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Tag: transparency

Los Angeles Times: Border Patrol Needs to Move More Quickly with Body Cameras

Border Patrol

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times 

To assure the public of their commitment to transparency and accountability, many law enforcement agencies across the country have embraced body-worn cameras with admirable rapidity. However, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, the U.S. Border Patrol, is moving so slowly to adopt this new technology that it appears not to be moving at all.

In August, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection working group completed a yearlong feasibility study of body cameras at the request of Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske. The group did an adequate job of outlining the pitfalls of having Border Patrol agents wear cameras (resistance by the officers, privacy concerns and cost, among other things) and the benefits (decreased use-of-force incidents, better record-keeping and improved safety of officers).

No surprises there. Police agencies made similar cost-benefit analyses as they prepared to roll out their programs. And while tricky, none of the policy challenges has proved insurmountable. Meanwhile, studies over the past year have found that when police wear body cameras and record video of interactions with suspects, it really does influence the behavior of officers and suspects alike, and dramatically reduces use-of-force incidents.

This made Kerlikowske’s announcement last week that even more review of body cameras was still necessary all the more suspect. Was this just a stalling tactic by a department not committed to transparency?

To read more click here.  

Other Stories of Interest

Arizona Republic: More Transparency Is Required to Keep Border Patrol Honest

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Editorial Board
Arizona Republic

Cops and the public should demand high standards from law enforcement. Why? Because high standards foster community confidence and cooperation. Both are necessary to good police work.

That’s especially important for Customs and Border Protection, which is charged with protecting the integrity of our ports and borders.

Why? Because what CBP does is a matter of national security. The agency’s actions need to be professional, transparent and in accord with our national commitment to human rights.

But the lack of transparency about use of deadly force at CBP, the nation’s largest law-enforcement agency, is a disturbing theme that is illustrated by three recent developments.

The first involves the trial of Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz, who is charged with killing 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez three years ago by shooting through the border fence into Nogales, Sonora.

In granting a delay in the trial, U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins issued a protection order for at least two videos of the incident that CBP has previously refused to release, despite Freedom of Information requests from The Arizona Republic.

The agent shot the teen, who was allegedly throwing rocks, at least 10 times in the back and head. Witnesses say the boy was just walking down the street. The videos could help reveal the truth, but CBP stonewalled and now the public will have to wait even longer to know the truth.

Arizona Republic research found that on-duty Border Patrol and Customs officers have killed at least 53 people since 2005, including 15 Americans. The officers involved rarely faced consequences.

Agent Swartz is only the third Border Patrol agent prosecuted since 2005 and the first to be charged by the Justice Department. The others were not convicted in local prosecutions.

To read more click here. 

CBP, Border Patrol Fail to Deliver on Promise to Be Transparent About Shootings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection pledged to become more transparent and accountable when it comes to agents using deadly force, but the USA Today reports that the agency is struggling to meet that promise.

At least 46 people – 16 of whom were Americans – have been killed by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers were on duty.

Then CBP’s acting internal affairs chief, Mark Alan Morgan, told reporters that he doubts any of the agents or officers were were disciplined in the deaths.

The USA Today rattles of a list of suspicious cases, including an unarmed teen shot in the back and agents shooting through a border fence in Mexico.

Despite the existence of a study on the issues, CBP kept it a secret for 15 months before it was leaked to the media.

“It just boggles my mind that DHS would hide this information,” said Wong, the retired CBP assistant deputy commissioner for internal affairs. “We’re not talking about terrorist activities or national security; we’re talking about things the American public should be aware of, should have access to. For them to say we can’t tell you how many people have been investigated for excessive use of force, well, I don’t understand the rationale.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Film ‘1971’ Depicts Improbable Break-In at FBI Office By ‘Eight Ordinary Citizens’

 

The film “1971,” which documents a group’s break-in of an FBI office in a Philadelphia suburb on March 8, 1971, has received both critical and audience praise at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

They stole every document to expose the FBI, under the autocratic leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, for widespread surveillance of the American people.

At the first screening of the festival on April 19, the thunderous ovations for the eight subjects of the film were extraordinary,” wrote Dade Hayes, contributor for Forbes. “I have covered — and done PR for — almost every edition of the festival and I can’t remember many scenes quite like it.”

The true-life story, which also is a book, depicts the eight buglers as everyday people, many of them raising families.

FBI Used Drones to Investigate Dog Fighting, Drug Trafficking, But Mum on Other Flights

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI uses controversial drone technology in the U.S. but has refused to identify how often agents deploy the unmanned planes.

Motherboard.com reports that the obscurity of the drone missions has irked privacy advocates.

But now, some of the missions have come to light thanks to documents obtained by MuckRock.

The FBI has used drones to investigate dog fighting operations and drug trafficking and to search for some of the bureau’s 10 most wanted fugitives.

Unfortunately for transparency advocates, the records don’t indicate details of a lot of other cases.

Arizona Republic Editorial: Don’t think Border Patrol Impacts You? Arizona Republic Spells Out Reasons To Care

 
 
By Editorial Board 
The Arizona Republic

You might shrug off concerns about how the Border Patrol operates. After all, it’s just the border. Migrants. Smugglers. Lawbreakers.

It’s not about you and me.

Well, yes it is.

We hold police to high standards to protect everyone’s civil rights. Exempting the nation’s largest police force undermines decades of work to increase the professionalism of your local cops. What’s more, the lethal power of the Border Patrol is not limited to migrants and smugglers.

They’ve killed citizens, too.

A lack of transparency and accountability raises red flags about human rights and public safety.

It raises questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of an agency that has grown rapidly in recent years and would double in size under the Senate’s immigration reform plan.

To read more click here.

Anger Over NSA Surveillance Could Lead to Broad Changes in Intelligence Gathering

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Is the intelligence community on the verge of a major shakeup?

Maybe so, the USA Today reports.

As public pressure builds against the NSA over more revelations over international and domestic spying, lawmakers are considering major overhauls.

“It is time for serious and meaningful reforms so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. “Modest transparency and oversight provisions are not enough. We need real reform.”

FBI Asked Father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden to Meet Son in Russia

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI has urged the father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden to visit his son in Moscow, BBC reports.

But Lon Snowden said he’s not going anywhere until the FBI divulges its intentions.

Speaking to Russian state TV, Snowden said he’s worried his son won’t get a fair trial in the U.S.

Lon Snowden said he’d stay in Russia if he were his son.

“Edward, I hope you are watching this,” Lon Snowden said in the interview.

“Your family is well. We love you. We hope you are healthy, we hope you are well, I hope to see you soon, but most of all I want you to be safe. I want you to find a safe haven.”

Edward Snowden remains in a Russian airport in legal limbo.