Scandal Topples Windy City Top Cop
Once hailed for presiding over a marked decline in crime, Chicago's top cop, Philip Cline, resigned in shame last week-done in by a series of videotapes showing his officers brutalizing citizens and his own failure to quickly punish the offenders.
Cline's department has been reeling since the Internet and cable television gave wide play to a bar surveillance videotape of police veteran Anthony Abbate beating a petite 24-year-old female bartender who refused to continue serving him. Another caught-on-tape beating under Cline's watch is also being investigated: Four businessmen claim officers attacked them at a downtown restaurant.
In resigning, Cline, 57, referred to "these times of challenge." Indeed. The next day, news of another surveillance videotape surfaced, this one showing one of Chicago's finest involved in a bar fight while off duty. It promises to be a long summer in the Windy City.
Two Eagles Hatchin Their Own Nest
The bald eagles of California's Santa Catalina Island are finally shaking the poisoning effects of the pesticide DDT: For the first time in more than 50 years, baby eagles-two of them-hatched last week in their own nest, without human intervention. "We were shouting and excited and happy when we got the news," said Ann Muscat of the island's conservancy.
It had been a frustrating journey for scientists who have worked since 1980 to restore the island's eagle population. More than 100 had been introduced, but the effects of DDT, banned in 1972 but still present on the ocean floor, lingered. Eggs remained dangerously weakened and could hatch only if removed from nests and placed in an incubator.
But with chicks hatched unaided last year on nearby Santa Cruz Island, scientists let 8-year-old Mom and 21-year-old Dad care for their eggs. And there may be more good news-eggs in another nest were on track to hatch soon.
The 'Bat Cave' Is Watching You
Attention Wal-Mart workers-smile, you may be on videotape. And your Web traffic, E-mail, and phone calls monitored. Last week, a former surveillance technician for the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant confirmed a Wall Street Journal story that described a company operation that targets critics, vendors, and its own workers.
Bruce Gabbard, a 19-year Wal-Mart employee, was fired last month for offenses that included making what the company called "unauthorized" recordings of calls to and from a reporter. Gabbard says he recorded the calls on his own but was part of a company-approved operation overseen by Kenneth Senser, a former CIA and FBI official. The newspaper says employees call the retailer's high-tech global security work area the "Bat Cave." Wal-Mart says it's the company's "corporate responsibility" to have such systems to monitor "threats to our network, intellectual property, and our people."
A Troubled System Fails Texas Youth
The Texas juvenile prison system, wracked with allegations of covering up sexual and physical assaults on incarcerated children, last week began releasing 550 youths ages 10 to 21 while officials in Austin struggled to reform the troubled program.