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Tag: racism

Trump Allies: Mueller’s Grand Jury Is Unfair Because It’s Predominately Black

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The sputtering campaign to discredit the Trump-Russia investigation opened up a new line of attack – the demographics of the grand jury charged with handing down indictments for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

An unnamed Trump associate and witness who “recently testified” grumbled to a New York Post columnist that the grand jury was mostly African American and looked like “a Black Lives Matter rally.” 

The only white man in the room was a prosecutor.

“The grand jury room looks like a Bernie Sanders rally,” the source said. “Maybe they found these jurors in central casting, or at a Black Lives Matter rally in Berkeley.”

Eleven of the 2o jurors are black and two were wearing “peace T-shirts,” making it impossible for Trump to get “a fair shake,” the witness complained.

Following the New York Post column, Fox & Friends c0-host Brian Kilmeade joined the attack.

The grand jury is “not even emblematic of something that might be, perhaps, demographically pursuing justice,” Kilmeade said.

The demographic makeup should be no surprise. The grand jury meets Fridays in Washington D.C., where nearly half of the residents are black.

Since Mueller impaneled the grand jury in August, it has handed down indictments against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates on charges of money laundering and conspiracy and failing to register as foreign agents.

As the investigation intensifies, so too do the attacks. Trump has referred to the probe as a political “witch hunt.”

ATF Under Fire for Controversial Stings Primarily Targeting African Americans

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF stings have come under fire because they’re predominately targeting African Americans and prompting allegations of racial profiling and entrapment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the ATF has “convinced hundreds of would-be robbers across the country that they were stealing large quantities of narcotics, only to find out the drugs were a figment of the government’s imagination.” 

Because of mandatory federal sentencing laws, suspects caught up in the controversial stings are spending decades or even life behind bars, even though the drugs never existed.

The Tribune wrote:

Now the legal battle is coming to a head in an unprecedented hearing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago before a panel of nine district judges overseeing a dozen separate cases involving more than 40 defendants.

The hearing, which has been four years in the making, will take place over two days in the courthouse’s large ceremonial courtroom. As many as 30 defendants, their relatives and individual attorneys are expected to attend, and an overflow courtroom has been set up to handle the anticipated crowd.

“In my 46 years of practicing law, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” attorney Richard Kling, who represents one of the defendants, told the Chicago Tribune this week.

The testimony will focus on dueling experts who reached starkly different conclusions about the racial breakdown of targets in the stash house cases.

A nationally renowned expert hired by the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School — which is spearheading the effort to have the cases dismissed — concluded that disparity between minority and white defendants in the stings was so large that there was “a zero percent likelihood” it happened by chance.

Other Stories of Interest

Congressional Black Caucus Grills FBI Director over ‘Black Identity Extremists’ Report

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Black members of Congress confronted FBI Director Christopher Wray over a report that says the bureau is targeting so-called “Black Identity Extremists”over fears of violence against law enforcement.

The Congressional Black Caucus met with Wray for nearly two hours  to discuss concerns about the ambiguous report, which echoed the rhetoric used by the FBI to spy on black activists in the 1960s and 70s.

Rep. Hakeen Jeffries, D-N.Y., told the New York Times that Wray had trouble defending the report and could not identify a black identity extremist group. 

“He was asked to publicly clarify that there is no scintilla of evidence, as far as we can tell, to provide an example of the black identity extremist movement or any groups that fall in that category,” Jeffries said. “That clarification should be made publicly, it seems to many of us, and not privately behind closed doors.”

Elected leaders and civil rights activists have voiced concerns about the intent of the report and whether it was meant to chill free speech.

“The F.B.I. is linking disparate conduct and unconnected groups to come up with a manufactured black race-based ideology for suspicion and investigation,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “We’ve seen this kind of shoddy analysis and bias-based conclusions all too often, applied to African-Americans, Muslim-Americans, environmental activists and others.”

Shamsi added, “The F.B.I. has a critical role in protecting civil liberties, but it routinely undermines them by unjustifiably and unfairly targeting minorities and those who dissent.”

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted he never read the report and couldn’t name a single black identity extremist group.

