Name game? Play Ball! Help us pick the best name for the West Palm Beach spring training stadium

Ready to play the stadium name game?

The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros are not asking you, but we are.

Rendering of signage poles at entrances to the new West Palm Beach baseball stadium
Rendering of signage poles at entrances to the new West Palm Beach baseball stadium

Later this year, the Nationals and Astros will start considering offers on the naming rights to their new spring training stadium in West Palm Beach.

One local businessman, William Meyer (of the Meyer Amphitheater family), has already expressed an interest. And the teams say other companies have made initial inquiries, too.

Hopefully, it won’t be along the lines of other unfortunate names — 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheater (now the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre) in Tampa. Or Whataburger Field in Texas. Or Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

home plateIf money was no object, what would you call the stadium?

The 160-acre site in West Palm Beach is on an old landfill. Maybe the new ballpark can be called The Dumping Grounds? (Remember the old Polo Grounds?)

Enough from us. Your turn.

Fire away in the comment section below and we will post a new story later with some of your best suggestions!

 

Disturbed by pattern of PBSO shootings, Commissioner Priscilla Taylor calls for independent review, community symposium

Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor said she is organizing a symposium of law enforcement officials and community leaders to find ways to reduce the “unnecessary” rate of shootings of unarmed civilians.

IMG_1149Taylor said she was spurred into hosting the symposium after reading about disturbing patterns of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies in a joint investigation between The Palm Beach Post and WPTV NewsChannel 5.

“From reading your article and seeing it on TV, I am going to convene a symposium to bring law enforcement to the table as well as people to the community. It is a serious issue and we don’t want it to fester here in Palm Beach County what is going on in the rest of the county,’’ Taylor said Friday afternoon.

Taylor also called for an independent review board to study some of the findings reported by the news organizations, including:

  • In roughly one of every four shootings, Palm Beach County deputies fired at unarmed suspects. The Department of Justice has found fault with departments who shot at unarmed suspects less frequently.
  • Deputies disproportionately shot at young black men, a third of whom were unarmed.
  • Non-deadly force options, such as Tasers or batons, were seldom used prior to shooting.
  • PBSO rarely found fault with a deputy’s decision to shoot, sometimes basing its decisions on cursory or incomplete investigations.

20120607_met_screengrabTaylor said she was particularly disturbed by a video showing a deputy stopping an unarmed black man who was riding a bike, then shooting him 4 seconds later as the man was running away from the deputy.

“It’s unnecessary and it’s just like what happening across the country,’’ she said. “Really, I think they need an outside citizen’s review board.’’

Taylor said the symposium will be held in May or June at the Palm Beach County Government Center in downtown West Palm Beach. She said the Delray Beach police department already told her it will send a high-ranking representative.

Her staff plans to send out formal invitations on Monday, including one to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.

“Hopefully the sheriff himself will come,’’ she said. “We have avoided the conversation. I think we need to talk about.’’

Asked what she hopes the symposium will accomplish, Taylor said: “I hope the discussion will bring out some information that can be shared. It’s important for people in those positions to really hear what the community is saying and maybe come up with some idea to try to address that.’’

Read more about this investigation here: mypalmbeachpost.com/policeshootings

 

POST INVESTIGATION: Nearly one in three people shot at by Palm Beach County deputies are black

A yearlong investigation into police shootings by The Palm Beach Post and WPTV Channel 5 reveals some startling statistics: One in four people shot at by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are unarmed, and nearly one in three are black.

But while the shootings have been highly controversial, PBSO almost never finds anything to fault.

Our investigation reveals PBSO’s internal investigators often rely solely on the deputy’s version of events, ignoring or downplaying conflicting evidence such as videos to justify deadly force, even when it seems apparent that the deputy violated agency protocol.

We’ve created a database of 256 shootings by 32 local agencies in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast dating to 2000. It’s never been done before here – not even by police themselves.

We’ve also uncovered never-before-seen videos the shootings that dispute police version of events, including the shooting of a 17-year-old boy with Down syndrome and the shooting of an unarmed 20-year-old four seconds after the deputy stopped him.

To read our series, click here.

Lawsuit: Palm Beach County deputy who shot Dontrell Stephens in 2013 had record of complaints

Even Jack Scarola, the lawyer representing Dontrell Stephens in a suit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, doesn’t thinks Deputy Adams Lin intended to leave Stephens paralyzed.

In 2013, Lin shot Stephens four times after stopping him for riding his bicycle the wrong way across Haverhill Road. Captured on video, it’s one of more than 250 shootings detailed in a year-long investigative report by the Post’s Lawrence Mower and NewsChannel 5’s Katie LaGrone.

Lin thought Stephens was reaching for a gun. There was no weapon though. PBSO and the State Attorney’s office concluded Lin acted appropriately.

And he’s been cleared of other complaints as well, writes Scarola in the Stephens suit. But Scarola believes that’s a large part of the problem: that PBSO has been reluctant to mete out serious discipline.

Scarola is holding a press conference Friday at 4 p.m. to talk about the Stephens case and his views on PBSO, which he believes is becoming increasingly militaristic in its approach to policing.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw can’t comment on the specifics of the suit, but in court filings, PBSO lawyers have emphatically defended his actions in the Stephens shooting.

From the Stephens lawsuit:

“Among the incidents described in LIN’s file are (i) an allegation that he conducted an illegal “stop and frisk” on a woman walking along the sidewalk by claiming that she was obstructing traffic, (ii) an allegation that he used excessive force, and used the N-word, while effecting the arrest of an African-American man, and (iii) an incident in which LIN fired his Taser at a man because of a perceived threat, LIN created a written report stating that he gave the man multiple commands to drop a rock in his right hand before deploying the Taser, the Taser-mounted video showed that LIN said “drop the rock” just one time, less than one second before firing the Taser, and LIN admitted to the discrepancies between his written report and the video but claimed that he was still justified in deploying the Taser.

“On those occasions, as on all occasions when LIN’s interaction with the public has been evaluated by a PBSO supervisor, LIN’s conduct was determined to be reasonable, justified, and/or consistent with PBSO policy.”

Further, wrote Scarola,

“On six separate occasions since May 2011, the PBSO Early Intervention System flagged LIN for having five or more use of force incidents in the preceding twelve months. On two occasions since March 2013, the Early Intervention System flagged LIN for having five or more incident reviews in the preceding twenty-four months.

“None of the Early Intervention System alerts, however, led to any additional training for LIN or any other disciplinary action. To the contrary, on the two occasions when PBSO supervisors wrote formal memoranda about LIN’s use of force alerts, they reiterated that LIN’s use of force was and justified “and onforms to existing General Orders.”

 

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Black man hops off his bike, shot by Palm Beach County deputy in 4 seconds

Four seconds: That’s the time it took from the moment Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Lin ran from his car before he opened fire on Dontrell Stephens.

The 2013 incident was captured on video by PBSO and published by The Palm Beach Post and NewsChannel 5 as part of a year-long investigation into police shootings by the Post’s Lawrence Mower and Channel 5’s Katie LaGrone.

Lin thought Stephens, 20, had a gun.

He didn’t. He had a cell phone.

Stephens is just one of the cases they found: Mower and LaGrone created a database of more than 250 shootings.

Stephens had bicycled across a road the wrong way, said Lin, who wanted to give him a ticket.

But once Stephens got off his bike and started walking toward him, Lin believed Stephens was reaching for a gun. He shot four times. Stephens is a paraplegic.