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Tag: safety

The Hill: How Body Cameras on Border Patrol Agents Could Save Lives

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Pedro Rios
The Hill

In 2010, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a husband and father of five, was handcuffed, tortured and brutally beaten to death by 12 Border Patrol agents at the San Ysidro border crossing in California. The horrifying incident witnessed by dozens of people exposed a systemic problem with the nation’s largest law enforcement agency: that Border Patrol agents operate with impunity, without meaningful accountability, and in complete opaqueness.

The abuses by agents are widespread and well documented. Since January of 2010 more than46 people have died as a result of an interaction with the Border Patrol. This past June, a woman was killed when Border Patrol agents intentionally rammed their boat into another boat carrying 20 people. In 2012, a Border Patrol agent shot 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez repeatedly in the back before he died. He was on his way to a local market to buy food staples in the Mexican city of Nogales, along the border with Arizona.

In the Hernandez Rojas case, a civilian bystander recorded the incident from the safety of an elevated pedestrian walkway. The video shows 12 Border Patrol agents, who are armed with batons and a Taser, brutally beating and tasing Rojas — who was lying on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. Six years later, not one of the 12 agents has been charged or even fired.

Hernandez Rojas’s widow, Maria Puga, is leading the movement for expanded oversight and accountability, including the demand that Border Patrol agents wear body cameras, which are a proven deterrent of abuse. A study shows that when officers wear them, the use of force plummets over 50 percent. Both civilians and officers experience fewer injuries when officers wear body cameras.

 

TSA Allows Full-Body Scans at Airports Because of Heightened Terrorism Concerns

file photo

file photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As lines grow at airports during the holidays ,TSA changed its rules to allow full-body scans, USA Today reports.

Previously, travelers were allowed to opt for a pat-down search instead.

But because of terrorism concerns, TSA announced the change Friday.

The scanners are designed to detect non-metallic objects that could be used as weapons.

“Generally, passengers undergoing screening will still have the option to decline a (full-body) screening in favor of physical screening,” said Bruce Anderson, a TSA spokesman. “However, some passengers will be required to undergo (full-body) screening if warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security.”

“This will occur in a very limited number of circumstances where enhanced screening is required,” Anderson added. “The vast majority of passengers will not be affected

Other Stories of Interest

Secret Service Takes Extraordinary Steps to Protect Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

By Seve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hotels will be equipped with bullet-proof glass. Government snipers will be placed on rooftops. And mailboxes will be removed along parade routes.

Those are among the likely safeguards taken to protect Pope Francis during his U.S. visit., International Business Times reports. 

Joseph Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, even traveled to Italy in June to prepare for the pontiff’s visit.

“Facial recognition software will definitely be being used in any area where the Pope will be,” Ronald Kessler, the author of “The First Family Detail” and “In the President’s Secret Service,” told the International Business Times. “They’ll remove mailboxes that could have explosives along parade routes, seal manhole covers, protect the underside of the popemobile and stake out evacuation areas.”

So far, authorities said there have been no credible threats.

Other Stories of Interest

Secret Service Director Disputes Claims That Pope Is Not Safe During U.S. Visit

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service director emphasized that there are no credible threats against Pope Francis during his highly anticipated trip to the U.S., just a day after agents claimed that the pope was not safe. 

“There is nothing that we’re overly concerned about,” Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said Wednesday, less than a week before the pope’s visit.

Clancy said “unprecedented” security efforts have been taken to protect the pope.

“This is definitely challenging,” Clancy still acknowledged.

“You break it down city by city, venue by venue,” he said.

Other Stories of Interest

TSA Administrator John Pistole Opens Up About Lessons Learned, Future of Agency

tsa.gov

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

TSA Administrator John Pistole knows his agency has made some mistakes after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In a candid interview with the Los Angeles Times, Pistole said the TSA’s policies are constantly evolving to protect U.S. travelers.

Last year, the TSA announced that it would allow passengers to carry small knives onto planes, but you rescinded that decision. Will you allow small knives on planes in the future?

Given the lobbying efforts against it and members of Congress weighing in against it, I decided to take it off the table as something that was not furthering our efforts to transform from a one-size-fits-all to a risk-based [system].

European airports are testing devices to analyze liquids carried by passengers for explosives. When will travelers in the U.S. be able to fly without having to toss away bottles of water, soda or other liquids?

We have over 900 what we call bottle liquid scanners that we use for such things as mother’s milk and certain medicines that are larger than 100 milliliters. We could allow any liquids to fly, but it’s a time-consuming process so we don’t have an efficient way of doing that. One of the options that we looked at is to have a dedicated lane for people who wanted to bring liquids aboard, but that might be a long line.

The TSA announced a contest recently to find new ideas to speed the passenger-screening system. Why is that such a big challenge?

Each of the 450 airports where we provide screening is unique. Most airports were built and designed pre-9/11 and security is kind of an afterthought. So we’ve tried to cobble our way into some pretty tight spaces.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Supreme Court Case Pits Protesters’ Rights to Be Heard Against Politicians

The Daily Astoria 
Editorial

Can political protests be restricted so that political leaders don’t have to listen?

This is one way of framing the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court when it considers this term whether Secret Service agents were right in ordering protesters to be removed from President George W. Bush’s sight and hearing during a 2004 visit to Jacksonville in southern Oregon.

The other main way to view the matter is whether the Secret Service has unquestionable discretion to ensure the president’s safety by keeping obvious opponents much farther away than they keep obvious supporters.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit – the second-highest level of federal court – was seriously split on this question in a decision released in February. A majority of the 28 judges ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against the agents who required protesters to be moved more than twice as far away from the president than supporters. The Obama administration, supporting the agents, asked Supreme Court justices to consider quashing the lawsuit.

To read more click here.

Justice Department, FBI: Budget Cuts Would Undermine Public Safety

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department and FBI warned Thursday that public safety is at risk if across-the-board budget cuts proceed, the Huffington Post reports.

The result would be devastating: FBI furloughs would reduce the number of cases the bureau can take; the Justice Department wouldn’t be able to prosecute as many cases; and the opening of four new prisons would be delayed, according to the Huffington Post.

“These would be cuts that impact not just DOJ employees, they would impact our citizens, and our safety, in every city and town in the country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

In the event of budget reductions, “the FBI would be required to do less in all its programs, including against al-Qaida and its affiliated groups, as well as the growing and sophisticated threats from cyberattacks, foreign intelligence and national and transnational criminal activities,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The cuts will take place if Congress and President Obama don’t find alternative reductions.

Jon Stewart Talks About the Crazy Restrictions Blocking ATF From Doing Its Job