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Tag: police

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. 

AG Sessions Indicates Justice Department Will ‘Pull Back’ on Investigating Police Abuses

AG Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing.

AG Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The numerous federal investigations into troubled police departments under the Obama administration may be a thing of the past.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Tuesday that the federal government won’t be monitoring police departments as it had in the past.

Sessions claimed in his first speech as attorney general that the Justice Department investigations undermined police efforts nationwide.

“We need, so far as we can, in my view, help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness,” Sessions told the National Association of Attorneys General. “And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that. So we’re going to try to pull back on this, and I don’t think it’s wrong or mean or insensitive to civil rights or human rights.”

He added that the Trump administration is working “out of a concern to make the lives of people in particularly the poor communities, minority communities, live a safer, happier life so that they’re able to have their children outside and go to school in safety and they can go to the grocery store in safety and not be accosted by drug dealers and get caught in crossfires or have their children seduced into some gang.”

Sessions claimed that monitoring police departments did not help combat rising violence in some cities.

“One of the big things out there that’s, I think, causing trouble and where you see the greatest increase in violence and murders in cities is somehow, some way, we undermine the respect for our police and made, oftentimes, their job more difficult,” he said.

San Francisco Police Pull Out of FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force

ca_-_san_francisco_policeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

San Francisco police are pulling out of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force as the city continues to distance itself from the Trump administration.

Civil liberty leaders have long criticized the collaboration with the FBI because the task force authorized police to gather intelligence on people engaging in protests and religious services, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. 

Police suggested they stopped participating in the task force because the memorandum of understanding was set to expire.

“We are committed to community policing,” Deputy Chief Michael Redmond said at Wednesday’s Police Commission meeting. “We want to work collaboratively with the stakeholders when the work begins on the general orders.”

FBI Prepared to Help Chicago Combat Surge in Murders

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is prepared to help Chicago deal with the outbreak of violence in 2016, and President-elect Donald Trump said he’s prepared to listen.

Sources told Fox News that the FBI wants to help the Windy City after 3,550 people were shot and 762 murdered in 2016. 

Sean Spicer, spokesman for the Trump transition team, said the president-elect is worried about the gun violence.

“Obviously I think the President-elect would be willing to listen to anything that can be done to make sure that Americans are kept safe and if the FBI has ideas about how to do that – he would definitely be all ears to do that,” Spicer said.

In a Tweet on Monday, Trump suggested he may bring in federal help if Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel can’t solve the problem on his own.

“Chicago murder rate is record setting – 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!” Trump tweeted.

Still, Chicago is not expected to have the highest murder rate in the country. Preliminary records show Detroit and Baltimore had more shootings and murders per capita.

Honolulu Police Chief, Officers Are Under FBI Investigation in Corruption Case

Honolulu Police Department

Honolulu Police Department

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has received a target letter from the FBI, informing him that he is under investigation as part of an ongoing public corruption case.

The chief will go on restricted duty, Hawaii News Now reports. 

The FBI also sent target letters to several other officers in the department.

The letters follow a guilty plea by former police officer Niall Silva, who admitted to lying under oath about a conspiracy to frame a relative of the police chief’s wife.

His wife, a high-ranking deputy city prosecutor, is accused of lying about her uncle stealing a mailbox.