Man who killed Colorado deputy livestreamed himself

Matthew Riehl, the suspect who opened fire on sheriff’s deputies near Denver appears in this social media photo by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado. (Douglas County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Man who killed Colorado deputy livestreamed himself

DENVER: Videos made by the man who shot and killed a Colorado sheriff’s deputy after concerns were raised about his mental health show the gunman calling 911 and then opening his apartment door and talking to responding officers before the shooting.
The footage , livestreamed on Periscope, was obtained by Denver’s KUSA-TV. The station broadcast clips from two videos in which Matthew Riehl says he would not hurt anyone except to defend himself before calling authorities.
“Maybe I bought over 1,000 rounds of ammunition from Walmart. It’s not illegal,” he says.
Later, he tells a police dispatcher that a man had invited him to his house and was acting strangely.
When authorities arrive at Riehl’s suburban Denver apartment, the footage shows him talking to at least two officers, telling them he wants to file an emergency restraining order against his domestic partner. He is upset when one officer offers to give him a phone number to call, and leaves the doorway to go back into a room.
“Did you not get the message? Wow. They didn’t get the message. They lied,” he is heard saying on the video.
At another point, Riehl is seen holding a glass in his hand and says he’s had two scotches. He is heard saying that drinking would help him defend himself if someone bothers him.
The TV station said Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock verified the authenticity of the videos and said the 911 call made by Riehl was the second one from his apartment in Highlands Ranch, 16 miles (about 25 kilometers) south of Denver, on Sunday.
The first 911 call was made by Riehl’s roommate, who told authorities Riehl was acting strangely and might be having a mental breakdown. Responding deputies to that call found no evidence of a crime and left.
The footage shows the shooting but the station did not air that footage. A clip purporting to show it has been posted elsewhere online.
Riehl, an attorney and an Iraq war veteran, previously posted videos criticizing Colorado law enforcement officers in profane, highly personal terms.
Wyoming College of Law students had been warned about Riehl, a former student, because of his social media posts critical of professors at the school in Laramie.
A Nov. 6 email from Assistant College of Law Dean Lindsay Hoyt told students to notify campus police if they spotted Riehl or his car near campus, KTWO-AM in Casper, Wyoming, reported. In addition, security on campus was increased for several days.
Campus officers called police in Lone Tree, Colorado, in mid-November to warn them about Riehl, suggesting his rants were indicative of mental illness, UW Police Chief Mike Samp told The Denver Post.
Samp said it’s possible that Colorado authorities faced the same issue as Wyoming officials when an apparently mentally ill, dangerous person makes indirect threats.
The deputy’s slaying was the most recent in a string of fatal shootings involving suspects who may have had mental health problems, and the state has expanded services in hopes of finding a solution.
Colorado opened 12 walk-in mental health crisis centers across the state and set up a 24-hour hotline after a gunman killed 12 people in a suburban Denver movie theater in 2012. Doctors testified the gunman, James Holmes, was mentally ill.
The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health has said more than 580,000 people have taken advantage of the expanded services, going to a crisis center or calling or texting the hotline or a separate help line for less urgent cases.
Riehl was licensed as a lawyer for five years in Wyoming and voluntarily gave up his license in 2016, said Wyoming Bar Association executive director Sharon Wilkinson.
He practiced at a law firm in the small city of Rawlins and later opened his own practice but withdrew from the bar in October 2016, making him ineligible to practice law in the state, Wilkinson said. That’s the same year records indicate he moved back to Colorado.
Wilkinson says the bar received no complaints about Riehl.
Authorities have said he fired more than 100 rounds before he was killed by a SWAT team.
Riehl, armed with a rifle, wounded four deputies, including Zackari Parrish in the initial gunfire. The other three deputies managed to get away but had to leave Parrish behind because of their injuries and the ongoing gunfire. Parrish later was declared dead.
About 1.5 hours later, the SWAT team arrived and exchanged fire with Riehl. He was killed and a fifth officer was wounded.
Two people in nearby apartment units were also wounded sometime during the prolonged standoff.


