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Tag: police

FBI: Seattle Cop Smuggled Massive Amounts of Marijuana to Baltimore

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI busted a Seattle police officer who authorities say helped smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Baltimore.

Alex Chapackdee, a 17-year veteran of the force, was arrested and was among four men charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana, the Associated Press reports. The 44-year-old office is the brother-in-;aw of the group’s alleged ringleader.

“While (it is) always disturbing to investigate one of our own, I am proud of the detectives and commanders who worked diligently on this case,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a written statement. “Officer Chapackdee’s conduct is disgraceful and disappointing. While he will have his due process in the courts, I hope these charges demonstrate to our community that SPD will not tolerate corrupt behavior in our ranks.”

According to the FBI, Chapackdee drove marijuana from Seattle to Baltimore in his recreational vehicle several times last fall. The FBI said he deposited nearly $20,000 in cash into his bank account.

Chapackdee, who is on unpaid leave, also is accused of accepting $10,000 a month from his brother-in-law to alert him to any law enforcement investigations and to keep an eye on marijuana grow operations,

Chapackdee’s attorney, David Gehrke, declined to comment on the allegations but said the charges have been difficult for him and his family, which includes a wife and four children.

“This is a huge fall from grace, an embarrassment,” Gehrke said.

The investigation was prompted by a confidential source.

FBI Says Cop Killings Are ‘the New Norm,’ Inspired by Black Lives Matter

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An internal FBI investigation concluded that the media, Black Lives Matter and politicians are to blame for the spike on attacks on police.

“Law enforcement officials believe that defiance and hostility displayed by assailants toward law enforcement appears to be the new norm,” said the internal report stamped “For Official Use Only,” The Washington Examiner reports.

On Tuesday, two Chicago cops were injured in “targeted” shootings.

The four-page report traces the spike in shootings of police back to Ferguson, where the death of Michael Brown sparked protests nationwide.

In at least a quarter of the 53 shootings that killed 60 police in 2016, the FBI found that the gunmen were targeting police to kill them. 

Justice Department Declines to Charge Baton Rouge Cops in Alton Sterling’s Death

Alton Sterling

Alton Sterling

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is expected to announce today that it has closed the investigation into the death of Alton Sterling and won’t prosecutor Baton Rouge officers for possible wrongdoing in a case that sparked unrest across the city.

Sterling’s family told the Washington Post on Tuesday that the Justice Department had not informed them of its decision. 

“We have not heard nor received an update and are unaware of any charges that may or may not be filed,” said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the Sterling family’s attorneys. “We have not received word, nor has the family been given any notice of upcoming updates regarding this case.”

Many civil rights advocates have been nervous about the direction of the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has already questioned the oversight of police departments.

The Justice Department has declined to comment.

The Washington Post wrote:

By the police account, officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake saw Sterling, 37, outside a convenience store in July after it was reported that a man had threatened someone there with a gun. Sterling, who was selling CDs outside the store, fit the description of that man, according to a search warrant affidavit in the case.

A video of the shooting shows Sterling lying on his back with two officers on top of him. One of the officers appears to yell, “He’s got a gun!” and then shots ring out. A detective wrote in the search warrant affidavit that officers had observed the butt of a gun in Sterling’s front pants pocket. At issue in the investigation was whether Sterling was reaching for the weapon, as officers claimed, when he was shot and killed.

FBI Investigating Rochester Cop Accused of Choking Handcuffed Suspect

rochester-police-patchBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a Rochester police officer after he was captured on video choking a handcuffed suspect.

The officer, a 27-year veteran whose name has not been released. was suspended with pay, the Democrat & Chronicle reports.

The FBI is trying to determine whether the civil rights of the dirt bike driver was violated by police when he was thrown to the ground following a traffic stop.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren called the video, captured by a police body camera, “disturbing.”

“It does appear the individual was handcuffed and choked,” the mayor said. ” His civil rights could have been violated.”

The Rochester office of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office “have opened a civil rights investigation into the (April 14) Rochester police department incident,” said FBI spokeswoman Maureen Dempsey.

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” she said.

The arrest happened when police were responding to a large fight in the early hours of April 14.

Council President Loretta Scott, who viewed the video, said it sounded like the suspect was struggling to breathe.

The suspect was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Judge Jails FBI Agent Who Shot at Michigan Police Officer While Drunk

Former FBI Agent Ruben Hernandez

Former FBI Agent Ruben Hernandez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who shot at a police officer in a Michigan fitness club was sentenced to 135 days in prison.

Ruben Hernandez, 35, of North Las Vegas, was in the Grand Rapids area conducting an investigation when police say he went on a drunken rampage that led to him shooting at an officer. No one was injured.

