of such an agreement are still being discussed, in the end the choice for the local negotiating team is either to accept some version of the federal demands or to fight the matter in court.
     Some have suggested just that. Top LAPD officials have argued that the city should not give in, and others, including some who have never seen the proposed reforms, have derided the federal proposal as a recipe for "takeover" of the LAPD.
     That argument has gained some political traction as well, with businessman Steve Soboroff, an advisor to Riordan and candidate for mayor, using it to try to distinguish himself from the rest of the mayoral field.
     "Anyone who has seen the federal government in action knows that a federal takeover of the Los Angeles Police Department would result in more bureaucracy, massive litigation costs and fewer officers on the street fighting crime," Soboroff said last month in a publicly released letter to City Atty. Hahn, who is the city's lead negotiator and also a candidate for mayor.
     In response, Hahn called Soboroff's letter disappointing and irresponsible, and accused his rival of trying to make personal gain out of the police crisis.
     "Politics," Hahn wrote, "has no place in an issue as important as resolving the Rampart crisis in LAPD."
     Some observers familiar with the Justice Department's proposed order--and with the evidence the federal government has accumulated--argue that litigation would be costly, embarrassing and ultimately pointless. According to them and other experts, to prevail in court, the federal government would need to present only a handful of examples of officer misconduct. The Rampart case alone could supply dozens of such cases, and many other instances, from the clique of officers once known as Men Against Women to the year-after-year litany of police brutality allegations, provide fodder for more.
     Once the government proved that rights were violated, it then would need only to demonstrate that deficiencies in LAPD management either allowed or fostered that misconduct--not that management collaborated or deliberately covered up abusive behavior.

     Strengthening Internal Affairs

     Many experts believe that would be an easy task for the Justice Department. In fact, the LAPD already has admitted as much in its Board of Inquiry report on the Rampart scandal and in the chief's recent request for $9 million to beef up internal affairs.
     "Had the department and the Rampart management team exercised more vigorous and coordinated oversight of area operations, and its CRASH [anti-gang] unit in particular, the crimes and misconduct that occurred may have been prevented, discouraged or discovered much earlier," the department's Board of Inquiry said, one of many such statements throughout that document.
     Moreover, there are 61 pending federal lawsuits against the LAPD, and the plaintiffs in all of those argue that their civil rights were violated by LAPD officers. Although opinion is divided about whether a judge would agree, some legal experts believe that every one of those allegations could be joined with the federal case, creating a nightmarishly long and expensive lawsuit that many observers believe Los Angeles would lose.
     Even if that did not occur, any lawsuit in which a plaintiff sued the LAPD in federal court and won would contain facts that might be admissible against the city in the current case.
     All told, that leaves most observers convinced that, for the city, fighting the federal government in court would be a losing proposition.
     "There's no way the city is going to be able to deny pattern or practice," USC law professor Erwin Chemerinsky said. The city's only hopes, if it were to fight in court, Chemerinsky added, would be either that the judge in the case impose a less stringent order than the Justice Department is seeking or that the lawsuit drag on into next year and that the next president would withdraw it.
     Without exception, legal experts interviewed for this article dismissed the contention--advanced by Police Department brass and others--that a recent court victory by the city of Torrance over the Justice Department gives hope that Los Angeles might win, too. The Torrance case was an employment discrimination lawsuit with virtually no similarity to the allegations or legal challenges that Los Angeles would face.
     That leaves Los Angeles officials faced with the question of haggling over what should be in an agreement here--and over what form that agreement should take.
     Some of the federal government's proposed provisions are sure to invite opposition from at least some members of the city's negotiating team. Recommendations that the Police Commission assume a greater role--possibly in an advisory way--over LAPD discipline will undoubtedly draw the ire of Martin and Deputy Chief Martin Pomeroy, who also participates in the sessions. Martin and Pomeroy work for the mayor and chief, respectively, and both those officials have strenuously argued that the chief needs to remain the final, unfettered authority over police discipline--a view also advanced by former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who headed the 1991 commission that recommended many of the police reforms still being debated in Los Angeles.
     Police Chief Bernard C. Parks in the past has also resisted calls for the LAPD to gather more information about the ethnicity of people stopped or arrested by police. Although participants in the talks say that issue has been put to the side for the moment, they expect the Justice Department to insist on some measures, setting up another point of potential conflict with the city negotiating team.
     At the same time, both sides have given some indications of flexibility. One example cited by participants, for instance, involves the Justice Department's initial insistence that the computerized officer-tracking system, known by the acronym TEAMS, include with each officer a list of every partner with whom that officer ever worked.
     According to negotiators and others, the Justice Department's intention was clear: to compile a record of relationships that might be telling if an officer someday landed in trouble. The problem with that is that the LAPD does not typically put two officers together as partners for months or years at a time. Often, officers are paired up at roll call, meaning that a single officer can work with scores, even hundreds, of other officers over the course of a career, some of them for just a shift or two.
     As a result, the Justice Department's suggestion would have been unwieldy and would not have produced the information it was seeking, city officials said. After conversations about those issues, the Justice Department team appears to have backed off that proposal, negotiators said.

Open-casket funeral displays body of gay man beaten, run over

By VICKI SMITH, Associated Press

GRANT TOWN, W.Va. (July 9, 2000 12:30 p.m. EDT) - An open coffin at a funeral on Saturday displayed the battered body of a gay black man beaten and repeatedly struck by a car.

The father of Arthur "J.R." Warren Jr. ordered the open coffin Saturday at Mount Beulah Baptist Church "so they could see what they had done to his son," mourner Rick Ravenscroft said.

