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Tag: ATF

Reputed Gang Member Sentenced to Nearly 17 Years for Shooting ATF Agent in Face

Ernesto Godinez

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A reputed gang member who shot an ATF agent in the face in Chicago last year was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison Wednesday.

A federal jury found Ernesto Godinez guilty in June in the shooting of Kevin Crump, who was nearly killed when a bullet tore through his neck and exited between his eyes on May 4, 2018.

Godinez, 29, was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in prison, CBS News reports.

Calling the attack “brazen, callous, and cowardly,” federal prosectors said Crump is lucky to be alive.

“The depravity of the defendant’s crime is remarkable. A sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment is the only fair answer here, both to punish this reprehensible crime and to protect the community he endangered time and time again,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing recommendation.

Police said Crump was placing a tracker on Godinez’s car when the reputed gang member ambushed the agent and opened fire. Prosecutors said Godinez, who was arrested three days later, believed he was shooting a rival gang member.

Surveillance cameras captured Godinez before and after the shooting.

Godinez’s attorney acknowledges his client was in the area the morning of the shooting, but insists Godinez was not involved in the shooting. The 12-member jury didn’t buy that.

ATF’s Scott Sweetow Retires as Acting Director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center

Scott Sweetow

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Scott Sweetow, the acting director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), retired Saturday after more than 29 years as a special agent with ATF.

Sweetow says he plans to run a private consulting firm based in Alabama specializing in explosives related counterterrorism and helping multinational companies identify terrorism indicators and pre-attack indicators.

“I will also be making myself available as an on air or print for media to comment on events in my wheelhouse, ” he tells ticklethewire.com.

Additionally, he’ll be doing international training for the State Department’s Global Anti-Terrorism Assistance  program overseas.

Sweetow, a long-serving senior executive with ATF and a former deputy assistant director for intelligence and special agent in charge, became the deputy director of TEDAC in January 2016, and became its acting director in May 2019.

It was the first time that the FBI, who leads the TEDAC, ever had an ATF senior executive assume such a long-term key leadership role.

Sweetow started with ATF in 1990 in Los Angeles and spent several years working in the Arson and Explosives group. He served as a Certified Explosives Specialist. And he was part of ATF’s National Response Team, which investigated high-profile crimes including the Oklahoma City bombing and the Centennial Olympic Park bombings.

TEDAC’s mission is to exploit IED information and material to produce actionable intelligence to protect the United States and its international partners from terrorist attacks, according to the FBI. TEDAC is part of the FBI Laboratory system, and operates primarily from its headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., as part of the FBI’s continuing expansion in the area.

The replacement director of TEDAC, an FBI senior executive, will be report in the coming days.  Sweetow’s ATF replacement is expected to report in early 2020.

 

Black ATF Agent Settles Lawsuit Involving Supervisor with Nazi Tattoo

ATF Agent Bradford Devlin with a Nazi-themed tattoo, via U.S. District Court.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A black ATF supervisor will receive $450,000 to settle a lawsuit in which she claims the agency discriminated against her after she launched complaints about another supervisor with a Nazi-themed tattoo.

Cheryl Bishop, a senior supervisor agent in Seattle and former bomb-dog handler, alleged in the 2018 suit that the agency scuttled her appointment to a job at Washington D.C.’s headquarters after she blew the whistle on abusive behavior by Agent Bradford Devlin.

ATF settled the case before it was set to go to a seven-day trial this month.

In addition to the payout, Bishop will receive a private meeting with the agency’s director and get a ring commemorating her time as the first female member of ATF’s Special Response Team, the Seattle Times reports.

Devlin, who is now the senior supervisor in ATF’s Seattle Field Division, denied being abusive and says he got the Nazi tattoo while working undercover investigating an outlaw white-supremacist biker gang in Ohio.

Although the agency offered to pay for the removal of the tattoo, Devlin decided to keep it, calling it a “war trophy.”

“While I am grateful to put the lawsuit behind me, healing the emotional scars will take more time,” Bishop said in a prepared statement. “What happened to me should never happen to anyone, anywhere. Since harassment, discrimination, and retaliation are alive and well, I encourage anyone who encounters them to speak out — that’s the only way change happens.”

Justice Department Launches Plan to Crack Down on Gun Violence

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department unveiled a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearm laws.

Dubbed “Project Guardian,” the five-point plan includes coordinated prosecution, enforcement of firearm laws and background checks, improved information sharing, coordinated response to mental health denials, and crime gun intelligence coordination.

The plan calls for strengthening partnerships among the ATF, federal prosecutors, and state and local law enforcement to enforce existing laws.

