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Tag: DOJ

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.

 

Justice Department: More than 40 FBI Agents Conducting Investigation in Ferguson

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that more than 40 FBI agent are investigating the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed white teen who was shot by an officer in Ferguson.

Holder issued the following statement Monday after President Obama held a briefing.

“As I informed the President this afternoon, the full resources of the Department of Justice are being committed to our federal civil rights investigation into the death of Michael Brown.

“During the day today, more than 40 FBI agents continued their canvassing of the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot. As a result of this investigative work, several new interviews have already been conducted.

“Moreover, at my direction, an additional medical examination is being performed on the body of Michael Brown. This autopsy is being performed today by one of the most experienced medical examiners in the United States military. I am confident this additional autopsy will be thorough and aid in our investigation.

“In addition to updating the President on these developments, I informed him of my plan to personally travel to Ferguson Wednesday. I intend to meet with FBI investigators, and prosecutors on the ground from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office officials about the ongoing investigation.

“I realize there is tremendous interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown’s death, but I ask for the public’s patience as we conduct this investigation. The selective release of sensitive information that we have seen in this case so far is troubling to me. No matter how others pursue their own separate inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of its investigation. This is a critical step in restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson, but beyond.

“In order to truly begin the process of healing, we must also see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Those who have been peacefully demonstrating should join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters and others seeking to enflame tensions.

“To assist on this front, the Department will be dispatching additional representatives from the Community Relations Service, including Director Grande Lum, to Ferguson. These officials will continue to convene stakeholders whose cooperation is critical to keeping the peace. Furthermore, as the President has announced, Ron Davis, our Director of the COPS office, will arrive on the ground in Ferguson Tuesday. Ron has been in touch with local and state officials since last week, providing technical assistance on crowd control techniques and facilitating communications between Missouri officials and other law enforcement officials whose communities have faced similar challenges in the past.”

Two Influential Senators Demand to See Report on Protections for FBI Whistleblowers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two powerful U.S. senators are getting impatient with a long overdue Justice Department report that is supposed to examine the effectiveness of the FBI’s whistleblower protections for bureau employees.

The Oregonian reports that Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed frustration that the report has not yet been released, even though Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged to deliver a report by April 8, 2013.

Holder submitted the report in June, but no one has turned it over.

“Whistleblowers play a critical role in holding the government and its employees accountable,” Wyden wrote in a joint news release with Grassley. “The FBI has had special rules for its own employees for decades that desperately need to be updated. It’s important for the Justice Department to explain whether they will fix this on their own, or if Congress needs to step in.”

14 Pulitzer Prize Winners Ask Justice Department Not to Jail Reporter

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than a dozen Pulitzer Prize winners urged the Justice Department on Monday to stop trying to force New York Times reporter and author James Risen to identify a confidential source, the US News reports.

Risen has said he’d go to jail before testifying at the trial of former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of providing a tip for Risen’s book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

Prosecutors allege Risen divulged a CIA scheme to provide flawed nuclear weapons designs to Iran.

Fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners issued a statement in support of Risen.

“Enough is enough,” said three-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow of The New York Times. “The relentless and by all appearances vindictive effort by two administrations to force Jim Risen into betraying his sources has already done substantial and lasting damage to journalism in the United States. I’ve felt the chill firsthand. Trusted sources in Washington are scared to talk by telephone, or by email, or even to meet for coffee, regardless of whether the subject touches on national security or not.”

Justice Department Finds Rampant Abuse at New York City Youth Jails

Photo by Tim Rodenberg - Flickr: Rikers Island Jail.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New York City’s juvenile jails are rife with abuse, and the constitutional rights of teenagers are often trampled by guards, according to a newly released Justice Department report.

The Associated Press reports that the federal investigation revealed “rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force” at Rikers Island juvenile jail facilities for teenagers ages 16 to 18.

The problems were numerous, from poor training to the overuse of solitary confinement.

“It is a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort; where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries; where beatings are routine while accountability is rare; and where a culture of violence endures even while a code of silence prevails,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at a news conference.

Mexican Man Extradited in Connection to Slaying of Border Patrol Agent

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mexican man wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent has been extradited to the U.S., Reuters reports.

Ivan Soto-Barraza is accused of killing Agent Brian Terry in 2010 during a gun battle near the Mexican border in Arizona.

Soto-Barraza and five others have been charged in the death. Two remain on the loose.

“This marks another step forward in our aggressive pursuit of those responsible for the murder of Agent Brian Terry, who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.

The death of Terry drew outrage after it was discovered that one of the guns recovered at the scene was traced back to a botched trafficking probe by the ATF.

Federal Review: FBI Lab Rife with Forensic Flaws in 1980s, 1990s

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department have found serious problems at the bureau’s lab that raise serious questions about the guilt or innocence of several thousand people who have been convicted, the Washington Post reports.

The investigation began after the Washington Post exposed flawed evidence two years involving microscopic hair matches.

“I don’t know whether history is repeating itself, but clearly the [latest] report doesn’t give anyone a sense of confidence that the work of the examiners whose conduct was first publicly questioned in 1997 was reviewed as diligently and promptly as it needed to be,” said Michael R. Bromwich, who was inspector general from 1994 to 1999 and is now a partner at the Goodwin Procter law firm.

The review of the cases was halted last year, the FBI said, because of a “vigorous debate that occurred within the FBI and DOJ about the appropriate scientific standards we should apply when reviewing FBI lab examiner testimony — many years after the fact.”

The investigations resumed this month.

“Working closely with DOJ, we have resolved those issues and are moving forward with the transcript review for the remaining cases,” the FBI said.

Blistering Human Rights Report: FBI Pushed Muslims to Plot Terrorist Attacks

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department used questionable tactics to identify and prosecute terrorism suspects, a new human rights report offers, the Washington Post reports.

Human Rights Watch offered a scathing assessment of the FBI and Justice Department, which are accused of injecting fear into some Muslim communities because of the use of surveillance and informants.

The report, which follows a lengthy examination of U.S. terrorism prosecutions, says feds have targeted people with mental and physical disabilities, using tactics that critics decry as entrapment.

“The report clearly shows, in many respects, the American public is being sold a false bill of goods,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “To be sure, the threat of terrorism is real,” she said. “But in many of the cases we documented, there was no threat until the FBI showed up and helped turn people into terrorists.”

The Justice Department defended its record.

“The Department of Justice has been a steadfast ally of our nation’s civil rights groups for decades,” Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman, said. “The report itself acknowledges that the legal process used in the cases it highlighted is not only lawful but is also specifically approved by federal judges. . . . We do not and cannot target individuals solely for engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, which includes free speech and religion.”