African Americans were subjected to illegal FBI surveillance in the 1960s and 70s because of similar rhetoric under a subversive program called COINTELPRO.

FBI Asked to Investigative Fatal Police Shooting of Black Man from Behind

Body cam footage of the shooting death of Patrick Harmon.

Body cam footage of the shooting death of Patrick Harmon.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Utah prosecutor is urging the FBI to investigate a white police officer who shot and killed a black man who was stopped on his bicycle for crossing traffic without the required rear light.

Dramatic body cam footage of the Aug. 13 shooting shows Salt Lake Police Officer Clinton Fox yelling, “I’ll (expletive) shoot you” before firing his gun at 50-year-old Patrick Harmon from behind.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the shooting was justified, saying Harmon initially turned toward officers after threatening he had a knife, which was not discernible in the video. A knife was later found at the scene, according to police.

But Harmon’s family and civil rights activists applauded the decision to involve the FBI, saying the district attorney should resign for defending the officer.

FBI Agent: Driver Won’t Be Charged with Domestic Terrorism in Death of Protester

James Fields is accused of driving into a group of anti-racists, killing one person and injuring many more.

James Fields is accused of driving into a group of anti-racists, killing one person and injuring many more.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent said the Ohio man who plowed into protesters in Charlottesville, Va., will not face domestic terrorism charges because federal law does not outline penalties.

Special Agent Thomas F. O’Connor made the statement in an op-ed piece published Thursday by the Hill, saying Congress should change the statute to give it some teeth.

“Congress should amend the U.S. Code to make domestic terrorism a crime subject to specific penalties that apply irrespective of the weapon or target involved in the crime,” O’Connor wrote. “Specifically, this legislation should make it a crime for a person to commit, attempt, or conspire to commit an act of violence intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence government policy or conduct.” 

O’Connor was not speaking on behalf of the investigation of James Alex Fields Jr., who faces life in prison on a state charge of second-degree murder. Police said he intentionally plowed into protesters during an anti-racism rally on Aug. 12, killing 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer.

FBI Tracking Down People Seen with James Field Before Fatal Charlottesville Attack

Suspect James Fields

Suspect James Fields

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to track down people who saw or talked with James Fields before he drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, killing one person and injuring many more.

Surveillance video from a gas station near the crash site show Fields with several people, reports Daily Progress

A worker at a nearby Wendy’s told the FBI that she had witnessed a group of neo-Nazis attack a man in the restaurant’s parking lot before the fatal crash.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when Fields’ car slammed into the crowd.

AG Sessions: Car Attack in Charlottesville ‘Does Meet the Definition of Domestic Terrorism’

Suspect James Alex Fields

Suspect James Alex Fields

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this morning that an Ohio driver who plunged into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., “does meet the definition of domestic terrorism.”

The driver, 20-year-old James Fields, killed one person and injured 19 others.

“It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute,” Sessions said on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” today. “We are pursuing it in the (Justice Department) in every way that we can make a case.”

Sessions said the driver could be charged with more serious, federal charges.

“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack,” he said. “Terrorism investigators from the FBI are working on the case as well as civil rights division FBI agents.”

The car slammed into a group of people protesting white supremacists who turned up in droves to protest the planned removal of a statue of a Confederate general.

FBI Investigating If Fatal Stabbing of Black College Student Was Racially Motivated

Richard Collins, right, Sean Urbanski, left.

Richard Collins, right, Sean Urbanski, left.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the fatal stabbing of a black college student in Maryland after it was discovered the white suspect belonged to a racist Facebook group called “Alt-Reich.”

ABC News reports that 22-year-old Sean Urbanski, a student at University of Maryland, has been charged in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Richard Collins III, who was a U.S. Army officer.  

Calling the attack random and “totally unprovoked,” the university police requested the FBI’s assistance.

“New information obtained today from witnesses and other sources has led law enforcement officials to consider a hate-bias motive in this case,” University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said in a statement Sunday. “To ensure a comprehensive investigation, UMPD today asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide technical and forensic expertise, which it agreed to do.“

Collins, who was set to graduate from Bowie State University on Tuesday, was visiting UMD campus when he was stabbed by Urbanski, an apparent stranger.