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Tag: local police

AG Sessions Creates Safeguards After Reinstating Controversial Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is creating safeguards to detect problems with the asset forfeiture program that he reinstated amid criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

In July, Sessions reversed a decision by former Attorney General Eric Holder to end the program, which had been mired in problems.

Sessions directed his deputy attorney general to hire a director to review the policy and identify and correct any problems that arise, the Washington Post reports

“The asset forfeiture program has proven to be extremely valuable to law enforcement in our country, but it has received certain criticisms,” Sessions wrote in his memo to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

Holder ended the program two years ago to prevent state and local police from seizing cash and other property without warrants or criminal charges.

FBI Helps Police Search for Cleveland Man Who Killed on Facebook Video

Steve Stephens, via Facebook.

Steve Stephens, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping Cleveland Police search for a gunman who shot and killed an elderly man and uploaded the video to Facebook on Sunday, prompting a manhunt that continued into Monday morning.

Police said Steve Stephens uploaded the video that shows him shooting the elderly man in the head. Stephens also claimed on the video that he killed about a dozen other people, but police said there’s no evidence of other murders.

The FBI quickly joined in the manhunt.

Police believe Stephens may have fled Cleveland and could be in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York or Indiana.

TSA Warns Local Police about More Invasive Physical Pat-Downs at Airports

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA is beginning to conduct more invasive physical pat-downs at airports nationwide, but it’s not entirely clear what that will entail.

But the agency informed local police of the new procedures because of suspicions that passengers will complain about “abnormal” federal frisking, Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg wrote:

The decision to alert local and airport police raises a question of just how intimate the agency’s employees may get. On its website, the TSA says employees “use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.”

Now, security screeners will use the front of their hands on a passenger in a private screening area if one of the prior screening methods indicates the presence of explosives, according to a “security notice” Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) sent its U.S. members following a March 1 conference call with TSA officials

“Due to this change, TSA asked FSDs [field security directors] to contact airport law enforcement and brief them on the procedures in case they are notified that a passenger believes a [TSA employee] has subjected them to an abnormal screening practice,” ACI wrote.

FBI Failed to Alert Numerous Americans They Were on ISIS Kill Lists

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Numerous Americans who were placed on secret ISIS kill lists were never notified by the FBI, nor were the local police alerted, Circa reveals.

The ISIS hit lists have been posted on encrypted websites, identifying more than 15,000 people who should be killed by sleeper cells or lone wolves in Florida, California, Texas and New York.

Circa made the discovery by obtaining copies of some of the lists and contact people who are targets.

In Texas, Circa discovered that 22 out of 24 people sampled were never notified they were on an ISIS kill list.

“I was terrified. We live in a different world and the Jewish community is a number one target of these radicals,” said a woman in Austin who found out from Circa that she and several of her friends in the Jewish community were on a list. The woman agreed to be interviewed only on condition of anonymity, fearing using her name would only increase her risk.

“I’m very upset that I was not notified by the FBI or local law enforcement,” she said.

The FBI has said its agents have intended to alert all Americans threatened by ISIS and notify the local police departments.

The FBI acknowledged some names may have been missed, but insists most people were alerted.

“The FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of potential threat information. We perform these notifications so potential victims are aware of possible threats and take appropriate steps,” the bureau said. “Those measures may include paying close attention to your surroundings at all times, protecting personally identifiable information, and immediately calling the local authorities if you observe something suspicious. The FBI will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local partners to keep the public informed of potential threats.”

Justice Department Resumes Controversial Program That Lets Cops Seize Cash, Property

cash2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s controversial program that allows police to seize and keep cash and property from people who have never been convicted or even charged is resuming.

The Justice Department suspended the “equitable sharing” program last year because of budget cuts.

“In the months since we made the difficult decision to defer equitable sharing payments because of the $1.2 billion rescinded from the Asset Forfeiture Fund, the financial solvency of the fund has improved to the point where it is no longer necessary to continue deferring Equitable Sharing payments,” spokesman Peter J. Carr told the Washington Post. 

The program has a lot of critics who contend police become motivated “more by profit ad less by justice,” the Post wrote.

Asset forfeiture has exploded over the past several years, climbing from less than $1 bill in 2004 to more than $5 billion in 2014.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Suspends Assets Forfeiture Program for Local Police

frozen-cash2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A controversial program that allows local police to seize and keep cash and property from people who were never charged or convicted of a crime is ending, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Federal forfeiture policies were long considered unfair by defense attorneys because police were allowed to keep up to 80% of the assets they seized, even when no charges were filed, the Washington Post reports.

The Justice Department announced it’s suspending the program due to budget cuts.

“While we had hoped to minimize any adverse impact on state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, the Department is deferring for the time being any equitable sharing payments from the Program,” M. Kendall Day, chief of the asset forfeiture and money laundering section, wrote in a letter to state and local law enforcement agencies.

Some in the criminal justice community charged that police were pursuing cases because of profits.

“This is a significant deal,” said Lee McGrath, legislative counsel at the Institute for Justice, in an interview with the Washington Post. “Local law enforcement responds to incentives. And it’s clear that one of the biggest incentives is the relative payout from federal versus state forfeiture. And this announcement by the DOJ changes the playing field for which law state and local [law enforcement] is going to prefer.”

Florida Police Officers Claims He Was Disciplined for Speaking to FBI

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Boynton Beach police officer who was placed on administrative leave after speaking to FBI agents is suing the Florida city.

The Miami Herald reports that Sgt. Leif Broberg, a 24-year-veteran of the department, alleges the department threatened to fire him for launching complaints about members of the force trying to conceal video of an arrest.

Broberg said his leave amounts to punishment for talking to FBI agents about a video that he says depicts officers beating a suspect after a high-speed chase.

Broberg has contended that high-ranking members of the department wanted to discard the video.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Blasts Police for Violating Rights During Ferguson Protests

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Justice Department blasted the police response to the Ferguson protests and riots, saying police violated free-speech rights, antagonized and intimidated crowds with military-style tactics and protected officers from being held accountable, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The police were accused of “vague and arbitrary” orders to force protesters to move, which “violated citizens’ right to assembly and free speech,” according to a DOJ reported to be issued soon.

“Had law enforcement released information on the officer-involved shooting in a timely manner and continued the information flow as it became available, community distrust and media skepticism would most likely have been lessened,” according to the document.

The report also said police sometimes indiscriminately used tear gas.

The DOJ also suggested that police stop using dogs for crowd control because it antagonized and scared protesters.

The full report, which is still being finalized, contains about 45 “findings” with recommendations for improvements.

Other Stories of Interest