Facebook still auto-generating Daesh, Al-Qaeda pages

Updated 19 September 2019

Facebook still auto-generating Daesh, Al-Qaeda pages

  • Facebook has been working to limit the spread of extremist material on its service, so far with mixed success
  • But as the report shows, plenty of material gets through the cracks — and gets auto-generated

WASHINGTON: In the face of criticism that Facebook is not doing enough to combat extremist messaging, the company likes to say that its automated systems remove the vast majority of prohibited content glorifying the Daesh group and Al-Qaeda before it’s reported.
But a whistleblower’s complaint shows that Facebook itself has inadvertently provided the two extremist groups with a networking and recruitment tool by producing dozens of pages in their names.
The social networking company appears to have made little progress on the issue in the four months since The Associated Press detailed how pages that Facebook auto-generates for businesses are aiding Middle East extremists and white supremacists in the United States.
On Wednesday, US senators on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation questioned representatives from social media companies, including Monika Bickert, who heads Facebook’s efforts to stem extremist messaging. Bickert did not address Facebook’s auto-generation during the hearing, but faced some skepticism that the company’s efforts were effectively countering extremists.
The new details come from an update of a complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the National Whistleblower Center plans to file this week. The filing obtained by the AP identifies almost 200 auto-generated pages — some for businesses, others for schools or other categories — that directly reference the Daesh group and dozens more representing Al-Qaeda and other known groups. One page listed as a “political ideology” is titled “I love Islamic state.” It features an IS logo inside the outlines of Facebook’s famous thumbs-up icon.
In response to a request for comment, a Facebook spokesperson told the AP: “Our priority is detecting and removing content posted by people that violates our policy against dangerous individuals and organizations to stay ahead of bad actors. Auto-generated pages are not like normal Facebook pages as people can’t comment or post on them and we remove any that violate our policies. While we cannot catch every one, we remain vigilant in this effort.”

“Yet those very same algorithms are auto-generating pages with titles like ‘I Love Islamic State,’ which are ideal for terrorists to use for networking and recruiting.”

John Kostyack, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center

Facebook has a number of functions that auto-generate pages from content posted by users. The updated complaint scrutinizes one function that is meant to help business networking. It scrapes employment information from users’ pages to create pages for businesses. In this case, it may be helping the extremist groups because it allows users to like the pages, potentially providing a list of sympathizers for recruiters.
The new filing also found that users’ pages promoting extremist groups remain easy to find with simple searches using their names. They uncovered one page for “Mohammed Atta” with an iconic photo of one of the Al-Qaeda adherents, who was a hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks. The page lists the user’s work as “Al Qaidah” and education as “University Master Bin Laden” and “School Terrorist Afghanistan.”
Facebook has been working to limit the spread of extremist material on its service, so far with mixed success. In March, it expanded its definition of prohibited content to include US white nationalist and white separatist material as well as that from international extremist groups. It says it has banned 200 white supremacist organizations and 26 million pieces of content related to global extremist groups like IS and Al-Qaeda.
It also expanded its definition of terrorism to include not just acts of violence intended to achieve a political or ideological aim, but also attempts at violence, especially when aimed at civilians with the intent to coerce and intimidate. It’s unclear, though, how well enforcement works if the company is still having trouble ridding its platform of well-known extremist organizations’ supporters.
But as the report shows, plenty of material gets through the cracks — and gets auto-generated.
The AP story in May highlighted the auto-generation problem, but the new content identified in the report suggests that Facebook has not solved it.
The report also says that researchers found that many of the pages referenced in the AP report were removed more than six weeks later on June 25, the day before Bickert was questioned for another congressional hearing.
The issue was flagged in the initial SEC complaint filed by the center’s executive director, John Kostyack, which alleges the social media company has exaggerated its success combatting extremist messaging.
“Facebook would like us to believe that its magical algorithms are somehow scrubbing its website of extremist content,” Kostyack said. “Yet those very same algorithms are auto-generating pages with titles like ‘I Love Islamic State,’ which are ideal for terrorists to use for networking and recruiting.”