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Tag: local police

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


Former Police Chief Found Dead Hours After FBI Alleges Theft

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just hours after the FBI accused a former police chief in New Mexico of stealing federal money, the suspect was found dead, possibly of a suicide.

The Associated Press reports that former Rio Grande City Police Chief Byron Piper, who retired in December, was found dead at his home with a gunshot wound.

FBI agents filed a complaint Monday, accusing Piper of stealing more than $44,000 in federal grant money that was meant for overtime pay for border security operations.

Agents conducted surveillance and discovered that Piper did very little work during the time he was collecting overtime pay.

“He stayed several hours at home; he spent several hours eating meals at various restaurants; and he completed a number of personal errands,” the complaint said.

Piper acknowledged in a meeting with the FBI that he did not work about 70% of the time he submitted OT sheets.

“I did it out of being lazy and stupidity,” Piper’s statement said. “I am very, very sorry for my actions. It is not only another stain on law enforcement but I am also hurting my family and embarrassing them.”

Local Police Help FBI Keep Tabs on Growing Number of Terrorism Suspects

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is struggling to keep track of what appears to be a growing network of ISIS supporters who blend in until the time comes to attack.

CNN reports that then NYPD and other local law enforcement agencies are pitching in to search for and investigate ISIS supporters.

The most recent failure came when a known ISSI supporter who was under investigation by the FBI attacked a Prophet Mohammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas.

FBI Director James Comey said the FBI keeps its eye on hundreds of suspects.

Some NYPD officers who have already been trained in surveillance will help keep track of suspects.

The goal is to add 450 officers to the department’s counterterrorism unit, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said. LAPD also is following suit.

“It’s an extraordinarily difficult challenge task to find — that’s the first challenge — and then assess those who may be on a journey from talking to doing and to find and assess in an environment where increasingly, as the attorney general said, their communications are unavailable to us even with court orders,” Comey said.

FBI Director Comey Tells Police How to Join Dialogue about Race

Director James B. Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey met privately with Connecticut police chiefs Tuesday and encouraged them to become a part of the dialogue about policing and race, the Associated Press reports.

Comey described the discussion as productive but declined to discuss specifics.

“As you would expect in the Nutmeg State, it was a thoughtful and rich conversation,” said Comey, who still considers Connecticut home after working in the past for Westport-based Bridgewater Associates.

It was Comey’s second visit to the New Haven field office since taking the helm nearly two years ago.

Comey said he is trying to make the FBI more diverse but the bureau has struggled to get  enough applicants.

“We’re in a good place in Connecticut,” Comey said. “It was mostly a positive discussion about how they perceive law enforcement relationships to have improved particularly under the leadership I now have and have had for two years here in Connecticut, and that’s a good thing.”

 

Why South Carolina Cop Got Caught Killing Unarmed Walter Scott

Michael Slager

By Scott Lemieux
The Week

He probably would have gotten away with it.

That’s the sobering reality of the video of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shooting Walter L. Scott as he ran away, not posing the slightest threat to the officer. The utter indifference to human life evident in the video, shot by Feidin Santana, is horrifying. As Scott’s father put it, “The way he was shooting that gun, it looked like he was trying to kill a deer.” After Scott was felled by at least one of eight shots, Slager occupied himself with handcuffing Scott and possibly trying to plant evidence rather than making any immediateattempt to save his life. The phrase “cold-blooded killing” could have been invented for this shooting.

After the video surfaced, the relevant local authorities, to their credit, actedpromptly and justly. Slager was fired by the police department and charged with Scott’s murder by the district attorney. The killing was denounced by South Carolina’s Republican governor and its two Republican senators. In this case, clear video evidence pierced the thin blue line.

And yet, if it wasn’t for the pure chance of Slager’s actions being videotaped, he probably would have gotten off scot-free. Without videotaped evidence, stories of officers fearing for their lives before using deadly force can be difficult to dispute, and local police departments have little incentive to conduct extensive, critical investigations of the self-justifications of officers who kill. Even worse, they do have incentives to cover up even the most serious police misconduct.

“Americans are bombarded with evidence that police officers who use excessive or fatal force will go to great lengths to protect themselves and make sure they face no legal repercussions,” says Heather Ann Thompson, a professor of history at Temple University who specializes in issues of criminal justice. “From the state police’s bloody retaking of Attica in 1971, to the recent police officer killing of a citizen in South Carolina, cover-up is the first line of defense.”

This tendency to cover up represents a very serious systematic problem. A great deal of the criminal justice system depends on the honesty of law enforcement officials. Many criminal prosecutions depend on police testimony, and we often must rely on the investigations of local police when potential cases of misconduct arise. Pervasive dishonesty both lets individual bad actors escape punishment and undermines essential law enforcement activities.

Justice Department Lacks Evidence to Warrant Civil Rights Charges Against Ferguson Cop

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Not enough evidence exists to bring civil rights charges against the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, investigators for the Justice Department said.

The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department is reluctant to acknowledge the lack of evidence because of high tensions in the greater St. Louis area.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon maintains the case is still open.

“This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation,” Fallon said in a statement.

But the Post interviewed other law enforcement officials who said it was not premature to conclude the investigation is ending.

“The evidence we have makes federal civil rights charges unlikely,” one said.

 

Police Who Want to Use Federal Cell Phone Surveillance Required to Keep Technology quiet

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has prohibited local and state police from discussing the capabilities of surveillance technology that enables law enforcement to eavesdrop on cell phone calls, the Washington Post reports.

A letter obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the FBI requires police departments to sign a “non-disclosure agreement” before buying the equipment.

The so-called cell site simulators trick phones into routing their calls through surveillance, the Washington Post wrote.

The FBI said the disclosure of the technology could make it possible for criminals to avoid or detect the surveillance.

“The FBI routinely asserts the law enforcement sensitive privilege over cell site simulator equipment because discussion of the capabilities and use of the equipment in court would allow criminal defendants, criminal enterprises, or foreign powers, should they gain access to the items, to determine the FBI’s techniques, procedures, limitations, and capabilities in this area,” said an affidavit by an FBI official in April.

Justice Department to Launch Broad Civil Rights Investigation into Ferguson PD

 

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is launching a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson Police Department after an unarmed black teen was shot, leading to protests, unrest and more abuse from local cops.

The Washington Post reports that the investigation is expected to be announced as early as today by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

The Justice Department civil rights division, which has investigated excessive force in other police departments, will lead the probe.

The investigation will also include police departments in St. Louis County.

Investigators will be determining whether the department adopted polices and practices that led to civil rights violations.