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Tag: civil rights

History Indicates Justice Department Will Have Challenge Landing Prosecution in Ferguson Shooting

Michael Brown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

What are the chances of the Justice Department landing a criminal prosecution in the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson?

It won’t be easy, the Associated Press reports.

Dozens of FBI agents are in Ferguson, interviewing potential witnesses.

The Justice Department must meet a difficult standard of proof. To prove their case, they need to convince a judge or jury that the officer acted not only with excessive force but willfully violated Michael Brown’s constitutional rights.

“It’s a very difficult standard to meet, and it really is satisfied only in the most egregious cases,” said University of Michigan law professor Samuel Bagenstos, the former No. 2 official in the department’s civil rights division. “Criminal enforcement of constitutional rights is not something that is easily pursued. It really requires building a case very carefully, very painstakingly.”

What still remains unclear is what was happening when the officer pulled the trigger.

FBI Has Potentially Damning Recording of Moment Michael Brown Shot Dead in Ferguson

Michael Brown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents investigating the shooting death of an unarmed teen in Ferguson were handed a potentially damning recording of the encounter with an officer, the Daily Mail reports.

The audio captures at least 11 shots, with a pause after seven of them.

“There sounds like a pause in it (the audio). And when you hear that pause it brings some concern,” said retired Chief Deputy US Marshall Matthew Fog after listening on CNN.

“It is very significant, because if you have a pause there it means somebody had time to think and then fire again.”
A voice in the audio can be heard saying, “You’re so pretty,” before 11 gunshots ring out.

An attorney for the unidentified man with the recording said the audio, if authentic, shows a clear “point of contemplation” while shooting.

Attorney General Eric Holder Expresses Sympathy for Black Americans Who Distrust Law Enforcement

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder understands why many black Americans distrust police , he said in Ferguson where protesters have been rallying since an officer shot an unarmed black teen, Fox News reports.

Holder met with about 50 community members to talk about law enforcement issues.

Holder said his trip was meant to reinforce that the federal government is concerned about civil rights issues.

“I understand that mistrust,” Holder said. “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”

Holder relayed a story of being stopped twice and having his car searched.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” Holder said.

 

FBI Opens Civil Rights Investigation of Fatal Shooting By Cops of Unarmed Teen

The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation to determine what prompted a police officer to shoot an unarmed blacked teenager in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday afternoon.

The New York Times reports the inquiry into Michael Brown’s death came on the third day of protests. Ferguson, a city of 21,000 residents, has a history of racial issues. Although black people make up a majority of the residents, the local government and police are predominately white.

When the all-white school board suspended a black superintendent, protests broke out.

“The community is still highly segregated,” said Karen Knodt, interim pastor of the Immanuel United Church of Christ, whose congregation has 800 members, only four of whom are black. “The institutions of power don’t yet reflect the changing demographics of the county.”

The city also has been under a Justice Department investigation following claims of racial disparities for juveniles in Family Court.

 

Weekend Series on Crime History: LBJ Talks to J. Edgar Hoover About Mississippi Civil Rights Workers’ Murders in 1964

FBI Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Opening of Civil Rights Office in Mississippi

President Johnson

President Johnson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As violence against black people continued after signing the Civil Rights Act in July 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson turned to the FBI for help.

The New York Times reports that Johnson urged then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to open the first office dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Americans.

The FBI on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening.

Officials and civil rights leaders said a lot has changed in the bureau since then.

“We saw the F.B.I. only as an institution set to keep people of color down,” said Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, the Mississippi civil rights leader killed the summer before the office opened said. “One that was not a friend, but one that was a foe. And I stand before you today saying that I am proud to say I see the F.B.I. as playing the role they did, and finally in my mind, and my heart reaching the point where I can say, friend.”

6 Los Angeles County Officials Convicted in Federal Jail Probe Involving FBI Informant

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Six members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were found guilty Tuesday of attempting to interfere with a civil rights investigation into the county jails, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The two lieutenants, two sergeants and two deputies face up to 15 years in prison after the jury found them guilty of trying to hide an informant from FBI agents during an investigation into a jail scandal.

Attorneys for the defendants said they were only following orders from superiors.

One of the jurors interviewed after the trial said he believed the sheriff’s officials were following commands but crossed the line.

“At a certain point there are things you can’t do,” said the juror, a truck driver who lives in the Crenshaw district but would identify himself only as Ron.

The conviction is a big victory for prosecutors as they delve deeper into the jail investigation.

Jackson FBI’s First Black Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen Plans Retirement Just Short of Office’s 50th Anniversary

Daniel McMullen/FBI photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Daniel McMullen, the first black special agent in charge of Jackson’s FBI office, has announced his retirement.

“As a person with an interest in history itself and the history of the civil rights movement and an understanding of where Mississippi was in the history of civil rights, I find it very interesting now that I am where I am,” he said recently, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

The Jackson field office, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in July, was reestablished following the deaths of civil rights workers James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

“From being a student of history, reading about these historical figures, and then to meet them,” McMullen said. “Charles and Myrlie Evers, Gov. William Winter, James Meredith. Some of the Freedom Riders I’ve met — there are so many folks that lived it, and to hear what the world was like back then, and the multiple narratives about the role of the FBI. Where you stand on the issues definitely depends on where you sit.”

But McMullen, who also worked in New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, went far beyond civil rights issues. One case involved the kidnapping of Alexandria and Kyliyah Bain in 2012 and tracking down the man responsible – Adam Mayes.

“He was one of our top 10 fugitives,” McMullen said. “That provided a tremendous example of how law enforcement can cooperate in response to a critical incident.”

Correction: In an earlier version, Daniel McMullen’s name was spelled incorrectly.