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Tag: Native Americans

Obama Denies Clemency for Native American Convicted of Killing 2 FBI Agents

Leonard Peltier/photo from his website

Leonard Peltier/photo from his website

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama will not grant clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier, who was found guilty of killing two FBI agents during a shootout at a South Dakota reservation in 1975.

The president denied Peltier’s application for clemency, the Washington Times reports. 

The clemency was “not warranted,” the administration’s Office of the Pardon Attorney told Peltier’s attorney.

“Your client’s application was therefore denied by the president on January 18, 2017… Under the Constitution, there is no appeal from this decision,” the notice stated.

Peltier is 72 and seriously ill.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite serious concerns about the fairness of legal proceedings that led to his trial and conviction, Peltier was imprisoned for more than 40 years. He has always maintained his innocence. The families of the FBI agents who were killed during the 1975 confrontation between the FBI and American Indian Movement (AIM) members have a right to justice, but justice will not be served by Peltier’s continued imprisonment.”

The FBI Agents Association President Thomas O’Connor  issued a statement:

The FBI Agents Association agrees with the decision of the Obama Administration to deny Leonard Peltier’s petition for executive clemency. In well over a dozen appeals, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, every aspect of Mr. Peltier’s trial has been reviewed in detail. Mr. Peltier has never taken responsibility for his crimes while imprisoned.

Our thoughts today are with the families of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, who were killed by Mr. Peltier in 1975.  The FBI Agents Association will continue to counter efforts by Mr. Peltier’s legal and public relations team to portray him as anything other than who Leonard Peltier really is: an unremorseful, cold-blooded killer. Mr. Peltier should remain in prison and not be shown a mercy he refused to offer to Agents Coler and Williams in 1975, and has denied to their families and friends over the past four decades.

I would like to thank FBIAA members, the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and former FBI Supervisory Agent Ed Woods for their advocacy efforts against executive clemency for Mr. Peltier.

American University Removes Controversial Statue of Man Convicted of Killing FBI Agents

Leonard Peltier FBI wanted poster.

Leonard Peltier FBI wanted poster.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

American University is removing a controversial statue of a Native American activist who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1977.

The decision to remove the statue of Leonard Peltier came after the president of the FBI agents association urged the university to take down the work of art because it was offensive.

Many Native Americans believe Peltier was wrongly convicted and sentenced to two life terms.

The university released the following statement:

“American University strongly supports the mission of museums to present thought provoking art to inform and educate. Within the AU Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, we have hosted numerous exhibits of political and sometimes controversial art.

The decision to host the Peltier statue required a more thorough assessment of the implications of placing the piece in a prominent, public space outside the museum. With the benefit of a fuller review, we have made a decision to remove the piece from this location.

The subject matter and placement of the piece improperly suggested that American University has assumed an advocacy position of clemency for Mr. Peltier, when no such institutional position has been taken. Further, the nature and location of the piece called into question our ability to honor our responsibilities to ensure the security of the art and the safety of our community.

The AU Museum has offered to work with the artist to find an alternative organization that would be willing to exhibit the art. We affirm our commitment to the AU Museum and will ensure that its mission is fully supported in the Katzen Arts Center.”

Native American Activist Convicted of Murdering 2 FBI Agents Is Celebrated with Statue

Leonard Peltier FBI wanted poster.

Leonard Peltier FBI wanted poster.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Native America activist Leonard Peltier was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1977.

But that hasn’t stopped a controversial statue of Peltier from being installed on the campus of American University, FOX5 reports.

Many Native American activists believe Peltier was wrongly convicted and sentenced to two life terms. The Leonard Peltier Statue Project is raising awareness about the case.

But FBI officials aren’t happy about propping up Peltier as if he were a hero.

“When I see this, I’m outraged because I know to the extent that anybody could possibly know that this man received a fair trial, is guilty in the crime he was charged with, and is serving a sentence that is proportionate to the crime he committed,” said Steve Pomerantz, former assistant director for the FBI. “He’s still alive. Those two agents are dead. He is a grandfather. They will never be grandfathers. He committed this crime and he killed those agents in cold blood.”

