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Archive for January 18th, 2017

Tampa Bay Times: Trump’s Justice Department Can’t Ignore Bad Policing

police tapeBy Editorial Board
Tampa Bay Times

The Justice Department’s thorough report detailing the Chicago Police Department’s systemic disregard for civil rights is a sickening account of excessive force and abuse. It also is just one of the depressingly familiar federal investigations of police departments throughout the nation that have used discriminatory tactics. Yet President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, has criticized such federal efforts as overreaching. Whether it’s civil rights or voting rights, Washington cannot look the other way when there is nowhere else to turn for help.

The Chicago situation is breathtaking in its scope, brutality and cynicism. The Justice Department’s report says police officers routinely use unnecessary force, from firing their guns at cars or during foot chases to using Tasers in nonthreatening situations. It describes officers taking gang members to the neighborhoods of their rivals in an attempt to force them to talk. And it recounts an instance when an officer pointed his gun and then handcuffed teens who were trespassing on their bikes. No wonder the police have difficulty getting cooperation from residents as the city’s murder rate soars.

In such a dysfunctional situation, it’s also understandable that the federal report describes a Chicago Police Department that is demoralized, lacks discipline and fails to follow its own policies. That is exactly why the Justice Department has to step in to protect the rights of citizens, independently spotlight the abuses and help change the system. Under the Obama administration, the department has investigated police department abuses and negotiated reforms in cities from Baltimore to Cleveland. It intends to do the same in Chicago, where the city appears incapable of repairing the situation itself or stemming the rampant gun violence in the poorest neighborhoods.

A Justice Department led by Sessions may not be so vigilant. During his Senate confirmation hearing last week, he expressed skepticism about the two dozen “pattern-or-practice” investigations the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights Division opened during the Obama administration. Sessions was much more concerned that those investigations could hurt police morale and suggested the bad behavior could be from just a few rogue cops. That misses the point entirely and glosses over the systemic police misconduct in Chicago. And Baltimore. And Cleveland. And Seattle. And Ferguson.

To read more click here. 

FBI: Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooter Says He Was Inspired by ISIS

Esteban Santiago

Esteban Santiago

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The 26-year-old man who killed five people and injured six more in a shooting at Ford Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport earlier this month told authorities the attack was inspired by ISIS.

During Esteban Ruiz Santiago’s bond hearing Tuesday, FBI agents testified that the military veteran said he spoke with other jihadis online before the shooting, Business Insider reports. 

What’s unclear is whether he was working directly with ISIS.

FBI special agent Michael Ferlazzo said Santiago maintained he was under some form of government control.

If convicted, Santiago could face the death penalty.

President Obama Pardons Retired General Who Lied to FBI

General James Cartwright

General James Cartwright

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama on Tuesday pardoned a retired Marine Corps general who was convicted of lying to the FBI about his communication with reporters about Iran’s nuclear program.

In effect, General Cartwright, a former member of Obama’s national security team, was saved from a possible prison sentence.

Cartwright, who was due to be sentenced this month, pleaded guilty last year to lying to investigators about leaked classified information about cyberattacks against Iran.

“The president’s decision is wise and just, and it achieves the right result,” Cartwright’s lawyer, Gregor Craig, said in a statement. “It allows General Cartwright to continue his life’s work — to serve, protect and defend the nation he loves. It allows the nation to continue to benefit from his vast experience and knowledge.”

Two Teens Charged with Shooting Out Window of Border Patrol Vehicle

border-patrol-struckBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two teenage boys accused of shooting a Border Patrol vehicle near Sierra Vista, Ariz., have been charged with endangerment and felony criminal damage.

The boys, who are 15 and 16, shot out a window in the Border Patrol vehicle on Dec. 30, according to a CBP release.

No one was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, and no one was injured.

The shooter managed to escape capture until their parents contacted the local sheriff’s office after recognizing the boys in a photo released to the public.

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