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Tag: civil rights

Report on FBI’s Shooting of Ibragim Todashev Draws Critics, More Questions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Not everyone is satisfied with how the FBI handled Ibragim Todashev, a Chechen man who had ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing shooters and was killed by an agent during an alleged confession.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that state prosecutor Jeffrey Ashton and others, including civil rights groups, have some qualms with the FBI’s handling of the affair.

Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis said the 161-page report on Todashev’s death was a “whitewash,” adding, “Once again the FBI waltzes away from a mess. No harm, no foul.”

The account of Todashev’s death was finally released this week after a 10-month hold during which the FBI blocked access to the medical examiner’s report, CSM reported.

“The central question of whether the killing of Mr. Todashev was justified remains frustratingly unanswered,” Baylor Johnson, an American Civil Liberties Union spokesman, told NPR after the report was released Tuesday.

Editorial: Border Patrol Made Right Decision to Restrict Use of Deadly Force by Agents

By The Sacramento Bee
Editorial Board 

Crossing into the U.S. illegally is not a capital crime. Yet since 2010, some 20 people have been fatally shot by Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The head of the Border Patrol has taken the correct and necessary step of making clear to his agents that using deadly force should be a last resort. On Friday, Chief Michael Fisher ordered agents not to step in front of moving vehicles in order to open fire, and not to shoot at fleeing vehicles. He also directed agents to seek cover or move away from rock throwers, and not to shoot unless in imminent danger.

No doubt, agents should be able to protect themselves or the public. But it’s also clear that more intensive training is needed to make sure this reasonable policy is followed.

The new rules bring the patrol more in line with the nation’s major law enforcement departments. The changes come after scrutiny from civil rights groups and the Mexican government, and follow eye-opening reports a week earlier by Tim Johnson of McClatchy’s foreign staff and by the Los Angeles Times.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Joins Investigation After Noose, Confederate Flag Left on University Statue

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping investigate a disturbing finding – a noose and Confederate flag were found on a statue of the first black student at the University of Mississippi, the New York Times reports.

Authorities are searching for two men who are believed to have committed the act of vandalism early Sunday on the main campus in Oxford.

The men were yelling racial slurs while they men defaced the statue of James Meredith, who was admitted into the school amid violence in 1962.

“These individuals chose our university’s most visible symbol of unity and educational accessibility to express their disagreement with our values,” the university’s chancellor, Daniel W. Jones, said in a statement. “Their ideas have no place here, and our response will be an even greater commitment to promoting the values that are engraved on the statue — courage, knowledge, opportunity and perseverance.”

Mystery Behind Disappearance of Civil Rights Activist in Wounded Knee Is Revealed in FBI Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has finally confirmed that a civil rights activist who disappeared while supporting Native Americans in South Dakota four decades was murdered, the Buffalo News reports.

Roy Robinson went missing after arriving at Wounded Knee to support the American Indian Movement’s fight against the federal government.

The discovery wasn’t easy for his wife, Cheryl Robinson.

Two lawyers were forced to file Freedom of Information Act requests to access the information, which shows the FBI suspected AIM was behind the murder.

“They confirm the rumors that have been floating out there for years,” said Michael Kuzma, one of the Robinson family’s lawyers. “The only missing part of the puzzle is where Ray’s buried.”

Justice Department to Dramatically Expand Rules Aimed at Profiling by Federal Agents

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a move to address decades of concerns about the protection of civil rights, the Justice Department plans to expand its definition of racial profiling to alleviate discrimination by religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, the New York Times reports.

Although the Bush administration banned racial profiling in 2003, it provided exclusions for national security cases and Latinos for immigration probes.

Attorney General Eric Holder wants that to change, the Times wrote.

“Putting an end to this practice not only comports with the Constitution, it would put real teeth to the F.B.I.’s claims that it wants better relationships with religious minorities,” said Hina Shamsi, a national security lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

It’s unclear when the new rules will go into effect.

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.

Two Border Patrol Agents Headed to Prison for Forcing Immigrants to Eat Pot, Run Circles

Border fence along Juarez-El Paso border/istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Border Patrol agents have been sentenced to two years in prison after forcing suspected trafficking to eat marijuana and run around the Arizona desert, RT reports.

The agents, Dario Castillo, 25, and Ramon Zuniga, 31, were convicted of violating the civil rights of four  Mexican men who were in the U.S. legally.

Both agents were fired shortly after the incident.

They told authorities they were overworked at the end of a long day.

“I allowed these individuals to get the best of me that night,” Zuniga said to the judge, according to Reuters. “I’ve regretted those actions every single day for the past five years.”

FBI, Justice Department Urged to Re-Open 1985 Pipe Bombing of Arab American Group

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Civil rights supporters are calling for the FBI and Justice Department to reopen the investigation into the 1985 killing of a prominent Palestinian American leader, Democracy Now reports.

Alex Odeh was killed by a powerful pipe bomb placed at the offices of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination in Santa Ana, Calif., where he served as group’s western regional director.

The FBI’s focus was on the Jewish Defense League, according to Democracy Now.

But no one has been arrested.

“Despite 28 years of knocking on the doors of justice, we have not found it yet. Alex was a very peaceful man,” says Albert Mokhiber, former president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. “He was known as an activist, in not just the Arab-American movement and Palestinian issues, but civil rights in general.”