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Tag: Flint

Flint Airport Attacker Tried to Buy Gun in Suburban Detroit

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Amor M. Ftouhi, 49, the Montreal man charged with stabbing an airport police officer in the neck at the Flint airport on Wednesday, was unsuccessful in an attempt to purchase a gun in the U.S., but did buy a knife here, the FBI says.


FBI’s David P. Gelios

David P. Gelios, head of the Detroit FBI, spoke Thursday about the weapons, but declined to give specifics at a downtown Detroit press conference. Fox 2’s M.L. Elrick reports the attacker tried to buy a gun at the Gilbraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens. WXYZ reports that he was turned away because of his citizenship.

Gelios said Ftouhi entered the U.S. legally by car at Lake Champlain, N.Y., on June 16 and was in Michigan last Sunday — two days later.

“I can’t say definitely he wasn’t here sooner, but we show activity in Michigan on June 18,” said Gelios, who conducted the press conference with acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch to talk about the attack on airport officer Lt. Jeff Neville, who is in stable condition.

He said that Ftouhi had not been flagged or monitored at any time by the FBI or Canadian authorities.

“We continue to have no information that suggests Ftouhi’s attack on Lt. Neville was part of a wider plot, nor do we have any indication he was aided in this incident or had any associates associated to this  incident.

Why Flint’s airport?

Gelios said the FBI is investigating that,and said he was looking for an international airport and he apparently picked the Bishop International Airport.


Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch

Ftouhi had no ticket to travel and had left his car parked at the Flint airport, where the FBI examined its contents.

Additional charges are likely, says Acting U.S. Attorney Lemisch. He gave no details, but suggested terrorism charges could come if the evidence points that way.

Ftouhi had yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic) as he carried out the attack, federal authorities say.

FBI Says Attacker of Officer at Flint, Mich., Airport is From Quebec

Featured_screen_shot_2017-06-21_at_1.23.26_pm_26642

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI said it is investigating the stabbing of a Flint airport police officer at Bishop International Airport in Flint as an act of terrorism, and identified the attacker as Amor M. Ftouhi, 49, of Quebec, Canada.

Authorities said Ftouhi referenced killings in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan and yelled “Allahu Akbar,” while stabbing airport officer, Lt. Jeff Neville, in the neck and back. He is listed in stable condition.

One local law enforcement officer said there was no immediate indication that the suspect had ties to Flint.

An affidavit by FBI agent Thomas Sondgeroth said that the suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar,” pulled out a knife and stabbed the officer in the neck.

The affidavit went on to say:

After stabbing the police officer, Ftouhi continued to yell “Allah” several times. He further exclaimed something similar to, “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.” The law enforcement officer was able to subdue Ftouhi, who asked the officer why he did not kill him.

Amor M. Ftouhi (Facebook photo)

Amor M. Ftouhi (Facebook photo)

“I have also spoken with another FBI agent who reviewed surveillance video of the airport premises, including the location of the stabbing,” the FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. “The agent informed me that at approximately 8:52 a.m., Ftouhi entered the first level of Bishop International Airport carrying a red duffle and a dark satchel bag. At approximately 9:10, Ftouhi went up an escalator to the second level of the airport. At the top of the escalator, Ftouhi turned left to go to a restaurant. At approximately 9:37:56, Ftouhi left the restaurant carrying both bags.

“Ftouhi entered a second-floor restroom at 9:38:15 and left at approximately 9:38:43 without either bag. At 9:38:48, Ftouhi attacked the officer and was subdued by other law enforcement shortly after.”

Parker: Lead Poisoning in Flint and Future Crime Statistics

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

In the plethora of political finger pointing and civil and criminal investigations, as well as the avalanche  of media reports on the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, one aspect of the debacle has been barely mentioned—the effect of lead poisoning of children on crime rates in future years.

The only media report of this potential is by the online journal thinkprogress (Click here to read).

As this column noted in November 2013 and January 2014, several scientific studies during the past two decades have demonstrated a positive correlation between lead exposure to children and their later propensity toward crime as a juveniles and young adults. Lead in the air and water has been shown to be especially harmful to children, causing or contributing to ADHD, decreased IQs, and emotional problems. These problems are especially present among low income groups.

One such study on this issue has been done by an Amherst College Professor, Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, who compared Massachusetts kids’ 1990 lead exposure with their 2000 test scores and behavior problem records. She found that even moderately elevated blood lead levels could be responsible for increased adult aggressiveness and violent criminal behavior. Reyes hypothesizes that it could also cause a tendency toward impulsive behavior, ADHD, substance abuse and a host of other social ills. Other studies around the world have confirmed these finings.

Other studies have pointed out the striking parallel between the increased lead in the air caused by leaded gasoline between the 1950s and 1991 when it was banned, and the dramatic increase in crime statistics during that same period. Obviously other factors were likely contributors, but the elimination of lead from fuel and paint seems to have been a significant potential factor in the greatly reduced crime statistics of the last two decades.

The question is to what extent will the lead exposure to Flint children affect their future health and development? Moreover, will any such effect result in the emotional and mental problems which will increase their propensity to commit crimes?

The Flint water contamination was a debacle by governments and a tragedy for its people. One potential result, one which should be added to the decision making by policymakers who thus far have been unwilling to spend the money to replace and repair Flint’s lead corroded infrastructure, is the cost to future crime victims.