"It was pretty hideous," Ravenscroft said. "It took its toll on a lot of people. There was a lot of screaming and a lot of crying," he said.

Gay rights groups have demanded that police and prosecutors say whether the murder is a hate crime.

However, Marion County Sheriff Ron Watkins has downplayed speculation the murder was linked to Warren's sexuality and said there was "no indication" it was a hate crime.

Two white 17-year-olds allegedly confessed and are charged with first-degree murder, but authorities have refused to divulge their motive. Their names were not released because of their ages; the prosecutor has not yet decided whether to try them as adults.

Friends and relatives said Warren, 26, had told of being harassed for being different in the small, rural town of about 700 people, just north of Fairmont in north-central West Virginia.

Authorities have said the suspects apparently beat the slender, 5-foot-9 Warren in a vacant house they were painting last Monday night, then dumped his body on a highway and drove over him several times. The boys then allegedly returned to the house and wiped up some of the blood, Watkins said.

Investigators thought it was a hit-and-run case until a third teenager told them he had helped clean up the crime scene.

San Francisco Examiner 7/8/00

(07-08) 16:56 PDT VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) -- A spat between a missing girl's great aunt and another concerned woman has forced a shutdown of the volunteer center that was collecting money and coordinating search efforts.

Stephanie Kahalekulu, Xiana Fairchild's great-aunt, is sternly at odds with missing child advocate Kim Swartz over who should control the Xiana Fairchild Volunteer Center and the money donated to it.

Xiana, 8, has been missing since Dec. 9.

Swartz, whose own daughter Amber has been missing since 1988, says without her efforts, neither the center nor the funds donated to it would exist. So Swartz transferred the money into a bank account she controls.

``If I had not offered my nonprofit status, Xiana would have nothing,'' Swartz told the Contra Costa Times on Friday. ``We have run into people over and over again who said they were wary of donating but wanted to help.''

About $34,000 in donations to help fund the search efforts for Xiana are now accessible only by Swartz and the Amber Foundation, set up to help find her daughter.

Swartz' help in coordinating the funding was welcome by Xiana's family until she recently asked for $3,200 in reimbursement for expenses. Swartz and Kahalekulu disagreed over the expenses and the rift began.

The Amber Foundation board soon decided that Kahalekulu should no longer have direct access to the donation bank account. Swartz also changed the locks on the doors to the volunteer center because copies had been distributed to several people, she said.

Xiana's great aunt says she is dejected over the turn of events.

``It's like an iron stake has been put right in the middle of our efforts,'' Kahalekulu said. ``It's Xiana we're talking about. We're her family. It's not like we're not around. We're here. She has no right to do this.''

The two women have worked to arrange a meeting with a mediator to resolve their differences. Meanwhile, Kahalekulu has founded a new organization to continue working toward finding Xiana.

The Xiana Fairchild Foundation was established Friday by Kahalekulu and is accepting new donations to aid the search for the girl.


The Associated Press by Richard Carelli

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The avalanche of new laws Congress has passed since 1970 to make America's streets safe has failed, a report concludes.

``There is no persuasive evidence that federalization of local crime makes the streets safer for American citizens,'' says a report prepared by a blue- ribbon task force sponsored by the American Bar Association and chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

``Crime legislation is popular. Most of the time it's just feel-good legislation'' because existing state and local laws are sufficient to address the targeted problems, Meese told reporters today as the report was made public.

Such duplication ``undermines the critical role of the states and local law enforcement,'' said Meese, the nation's top law-enforcement officer during the Reagan administration.

The 16-member task force says a Congress worried about being called ``soft on crime'' actually may be hurting the fight against street violence by passing federal laws that duplicate state and local efforts nationwide.

The 56-page report, backed up by hundreds of pages of statistical findings, calls on Congress to resist its political impulses.

``There is an understandable pressure on Congress not to vote against crime legislation even if it is misguided, unnecessary and harmful,'' the report's executive summary says. ``But there must be a recognition that a refusal to endorse a new federal crime is not a sign that a legislator is soft on crime.''

The product of a two-year study, the report notes with alarm that more than 40 percent of all federal criminal laws enacted since the Civil War were passed since 1970.

``Highly publicized criminal incidents are frequently accompanied by proposals for congressional responses for no reason other than that the conduct is serious, even if the activity is already handled by state law,'' the summary says.

The ``Federalization of Criminal Law'' report mirrors criticism raised by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in his year-end report on the federal judiciary in December. He blamed the trend on pressure in Congress ``to appear responsive to every highly publicized societal ill or sensational crime.''

The report states: ``Increased federalization is rarely, if ever, likely to have any appreciable effect on the categories of violent crime that most concern Americans, because in practice federal law enforcement can reach only a small percent of such activity.''

State law enforcement accounts for about 95 percent of all prosecutions nationwide.

``Inappropriate federalization'' can contribute to ``long-range damage to real crime control'' by diverting federal money better spent on state law- enforcement systems, the report says, and can deplete funding of federal law- enforcement efforts not duplicated by the states.

``The expanding coverage of federal criminal law, much of it enacted in the absence of a demonstrated and distinctive federal justification, is moving the nation rapidly toward two broadly overlapping, parallel and essentially redundant sets of criminal prohibitions. ... Such a system has little to commend it and much to condemn it,'' the report says.

``Sampling of the latest available statistics demonstrates that several recently enacted federal statutes, championed by many because they would have a claimed impact on crime, have hardly been used at all,'' the task force found.

Some of the laws cited dealt with drive-by shootings, interstate domestic violence, failure to report child abuse and murder by escaped prisoners.