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Archive for November 24th, 2014

Breaking: Grand Jury Decides Not to Charge Ferguson Cop in Death of Michael Brown

Michael Brown

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Following an intense investigation, a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo. has decided not to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced Monday night. He said the grand jury found no probable cause to file charges.

McCulloch, in a televised announcement live,  said investigators found some inconsistencies in witnesses accounts.  The grand jury reviewed reports, drug analysis and photographs. The grand jury was given the choice of five charges ranging from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter.  

Federal, state and local authorities were bracing for violence as the announcement was made.

The prosecutor said that the people in the grand jury were the only ones who had reviewed all the facts. And he noted that there had been a lot of misinformation that had circulated in public about the shooting.

 

Homeland Security Secretary Responds to President Obama’s Immigration Plan in Letter

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a letter last week after President Obama unveiled a new immigration plan.

Tonight, President Obama will announce a series of executive actions to begin to fix our immigration system. The President views these actions as a first step toward the reform of the system, and continues to count on Congress for the more comprehensive reform that only changes in law can provide.

I support and recommended to the President each of the reforms to the immigration system that he will announce today. These recommendations were in turn the result of candid and extended consultations between me and the leadership of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as outside stakeholders. Along the way, I listened to members of the workforce who implement and enforce the law to hear their views. In my own view, any significant change in policy requires the insight of those who administer the system. I believe we have done that here.

The executive actions the President will announce will reform and improve the system in a number of respects. These executive actions are well within our legal authority to direct and implement.

Many of the actions the President will announce tonight must be implemented by you. Today I visited USCIS to explain those actions to the workforce there, and to others by video teleconference. Tomorrow, the leadership of CBP, ICE and USCIS and I will travel to McAllen Station, Texas, to review the executive actions with the workforce in South Texas. In the coming days, I or other leaders of this Department will also brief many of you around the country about the reforms, in person, by video teleconference or otherwise.

Thank you in advance for your attention to these new policies, and thank you again for all the good work you do for the American people.

Sincerely,

Jeh Charles Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security

Ex-Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling’s Son Alarms Passengers, TSA with Fake Grenade

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s son caused quite a scare at Logan International Airport on Saturday when his 12-year-old son told federal agents he had a fake grenade in his bag, MassLive reports.

“I think I left (a) fake grenade in my bag!” his son said.

Schilling tweeted that the bomb squad responded and alarmed passengers. But before long, the TSA let the former baseball star and his son board their flight.

“TSA could not have been cooler once they realized what was happening,” Schilling tweeted.

 Other Stories of Interest


My Adventures Tracking Marion Barry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In March of 1997, after being on strike at the Detroit News for 19 months, I headed off to D.C. to work for the Washington Post.

Sure, D.C. was home to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but to me, just importantly, it was home to the legendary Mayor Marion Barry, the guy who had become fodder in the comedic stratosphere after being busted in 1990 in an FBI sting for smoking crack. Comic Chris Rock had a field day with Barry.

Barry’s death on Sunday at age 78 reminded me of the various encounters and dealings I had with him over the years while working at the Washington Post. Sometimes I had to track him down to get a quote for someone’s story or go to a community meeting where he was speaking ,or write about his encounters with the law.

He was a character, and a charismatic one at that, though it seemed in the latter years he had far less energy and zip and suffered from various ailments.

My first dealings with Barry came after I’d been at the paper a short time. Barry had publicly said he had turned over a new leaf and was loyal to his wife. He said he was no longer a stray cat on the prowl.

But some reporters at the paper were hearing differently, that he was still running around, and had at least a couple girlfriends on the side. They had names and addresses.

The Post editors wanted me to stake out the alleged girlfriends’ homes to show that Barry was lying. It smacked of the Gary Hart story the Miami Herald pursued in 1987 after Hart, who was running for president, denied rumors he was a womanizer. The Herald staked out a D.C. townhouse and found that Hart had spent the night with a woman named Donna Rice.

To be honest, I was a little uncomfortable snooping over something so tawdry. I didn’t like the Gary Hart story, and wasn’t too crazy about this one. But I was relatively new at one the nation’s top papers, and thought, well, if the Washington Post is doing this, it must be journalistically OK. Frankly, weeks and years later, I never felt good about it, and in hindsight, should have probably objected to taking part in the stakeout.

Nonetheless, one night I headed out to a stakeout on a street off of North Capitol, just blocks from Union Station. I sat about five houses down from the alleged girlfriend’s home. I remember sitting in the car, calling a friend back in Detroit and saying something like: “You’re not going to believe what they’ve got me doing.”

I thought, even if Barry showed up and went inside the house, short of him spending the night, what was I going to prove without peeking in the window to make sure he was getting naked? Other than that, for all I knew, he could have been going over there to watch a Seinfeld show marathon.

I sat there for a few hours. No Barry.

Another night I was sent out to an apartment parking lot in Southwest Washington. Again, no Barry. Eventually, before I took off, I asked a few people in the parking lot if they had ever seen Barry come around. They had not.

That was the end of that.