Flint is not the only city to face these questions. An investigation is already underway in Sebring, Ohio for the same problem. Likely we will learn of other cities in the near future that will face a similar issue. The only silver lining to this tragedy may well be to influence other cities in the United States and around the world to examine their own water systems and the lead in the blood levels of their children and to take corrective action if needed.

As Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Desmond Tutu, said in a recent speech at the University of Michigan-Flint, “We actually needed the people of Flint to remind the people in this country what happens when political expediency, when financial concerns, overshadow justice and humanity.”

Perhaps a small consolation to the sacrifices by the people of Flint.

 

Stejskal: An Intriguing Tale of a GM Worker Who Got Busted Selling Test Cars from Proving Grounds

profile

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Jack Clingingsmith had what any car guy would consider a dream job. He was the executive in charge of testing for Buick at the General Motors proving grounds.

GM’s Milford, Michigan proving ground, when it opened in 1924, was the auto industry’s first dedicated testing facility. Today the sprawling 400 acre complex has over 100 buildings and about 132 miles (212 km) of roads. Those roads replicate all types of conditions found on streets and highways throughout North America – from dirt tracks to four lane interstate highways. There are also specialty surfaces to test traction, anti-skid and brake technology.

In 1984 despite Clingingsmith’s dream job, he had serious personal financial problems.

Part of Clingingsmith’s duties was to dispose of test cars after they were no longer of use. Some of these cars were one-of-a-kind prototypes and some had experimental parts using developing technology. For obvious reasons, these cars were not to be sold or driven by unauthorized people. Consequently, the cars were to be destroyed by having them crushed when they were no longer needed for testing.

A crushed car at that time was worth about $90 as scrap metal. However, if the cars were sold for parts, they could bring $1-2,000 each. Clingingsmith had an idea as to how to alleviate his financial problems. He would sell the cars for parts rather than having them crushed. GM wouldn’t know, and he would keep the difference.

In order to do this, he would need to obtain phony documentation to show the cars had been crushed. Part of the disposal process involved having the cars vehicle identification number (VIN) plates removed. Clingingsmith would turn in the VIN plates and advise GM and the Michigan Secretary of State that the cars were destroyed.

Greg Stejskal

Greg Stejskal

So that Clingingsmith didn’t have to deal with the scrap/auto parts dealer directly, he recruited an associate, Ingo Nicolay, to act as a middleman. Nicolay was the general manager of Johnson Motors, a Pontiac dealership in Holly, Michigan. Clingingsmith knew Nicolay because Johnson Motors had for years done body work on cars GM maintained for their executives.

Nicolay agreed to participate in the scam and in turn recruited Donald Holloway, the owner of Holloway Auto Parts in Flint, a city just north of Holly and once the home of Buick. Holloway was more than willing to buy low mileage, well maintained used cars to be used for auto parts. He was also willing to provide fake bills of sale showing the cars had been crushed.

Between November, 1984 and December, 1985, 14 test cars (13 Buicks and one Oldsmobile) were reported by Clingingsmith to have been destroyed. Actually they had been sold to Holloway for parts.

The conspiracy seemed to be going well, and all the conspirators were happy, but one of them was especially happy.

Even A Better Idea

Holloway upon taking delivery of these pristine used cars had an epiphany – why disassemble these cars to sell for parts when they could be sold whole. These cars hadn’t been reported stolen; in fact, there was no record they even existed. But it probably wouldn’t be wise to sell them locally.

Holloway had done business with a dealership, Fann’s Auto Sales, in Manchester, Tennessee. Holloway told the people at Fann’s that he had a source for “assembled” GM cars. Assembled cars were cars that were built from parts of two or more cars. (This was usually as a result of the cars having been extensively damaged in an accident.) For that reason the VIN plates had been removed. There was a provision under Tennessee law that allowed for assembled cars to be registered and assigned a new VIN.

Read more »

FBI: Windy City Became Murder Capital of U.S. in 2012

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Chicago led the nation in the sheer number of murders last year with 500, eclipsing even New York, which has a much larger population.

The FBI statistics released this week show that New York City had 419 murders, followed by Detroit with 386 and Philadelphia with 331 last year.

But on a per-capita basis, Flint, Mi., led the nation, followed by Detroit.

Other cities with more than 200 murders include Los Angeles (299), Baltimore (219) and Houston (217).

Of the murders, 69% involved a gun.

 

Ex-Flint, Mi. Police Chief Pleads Guilty in Fed Court to Fraud

David Dick/ nbc25 photo

David Dick/ nbc25 photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s little good news that comes out of the hard scrabbled town of Flint, a failing industrial city about an hour north of Detroit that General Motors once dominated.

Now comes more bad news. The ex-Flint interim Police Chief David Dicks, 42, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit to illegally receiving public money through a no-show job at a security company run by his father, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Dicks, who had once vowed to fight the charges, got his 15 minutes of fame last year “when he urged officers to file disorderly conduct or indecent exposure charges against those whose saggy pants allowed too much underwear or their bottoms to show on city streets. The policy eventually died,” the Free Press wrote.

He could go off to prison for up to a year and will pay $46,000 in restitution, the paper reported.

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