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13 posts from August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013

VIDEO: Security breach, inmate attack at Miami-Dade's Turner Guilford Knight jail



All at once, the cell doors slide open. Two inmates pop out with purpose.

One strides down the hallway of the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, appearing to hand off or receive a weapon from a man in an adjacent cell.

Moments later, those two inmates, plus another man, all apparently armed with homemade knives, confront a shirtless Kenneth Williams in the corner of a jail corridor. Realizing he’s under attack, Williams bolts down the hallway of the top-tier maximum security wing of the West Miami-Dade jail.

As the three pursuers close in, Williams pauses, hitches up his shorts and leaps from the second-story.

The dramatic footage from internal jail surveillance cameras, obtained by The Miami Herald, shows the June 14 security breach that caused all the doors of K-81, a maximum-security dormitory-style wing, to open at once. The surveillance footage has raised suspicions that the inmates knew the doors would be opening, and that someone in the jail system may have triggered the “group release” feature in the jail’s new computerized security system.

More here.

Campaign reports don't support suspended Miami Lakes mayor's story

@jayhweaver @ChuckRabin

Suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi says he “accepted no money inappropriately or illegally from anyone,” suggesting any funds he received during an FBI undercover sting were above board. Yet, if he took $6,000 in cash — whether for kickbacks as alleged, or for any other reason — he did not publicly disclose a penny of it on campaign finance reports.

Pizzi’s mayoral campaign report shows he accepted three checks totaling $750 from two Chicago consultants and a businessman named “Steve Phillips.” In reality, all three donors were fictitious creations of a two-year FBI undercover operation. But none of the $6,000 in cash that a criminal complaint accuses Pizzi of pocketing was reported by his mayoral campaign or a Miami Lakes political action committee he supported.

Last week, Pizzi, 51, was arrested on charges of accepting $6,750 in kickbacks as a quid pro quo for using his official positions as Miami Lakes mayor and Medley town attorney to promote federal grant applications meant only to enrich him and others.

He was charged with conspiring to commit extortion with Miami-Dade lobbyist Richard Candia. Candia was also charged with the same offense in a separate complaint accusing Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño and lobbyist Jorge Forte of receiving kickbacks. Both mayors have been suspended from office by the governor.

On his mayoral campaign report for January through March 2012, Pizzi listed a $250 check from “Steve Phillips.’’ But the check did not show an address for Phillips. It would have been difficult to find an address, as Phillips is not a real person. Campaign reports require addresses for each donor.

More here.

Study: Put away polls, tabulate Tweets to predict elections

A doctoral student at Indiana University says counting tweets in an election can be used to predict results.

Using the Indiana Twitter database, which contains the largest sample of tweets in the world available to academic researchers, he analyzed more than 500 million tweets from the U.S. House races for 2010 and 2012.

From the Indiana University website:

"Think of this as a measurement of buzz," said Fabio Rojas, an associate professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. "We call this the 'all publicity is good publicity' finding. Even if you don't like somebody, you would only talk about them if they're important."

Read more here from Indiana University

Read more here from National Journal