Trial Begins for Seattle Man Charged With Terrorism in Fatal Shooting of Livingston Native
The trial is underway for a Seattle man who is the first person in New Jersey charged under State law with terrorism in connection with a homicide. Ali Muhammad Brown (right) is accused of fatally shooting Brendan Tevlin of Livingston (Essex County) in West Orange (Essex County) on June 25, 2014. Tevlin was stopped at a traffic light on his way home from a friend’s house when Brown allegedly approached his vehicle and opened fire. Brown, 33, was arrested more than three weeks later at a makeshift campsite in a wooded area of West Orange. He admitted to killing Tevlin during a videotaped statement with investigators, justifying the act as revenge for deaths in the Middle East as a result of US actions. Prosecutors also found writings in a journal of Brown’s belief in jihad and wanting to follow ISIS. Brown, who is serving a 36-year sentence at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton (Mercer County) for an armed robbery conviction, is charged with murder, terrorism, carjacking, and robbery. He is also facing trials in the killings of three men in the Seattle area earlier in 2014.
TSA Testing Suicide Vest Detectors at Penn Station in New York City
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began testing technology on February 27 to detect explosive suicide vests at Penn Station in New York City. Along with Amtrak, the TSA is experimenting with the QinetiQ SPO-NX screening device, which looks like a white camera mounted on a tall tripod or inside a trunk. The units use millimeter wave technology to scan up to 15 meters for metallic and nonmetallic objects that may be concealed. An alarm will sound on an operator’s laptop if a potential threat is detected. US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for the use of bomb-scanning technology after Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old inspired by ISIS, injured himself in an alleged botched suicide attack near the Port Authority on December 11 with a hidden crudely made pipe bomb. Ullah faces federal terrorism charges. The TSA has worked with transit agencies since 2004 to test these types of devices, known as standoff explosive detection units. The technology is still under development, but it has been used at large events like the Super Bowl in 2014 at MetLife Stadium. The devices are being tested at Penn Station for a week to determine their effectiveness and the rate of false alarms.
Report Finds Incidents of Anti-Semitism Increase 32 Percent in New Jersey
The rate of anti-Semitic incidents across New Jersey rose 32 percent in 2017, according to a report released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on February 27. The ADL tracked 208 incidents in the State last year, up from 157 a year ago and 137 in 2015, in its annual “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.” The 2017 total includes 95 incidents linked to harassment, 110 connected to vandalism, and three involving assault. Bergen County had the most incidents across the State with 40, which was up from 28 a year ago. New Jersey had the third-highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, behind New York (380) and California (268). With 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States in 2017, the country saw a 57 percent increase from the 1,267 that occurred in 2016 and an almost 111 percent rise from the 942 recorded in 2015. The ADL attributed this dramatic surge in anti-Semitic incidents to greater activity at K-12 schools (457 in 2017) and on college campuses (204), which both nearly doubled in the number of occurrences from a year ago.