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Archive for April 22nd, 2015

Justice Department Opens Civil Rights Investigation over Baltimore Death

 
By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Freddie Gray was seen walking and talking when he was placed into a Baltimore police van.

But when he emerged, Gray “could not talk, he could not breathe,” Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said in a story in the Washington Post.

Gray died after suffering a severe spinal cord injury.

Six Baltimore police officers were suspended while there is an investigation.

The Justice Department plans to turn over results of the investigation to prosecutors by May 1.

Protests have broken out over the death.

Residents Want Permission to Monitor Border Patrol Checkpoints from Just 20 Feet Away

Arivaca, AZ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Border Patrol are making an unusual request: They want permission to monitor agents from 20 feet away.

Two residents of an Arizona town, Arivaca, filed a lawsuit last year, claiming the Border Patrol violates their First Amendment rights and bullies anyone who protests the checkpoint, the Associated Press reports.

An attorney for Border Patrol argued that checkpoints are not a public forum and having people monitor checkpoints would be dangerous.

Homeland Security Setting Up Office in Silicon Valley, Plans to Recruit Tech Talent

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 
Homeland Security is headed for the Silicon Valley, and the federal agency plans to take advantage of the abundance of tech talent. 

The department will open a satellite office soon, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said at a conference in San Francisco, Mercury News reports.

The office will “serve as a point of contact for our friends here,” Johnson said.

“We want to strengthen critical relationships in Silicon Valley and ensure that the government and the private sector benefit from each other’s research and development,” Johnson said. “And we want to convince some of the talented workforce here in Silicon Valley to come to Washington.”

The timing is critical because of the increasing threat of cybercrime.

“In the name of homeland security, we can build more walls, erect more screening devices, interrogate more people and make everybody suspicious of each other, but we should not do this at the cost of who we are as a nation of people who cherish privacy and freedom to travel, celebrate our diversity and who are not afraid,” Johnson said.

How a Single Hair Led to 39 Years in Prison on False Conviction, Faulty Science

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A single hair has put George Perrot behind bars for nearly 30 years.

Perrot, then 17, was tried and convicted of rape and burglary based on a piece of hair found on the bed sheet of a 78-year-old woman who had been raped, The Guardian reports.

There was no blood or semen. Just the hair.

An FBI agent named Wayne Oakes testified that he knew with certainty that the hair belonged to Perrot.

Trouble is, Oakes was wrong, and Perrot is still hoping for a retrial.

Oakes is among an elite FBI unit that gave faulty testimony in hair evidence cases for two decades, a discovery recently made public. The news is expected to spur retrials for many people.

 

DEA Chief Resigns Following ‘Sex Parties’ Investigation, Lax Discipline

Michele Leonhart

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

DEA Director Michele Leonhart, who has come under sharp criticism over agents’ misconduct, has announced her retirement.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Leonhart, who served as the agency’s top administrator since 2010, told him of her plans Tuesday, The USA Today reports. 

She was the first women to serve as director.

“She has devoted her life and her professional career to the defense of our nation and the protection of our citizens, and for that, I am deeply grateful,” Holder said in written statement.

Leonhart’s last day is expected to be in mid-May,

Lawmakers became outraged this month after learning that DEA agents participated in sex parties in Columbia and received lax discipline.

“Most of the sex parties occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops, BlackBerry devices and other government issued equipment were present … potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail or coercion,” a report on the parties said.

Calling Leonhart’s retirement decision “appropriate,” the leadership of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a joint statement.

“With the opportunity now for fresh leadership, we are hopeful that the DEA can restore itself to an agency of distinction and excellence,” panel Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland said.

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