The deputy attorney general is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the plan.

“I know you share my grave concern regarding the gun violence that has plagued our communities and that you are committed to preventing gun violence whenever possible,” Attorney General William Barr said in a news release. “By initiating Project Guardian, we take an important step in increasing the safety and security of our communities. I look forward to hearing in the coming months about your implementation of this program, which will help make our country a safer place for all.”

ATF Loses Agents And Resources As Gun Deaths, Mass Shootings Rise

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

As law enforcement struggles with how to handle the proliferation of mass shootings in the U.S., the agency tasked with enforcing gun laws is underfunded and without a permanent leader.

The ATF is expected to lose 300 agents to retirement in 2018 and 2019, and the agency isn’t hiring enough replacements.

The agency has no permanent leader, and its budget continues to be cut.

Kenneth E. Nelson, former acting ATF director, said the agency is being handled like “political football.”

“If they are really concerned, Congress would give ATF the resources to prevent and respond to mass shootings, but ATF is a political football,” Nelson told The Washington Times.

Since 2001, the number of gun deaths have risen 34%, but the number of federal agents – about 2,600 – has not increased.

“The growth of violent gun crime is an external challenge that has strained ATF’s ability to respond to requests for assistance to address the needs of the nation’s cities and citizens most affected by this violence,” ATF wrote, adding that “requests for services and support continue to exceed our ability to respond.”

In 2018, the ATF hired 156 agents but lost 172 to retirement. With about 17% of agents aged 50 or older, the agency is expected to lose a lot more staff.

President Trump has even discussed transferring the ATF’s responsibilities to the Treasury Department.

David Chipman, a former ATF agent, said the gun lobby is to blame.

“We all agree gun violence is a significant public safety threat, so why is the ATF the size that it is?” he said. “That is largely because the gun lobby has been concerned about an effective and aggressive ATF, and their influence over legislators has kept the ATF ineffectual, at least budgetwise.”

Time to Finally Confirm Trump’s Pick to Lead ATF, Say Top Law Enforcement Organizations

Chuck Canterbury

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pick to lead the ATF has been derailed by Republicans who are uneasy about position on gun control.

Five months ago, Trump nominated of Chuck Canterbury, leader of the national Fraternal Order of Police, to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent leader since 2015. Without someone at the top of the ATF, many officials are worried the agency will lack stability and operational effectiveness.

It’s time for the Senate to confirm Canterbury as head of the ATF, according to a Hill column written by leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and the National Sheriffs Association.

“This lack of permanent leadership compromises the effectiveness of the ATF’s law enforcement mission,” they wrote. “We need Chuck Canterbury as director of the ATF and we strongly believe he should be expeditiously confirmed.”

The authors say there’s no doubt that Canterbury respects Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

“Canterbury is a proud supporter of the Second Amendment; everyone knows this,” they wrote. “We also know that Chuck is a cop’s cop with a reverence for the rule of law. If confirmed, he will enforce the laws written by Congress because that will be his job. If you know Chuck Canterbury, then you know he gets the job done. We have every confidence in him, and we urge the Senate in the strongest possible terms to confirm this excellent and highly qualified nominee.”

Read the entire column here.

Conservative Republicans Hold Up Trump’s Pick to Lead ATF

Chuck Canterbury

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pick to lead the ATF has hit a roadblock.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week voted to delay the nomination of Chuck Canterbury over concerns from conservative Republicans and gun rights groups,

Their concern is that Canterbury’s position on the Second Amendment is not solid enough, CNN reports.

During last weeks hearing, Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana accused Canterbury of being “evasive” about his personal views on the Second Amendment.

“I don’t personally support any more restrictions than are currently in the law,” Canterbury eventually responded.

ATF Supervisor with Nazi Tattoo Is Accused of Discriminating Against Black Agent

ATF Agent Bradford Devlin with a Nazi-themed tattoo, via U.S. District Court.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An African American ATF supervisor claims in a lawsuit that the agency discriminated against her after she launched complaints about another supervisor with a Nazi-themed tattoo.

A seven-day trial is set to begin Oct. 26.

Cheryl Bishop, a former bomb-dog handler, said the agency scuttled her appointment to a job at Washington D.C.’s headquarters after she blew the whistle on abusive behavior by Agent Bradford Devlin, The Seattle Times reports.

Now the senior supervisor in the ATF’s Seattle Field Division, Devlin denies being abusive and says he got the Nazi tattoo while working undercover investigating an outlaw white-supremacist biker gang in Ohio.

Although the agency offered to pay for the removal of the tattoo, Devlin has decided to keep it, calling it a “war trophy.”