Judge Dennis Leiber ignored teams of the plea agreement, which included no jail time, and said anyone who shoots at police should be placed behind bars, the Associated Press reports. 

Hernandez, who was fired shortly after the shooting, had pleaded no contest to felonious assault.

AG Jeff Sessions Warns against ‘Harmful Federal Intrusion’ of Local Police

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Attorney General Jeff Sessions
USA Today

Violent crime is surging in American cities. To combat this wave of violence and protect our communities, we need proactive policing. Yet in some cities, such policing is diminishing — with predictably dire results.

In Chicago, arrests have fallen 36% since 2014 to the lowest level in at least 16 years. Last year, they fell in every major crime category, and they fell in every single district in the city. To put that in perspective, out of more than 500 non-fatal shootings in early 2016, only seven resulted in any sort of arrest. That’s 1%. Not surprisingly, as arrest rates plummeted in those years, the murder rate nearly doubled. Meanwhile in Baltimore, while arrests have fallen 45% in the past two years, homicides have risen 78%, and shootings have more than doubled.

Yet amid this plague of violence, too much focus has been placed on a small number of police who are bad actors rather than on criminals. And too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.

The Department of Justice agrees with the need to rebuild public confidence in law enforcement through common-sense reforms, such as de-escalation training, and we will punish any police conduct that violates civil rights. But such reforms must promote public safety and avoid harmful federal intrusion in the daily work of local police.

To read more click here.

Boulder Editorial: Justice Department Undermines Police Reforms in Numerous Cities

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Editorial Board
Boulder Daily Camera

More than a dozen cities, including Ferguson, Mo., have spent arduous months hammering out consent decrees with the U.S. Justice Department to institute much-needed police and judicial reforms aimed in large part at reducing enforcement disparities that unfairly target poor and minority communities. The cooperation of local police departments was key in reaching these agreements, which makes them partners in fixing what’s wrong.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions now proposes meddling with a cooperative formula that’s working. Last week, he ordered a review of Justice Department consent decrees and other interventions, threatening to reverse progress designed to halt the unequal application of justice around the country.

Sessions’ unfortunate decision could undermine a lot of hard work in the 25 cities whose police departments — including Ferguson’s — worked with the Obama administration’s Justice Department. In 14 cases, consent decrees were reached with federal judges serving as monitors.

These agreements are not anti-police; they are pro-Constitution. We suspect that Sessions is motivated in no small part by President Donald Trump’s drive to halt the questioning of police actions such as those in which officers are captured on video shooting or fatally restraining unarmed civilians. The White House has posted a pledge that this “will be a law and order administration,” committed to ending the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.”

 To read more click here. 

Jones: Jeff Sessions Shows No Respect for Black Lives After Consent Decree Review

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

Solomon Jones
Philadelphia Inquirer

After the recent actions of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, even the few black voters who supported Donald Trump despite his bigoted campaign rhetoric must now admit the obvious. A vote for Trump was a vote for racist policies.

Sessions’ decision to order a broad review of federal agreements with dozens of law-enforcement agencies is nothing short of an attack on black and brown people. After all, those agreements were necessitated by systemic police abuses targeting minority communities. Attempting to pull out of those agreements – most of which have already been approved in federal court – delivers an indisputable message: Black lives don’t matter to the Trump administration.

And make no mistake. This is about black lives.

That truth is not lost on activists who’ve long fought systemic police abuses targeting blacks. Few of them are surprised that Sessions – who once was denied a federal judgeship based largely on allegations of racism – is the man leading the charge.

“Jeff Sessions’ entire career in the justice system is rooted in racism and anti-blackness,” Asa Khalif, who leads Pennsylvania Black Lives Matter, told me. “If there was ever a time to rally and stand together as black people, it’s now.”

Given that Trump thanked black people for not voting after his surprising Electoral College victory, I think Khalif is right. We must stand together, because the examination of police departments across the country were spurred by high-profile police killings of unarmed African Americans. The same black people featured prominently in Justice Department reports that meticulously documented patterns of systemic police abuse.

The Obama administration compiled one such report following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died after suffering a spinal injury in a police van when officers failed to properly restrain him with seat belts. Based on interviews, documents and an extensive review of six years of data, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division concluded that the Baltimore Police Department engaged in an ongoing pattern of discrimination against African Americans.

The report minced no words in laying out the truth.

“BPD’s targeted policing of certain Baltimore neighborhoods with minimal oversight or accountability disproportionately harms African-American residents,” the report said. “Racially disparate impact is present at every stage of BPD’s enforcement actions, from the initial decision to stop individuals on Baltimore streets to searches, arrests and uses of force. These racial disparities, along with evidence suggesting intentional discrimination, erode the community trust that is critical to effective policing.”

To read more click here.