Native American Sentenced to Killing FBI Agents in 1977 Asks for Clemency

Leonard PeltierBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group of prominent lawyers is trying to win the freedom of Leonard Peltier, a Lakota tribe member who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1977.

Mother Jones reports that Peltier, who has served 40 of his 71 federal prison sentence, is appealing for clemency and requesting that President Obama make it happen.

“[T]he time has come for the interests of the law enforcement community to be balanced against principles of fundamental fairness, reconciliation, and healing,” the lawyers wrote in a five-page letter to the president. 

“Mr. Peltier has exhausted all appeals and is next eligible to apply for parole in 2024, in the unlikely event that he lives that long,” the letter to Obama states. “The Parole Commission has yielded to the objections of the FBI and DOJ in denying Mr. Peltier’s applications for parole at every turn. Effectively, this Petition represents the last chance in Mr. Peltier’s lifetime for the Government to take curative and/or reconciliatory action.”

To some, Peltier has become international symbol the justice system’s mistreatment of Native Americans. His trial was fraught with irregularities, including witnesses who said they were coerced by the FBI.

Feds, Tribal Officials Bust Up Meth Trafficking on Reservation with 34 People Charged

Mescalero Apache Reservation, via Wikipedia.

Mescalero Apache Reservation, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA and tribal officials cracked down on methamphetamine trafficking on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico following an 18-month investigation, filing drug charges against 34 suspects, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports. 

The sting dismantled there drug trafficking organizations and led to the seizure of more than 22 pounds of methamphetamine.

The investigation began after an increase in drug-related violent crime on the reservation of 4,000 people.

“Given the disproportionate negative impact that methamphetamine has on our tribal communities, the significance of the results of this investigation cannot be overstated,” U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said. “More than 75 percent of law enforcement agencies that work in Indian Country identify methamphetamine as the greatest drug threat faced by tribal communities.”

A whopping 40% of the violent crimes committed on the reservation involved meth, Martinez said.

Other Stories of Interest

Washington State to Remove Paintings by Inmate Who Killed 2 FBI Agents

fbi-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four pieces of art painted by a man in prison for murdering two FBI agents are being removed by a Washington state agency.

The Retired FBI Agents Association complained about the paintings, which are hanging near the front doors of the state Department of Labor and Industries’ headquarters in Tumwater, Washington, Capital Justice reports. 

Leonard Peltier, 71, a Native American activist, created the paintings while in prison for murdering two FBI agents during a standoff on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975.

“He’s nothing but a thug,” said retired FBI agent Ray Lauer. “He’s an unrepentant cop killer.”

“For the state of Washington to use taxpayers’ dollars to basically offer a free art gallery to somebody who is a convicted cop killer, I find it, as a law enforcement officer, appalling and quite frankly disgusting as taxpayer also,” Lauer said.

The paintings were part of an exhibit to celebrate National American Indian Heritage Month.

Native Americans: DEA Seized Industrial Hemp from Sovereign Tribal Land in Wisconsin

MarijuanaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA encroached on the sovereign land of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and destroyed a large crop of industrial hemp, Native Americans said.

But the Associated Press report that federal authorities maintain the crop was illegal marijuana, some of which was being tended by non-tribal members.

In May, the tribe legalized grow operations for low-THC industrial hemp for research purposes.

Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw said he was surprised that federal authorities used “the full force of the DEA to raid our tribe.”

But the DEA characterized the marijuana as a higher grade than industrial hemp.

“The investigation into the marijuana fields revealed that individuals other than Menominee Tribe Members planted and were tending to the marijuana plants located on tribal land,” said Dennis Wichern, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division, which includes Wisconsin.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department: Indian Tribes Can Begin Selling, Growing Marijuana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Indian tribes are now allowed to grow and sell marijuana on their sovereign lands under the same federal guidelines that apply to four states where pot is legal for recreational use, the Justice Department announced Thursday, Bloomberg reports.

The Justice Department said federal laws banning marijuana will no longer be enforced.

“The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations,” said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.

The decision to legalize marijuana will ultimately fall on tribal governments.

 Stories of Other Interest