The next year, I was working on a story on the 40th anniversary of Ben’s Chili Bowl, a legendary hot dog joint on U Street in D.C. Barry was a regular, as were a lot of politicians, and he was particularly fond of the turkey burgers. While interviewing him, he gave me a very memorable line, which unfortunately was cut from the article because of space.

“Ben’s Chili Bowl is for everybody. It’s for people who go to Morehouse and people who got no house.”

I loved that line.

Eventually, a Control Board, similar to an emergency manager here in Michigan, stripped Barry of his powers. And in 1998, he decided not to run for mayor again. Four years later, the man was back. He announced he was running for city council.

“It’s great waking up in the morning clean and sober,” he said at the time.

But weeks later, I wrote a story, along with colleague Martin Weil, that U.S. Park Police had found traces of marijuana and cocaine in Barry’s car. Police had been trying to keep the story quiet.

What happened was police encountered Barry after responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle in a no-parking zone in an area of D.C. known as Buzzard Point. The officer saw Barry ingesting something and searched the car.

Authorities decided the amounts of illegal drugs were too small to support a prosecution.

Barry dropped out the council race shortly after.

But he wasn’t done.

In 2004, he ran and won a seat on city council. He remained as a council member until his death.

He was a complex man with an addictive personality. Life wasn’t so easy.

But it sure was interesting for him. And frankly, he made it interesting for a lot of other folks including journalists like me.

The Washington Post Editorial board on Sunday put it best:

Those people will mourn Marion Barry today, but they should not be alone. All in this city who knew him over his half-century here ought to mourn the great promise lost over the course of a life that conformed in many ways to the dictionary definition of ancient tragedy, and recall with admiration the man who helped knock down barriers that are almost unimaginable to those of a younger generation.

 

 

 

Lengel: My Adventures Tracking Marion Barry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In March of 1997, after being on strike at the Detroit News for 19 months, I headed off to D.C. to work for the Washington Post.

Sure, D.C. was home to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but to me, just importantly, it was home to the legendary Mayor Marion Barry, the guy who had become fodder in the comedic stratosphere after being busted in 1990 in an FBI sting for smoking crack. Comic Chris Rock had a field day with Barry.

Barry’s death on Sunday at age 78 reminded me of the various encounters and dealings I had with him over the years while working at the Washington Post. Sometimes I had to track him down to get a quote for someone’s story or go to a community meeting where he was speaking ,or write about his encounters with the law.

He was a character, and a charismatic one at that, though it seemed in the latter years he had far less energy and zip and suffered from various ailments.

My first dealings with Barry came after I’d been at the paper a short time. Barry had publicly said he had turned over a new leaf and was loyal to his wife. He said he was no longer a stray cat on the prowl.

But some reporters at the paper were hearing differently, that he was still running around, and had at least a couple girlfriends on the side. They had names and addresses.

The Post editors wanted me to stake out the alleged girlfriends’ homes to show that Barry was lying. It smacked of the Gary Hart story the Miami Herald pursued in 1987 after Hart, who was running for president, denied rumors he was a womanizer. The Herald staked out a D.C. townhouse and found that Hart had spent the night with a woman named Donna Rice.

To be honest, I was a little uncomfortable snooping over something so tawdry. I didn’t like the Gary Hart story, and wasn’t too crazy about this one. But I was relatively new at one the nation’s top papers, and thought, well, if the Washington Post is doing this, it must be journalistically OK. Frankly, weeks and years later, I never felt good about it, and in hindsight, should have probably objected to taking part in the stakeout.

Nonetheless, one night I headed out to a stakeout on a street off of North Capitol, just blocks from Union Station. I sat about five houses down from the alleged girlfriend’s home. I remember sitting in the car, calling a friend back in Detroit and saying something like: “You’re not going to believe what they’ve got me doing.”

I thought, even if Barry showed up and went inside the house, short of him spending the night, what was I going to prove without peeking in the window to make sure he was getting naked? Other than that, for all I knew, he could have been going over there to watch a Seinfeld show marathon.

Read more »

FBI Sends Nearly 100 Additonal Agents to Ferguson Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nearly 100 additional FBI agents are in Ferguson as authorities brace for the reaction to a Ferguson grand jury that will decide soon whether Officer Darren Wilson will be charged with shooting an unarmed black teen, ABC News reports.

Federal law enforcement officials have already warned of a potentially violent reaction.

The agents will help other law enforcement.

A grand jury decision could come today.

The fatal shooting has prompted protests and occasional bursts of violence and destruction.

Marion Barry’s Civil Rights Achievements Overshadowed by FBI Sting involving crack

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For better or worse, the defining moment of Marion Barry’s storied political career was an FBI bust that revealed the D.C. mayor smoking crack in a hotel room in 1990.

“Bitch set me up,” Barry said of the woman who was a part of the sting.

Barry, who also was a tireless supporter for generations of black people, died Sunday.

He was 78.

The FBI sting cost Barry six months in prison but it didn’t end his political career. The son of a sharecropper was elected to a fourth term as mayor in 1994 and then served three terms on the D.C. Council from 2004-15.

His civil rights achievements were overshadowed by the surveillance video showing him smoking crack.

Click here to see the video.