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Archive for October 28th, 2015

Baltimore Sun: FBI Director Comey Wrong about ‘Ferguson Effect,’ Distracts from Real Issue

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Editorial Board
Baltimore Sun

On Friday, FBI Director James Comey told an audience in Chicago that he believes that the “YouTube effect” — that is, the heightened scrutiny police officers have faced after a series of highly publicized incidents of questionable use of force, including Freddie Gray‘s arrest in Baltimore — has contributed to the nation-wide rise in violent crime. This is not a new theory — it has been voiced here by the head of the police union and by the former police commissioner, who said he believed officers “took a knee” after April’s riots. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently said he believed officers had gone “fetal” under the scrutiny. But given what Mr. Comey admits is a lack of any real data to support it, the theory is a damaging one to advance, as it only underscores the disconnect between police and the communities they are supposed to serve.

Mr. Comey said he has heard anecdotal evidence that officers are being told by superiors that their political leaders have “no tolerance for a viral video,” and that as a consequence, officers are reluctant to get out of their cars and question suspicious people. “Lives are saved when those potential killers are confronted by a police officer, a strong police presence and actual, honest-to-goodness, up-close ‘What are you guys doing on this corner at 1 o’clock in the morning’ policing,” Mr. Comey told an audience at the University of Chicago Law School. “We need to be careful it doesn’t drift away from us in the age of viral videos, or there will be profound consequences.”

What is so troubling about this line of reasoning is that it suggests officers have no idea about what has brought us to this point. The issue is not officers doing their jobs in an energetic, proactive way. The issue is the use of force when it’s not needed, the violation of civil rights and the general dehumanization of people who live in high crime areas, usually African Americans. The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which sparked the era of heightened scrutiny for officers, was not captured on video and proved less clear-cutthan reports initially suggested. But a series of subsequent cases — the killings of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott and Sam DuBose, the arrest of Sandra Bland and others — cannot be construed as situations conscientious officers would find themselves in simply by doing their jobs.

To read more click here. 

FBI Warns Police Departments About Possible Attacks by Anarchists on Halloween

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An anarchist group is threatening to ambush cops as part of a “Halloween Revolt,” the FBI warned police departments nationwide.

The Washington Times reports that a group known as the National Liberation Militia is urged members to cause disturbances and then attack responding police.

The group is encouraging members to dress up in costumes and come armed and ready to attack.

No specific threats have been disclosed.

Justice Department Study: Ambush Attacks on Police Remain Steady, But Are Increasingly Deadly

badge-policeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of ambush attacks against law enforcement remains steady – with about 200 a year – but more police are getting killed as a result, a Justice Department study found.

The study examined surprise attacks between 1990 to 2013 and concluded that there is reason for alarm and that “officers must not only be guardians of the public but also be prepared to respond to violence targeting them,” The Washington Post reports.  

“As part of our work to support these brave men and women, the Department of Justice is committed to extensive efforts aimed at preventing violent action against the police,” Lynch said in a statement. “This report will serve as a critical base of knowledge as we work to defend our law enforcement and ensure our officers’ safety.”

One deterrent, the study found, was in-car cameras.

Click here to see the report.

Millions of Firearms Purchase Records Languish in ATF Facility, Hampering Investigations

gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Firearm purchase records are an important resource for law enforcement because the documents can help trace guns used in crimes.

Trouble is, millions of those records are languishing in cardboard boxes at the government’s National Tracing Center because they have not been processed, the USA Today reports. 

The records – as many as 1.6 million documents a month – come from defunct firearm dealers who must hand over their records to an ATF facility.

The USA Today reports:

The avalanche of records is a little-noticed yet critical component of a newly escalating firearms debate that underscores both the strained operations of the federal government’s chief gun enforcement agency and the strength of a powerful gun rights lobby intent on preventing the creation of a national gun registry, law enforcement analysts say.

The dysfunctional document management system exists even as ATF examiners are faced with a steadily increasing demand for tracing guns used in crimes — 364,441 requests last year — and as the agency seeks to assist local law enforcement authorities in a number of U.S. cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Baltimore, where there have been dramatic spikes in gun-related violence.

“It’s really sad,” said Ben Hayes, a former ATF official who for more than a decade oversaw parts of the tracing center’s operations. “It’s pathetic.”

TSA Inspector Helps Save Drive from Car Before It Bust into Flames in Michigan

tsa_logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA inspector was driving by an accident scene when she spotted a car leaking gasoline.

Amy Jishi made the discovery while leaving work at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Fox2 reports. 

As the car began to burn, Jishi realized the driver was stuck in the car and couldn’t open the car. Before the car bust into flames, Jishi finally was able to help the driver escape the car.

“It never expected to see something like that,” Jishi said. “But when I saw the accident the only thought that went through my mind was to help them.”

The TSA expressed pride.

“We are all proud of Amy’s quick decision making and selfless actions,” said TSA Federal Security Director Steve Lorincz. “She represents the type of dedication and service that TSA strives to deliver.”

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