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Tag: Attorney General

Justice Department to Award More Than $20M for Body Cameras for Police

Body cams, via Wikipedia

Body cams, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

After the rash of police shootings of black men across country, the Justice Department plans to award more than $20 million to law enforcement agencies to use or enhance body cameras.   

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Monday, saying the money will be awarded to 106 state, city, tribal and municipal law enforcement agencies, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

“Of course, even as we strive to support local leaders and our law enforcement partners in their work to protect their communities, we are mindful — we know, we see every day — that effective public safety requires more than arrests and prosecutions,” Lynch said. “Because It also requires winning, and keeping, the trust and the confidence of the citizens we serve.”

Lynch alluded to the police shootings to raise the importance of body cameras footage.

“There is no doubt that these are challenging times for law enforcement and communities alike,” Lynch said. “Where the relationship of trust has frayed and frankly broken, we see the mistrust within the community; we also see the underlying fear within many of our friends and neighbors that when they are threatened by violence, they will have no one to call.”

More Than 110 People Charged with ISIS-Linked Crimes in U.S. Since Late 2013

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling

Since late 2013, more than 110 people have been charged in federal court with crimes related to ISIS, U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said Monday.

Carlin urged Americans to alert federal authorities when they witness a supporter of terrorist organizations, Reuters reports. 

He said people in the community have told authorities in more than 80% of the ISIS cases that they believed the suspect had been involved in crimes for which they were charged. But in more than half of those cases, the public failed to report the activity until after charges were filed.

Last year, 60 people with links to ISIS were charged.

Other Stories of Interest

AG Loretta Lynch Wants Newly Released Inmates to Be Issued ID Cards

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

By Steve Neavling

In an effort to make transition from jail to freedom easier for convicts, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is urging governors to provide parolees with state identification cards.

The announcement is part of the nation’s first National Reentry Week, which began Sunday, the Christian Science Monitor reports. 

“National Reentry Week highlights the many ways that the Department of Justice – and the entire Obama Administration – is working to tear down the barriers that stand between returning citizens and a meaningful second chance – leading to brighter futures, stronger communities, and a more just and equal nation for all.”

The move is part of a bigger push for justice reform intended to make it easier for convicts to land jobs and thus stay out of trouble.

Justice Department’s Highest-Ranking Openly Gay Leader to Step Down

Stuart Delery

Stuart Delery

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department’s highest-ranking openly gay leader is stepping down to explore jobs in the private sector.

The department’s No. 3 official, Stuard Delery, has served as acting associate attorney general after rising the ranks since starting with the DOJ in 2009, NPR reports. 

Delery was a top counterterrorism expert and also agreed cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

“It’s been a complete privilege to work here at the Department of Justice,” Delery, 47, told NPR in an interview Tuesday morning. “It’s been a real honor to be part of it, and I feel really lucky as a lawyer to have had the chance to do it.”

Delray also investigated financial scams, voting rights and tainted food and medicine.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch called Delery “an indispensible source of wisdom, leadership and inspiration.”

“We can all take pride in the many ways he has helped to make this country more fair, more equal, and more just,” Lynch said.

Bill Baer, who leads the department’s antitrust division, is expected to replace Delery.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Appears on the Stephen Colbert Show

Former Detroit FBI Chief to Help State Investigation of Flint Water Crisis

Andy Arena

Andy Arena

By Steve Neavling

A former head of the Detroit FBI is helping assist a Michigan attorney general investigation into the handling of the Flint water crisis that led to thousands of residents being poisoned by lead, The Detroit Free Press reports. 

Attorney General Bill Schuette, who originally refused to get involved in the water crisis, said he’s tapping Andrew Arena, a former FBI Director in Detroit, to help investigate.

“We will do our job thoroughly and let the chips fall where they may,” Schuette said in a news release.

“This investigation is about beginning the road back to rebuild, regain and restore trust in government.”

The Republican, who appears to be planning to run for governor in 2018, said the investigation will determine whether city or state officials violated laws for their handling of the crisis.

Arena, a former prosecutor in Michigan, worked on high-profile corruption cases while he was the head of the FBI’s Detroit office.

“I am honored to return to public service on a case so important to the public trust,” Arena said in the news release. “We will enter the investigation with open eyes and follow the facts, whatever the outcome, and Flint families and Michigan families will receive a full and independent report of our investigation.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also investigating to determine if any laws were broken.

Illinois Attorney General Asks DOJ to Investigate Civil Rights Abuses in Chicago PD

chicago_police_patchBy Steve Neavling

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is urging the Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department over a number of cases in which cops killed or injured unarmed citizens, the Washington Post reports. 

Protesters are still outraged by a police shooting that killed a 17-year-old last year.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Madigan listed several cases in which Chicago police officers shot unarmed citizens over the past few years.

Included in the list is the October 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, who was 17. The officer who pulled the trigger, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with murder last week, the same day a disturbing dash-cam video of the incident was released.

“The McDonald shooting is shocking, and it highlights serious questions about the historic, systemic use of unlawful and excessive force by Chicago police officers and the lack of accountability for such abuse by CPD,” Madigan wrote.

FBI Director: Terrorism Attacks in Paris Have No Links to U.S.

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

The Paris attacks that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds of others had “no connection at all” to the U.S., FBI Director James Comey said Thursday.

Speaking at a briefing with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Comey dismissed any notion that that U.S. is the target of any specific or credible attacks, the USA Today reports.

Still, he emphasized, the FBI stepped up surveillance of dozens of potential suspects who could launch an attack.

Lynch added that the U.S. won’t be intimidated by terrorists.

“We will not let our actions be overtaken by fear,” Lynch said, referring to ISIS operatives as “merchants of violence.”

“They want us to live in fear, and we refuse,” the attorney general said.