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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department Blasts Police for Violating Rights During Ferguson Protests

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Justice Department blasted the police response to the Ferguson protests and riots, saying police violated free-speech rights, antagonized and intimidated crowds with military-style tactics and protected officers from being held accountable, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The police were accused of “vague and arbitrary” orders to force protesters to move, which “violated citizens’ right to assembly and free speech,” according to a DOJ reported to be issued soon.

“Had law enforcement released information on the officer-involved shooting in a timely manner and continued the information flow as it became available, community distrust and media skepticism would most likely have been lessened,” according to the document.

The report also said police sometimes indiscriminately used tear gas.

The DOJ also suggested that police stop using dogs for crowd control because it antagonized and scared protesters.

The full report, which is still being finalized, contains about 45 “findings” with recommendations for improvements.

Other Stories of Interest


Justice Department Opens Hate Crime Investigation into Church Shooting

Dylann Roof

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department will investigate the motivations and facts behind the shooting that left nine dead at a historic black church in South Carolina.

Reuters reports that Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday that the department has opened a hate-crime investigation.

“We will now be looking at all of the facts, all of the motivations all the things that led this individual – if he is in fact the shooter – to commit this crime. And we will determine which is the best ways in which to prosecute the case,” Lynch told reporters at a news conference in Washington.

It has not yet been determined whether the case will be a state or federal one.

The suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was arrested and accused in the shooting.

Help on Way for Alabama Prison Where Female Inmates Raped, Beaten

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with the state of Alabama to undergo monitoring and serious reforms following years of complaints about female inmates being sexually assaulted by corrections staff, the Washington Post reports.

An investigation by the Justice Department found that female inmates lived in a “toxic environment” at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., where they have been raped and sodomized.

Prison officials even organized a “strip show” with female prisoners and watched the women use the toilet

Women who complained of the abuse were punished, according to the Justice Department

“Prisoners are entitled to be safe from sexual predation by staff, and to live in an environment free from sexual assault, sexual harassment and the constant fear of these abuses,” said Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The agreement requires the prison to install a “state-of-the-art camera system,” train staff and implement a program to track and analyze complaints.

Other Stories of Interest


Justice Department Slams FIFA with 47-Count Indictment

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has unleashed a widespread assault on suspected corruption within FIFA and other soccer organizations on Wednesday.

The National Journal reports that the Justice Department unsealed a 47-count indictment that includes racketeering, corruptions and conspiracy.

The indictment outlines 12 different schemes over the past 25 years. One includes a plot to tampering with bidding in the 2010 World Cup.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the crimes were a betrayal to fans.

“Many of the individuals and organizations we will describe today were entrusted with keeping soccer open and accessible to all,” she said. “They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest and to protect the integrity of the game. Instead they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves.”

 

Columnist: Justice Department Must Start Jailing Criminal Bankers

 

By Laurence Kotlikoff
Forbes Contributor

People of little means in our country are routinely being incarcerated for minor crimes. Meanwhile, big-time criminals engaging in major financial crimes that effectively involve the theft of billions of dollars from the public aren’t being prosecuted. Today we learned of yet another huge settlement by five of the largest banks operating in our country. The list includes JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland,and UBS.

Each of these banks admitted to engaging in criminal activity. But banks don’t commit crimes. People working for banks commit crime. And when people working for banks commit crime, it’s the responsibility of our Justice Department to indict them. If our Justice Department can’t figure this out, the personnel running our Justice Department need to be fired. That’s the President’s job. So the big question here — today’s fine is $5.6 billions, so we can say the billion dollar question here is why the President continues to give Wall Street criminals a pass?

Does his political party need Wall Street contributions this much? I voted for President Obama, but this truly makes me sick to my stomach. The same is surely true of any decent American reading this article. And this is not just a matter of elemental justice. It’s also vital to the economy’s future well being. We are operating a faith-based banking system with full opacity. No one can learn how his money is really being used or misused. The government, which should be heavily involved in fully disclosing on a real-time basis what each financial corporation owns and owes is doing nothing of the kind. Instead, the Dodd-Frank bill has not only left faith-based banking in full swing. But it’s also permitted banks to continue operating with extremely high levels of leverage.

To read more click here. 

Justice Department Public Integrity Section Gets New Leader

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s powerful Public Integrity section, which investigates politicians and judges, has a new leader, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

U.S. Attorney Jack Smith, who has been a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, brings a wealth of background and knowledge to the position. Smith was a criminal prosecutor, for example, in the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

Smith has tapped a top deputy – Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Raymond Husler, who has been acting chief of the Public Integrity section.

The Washington Post has more.

President of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI Addresses Controversy Over FBI Labs and Hair Analysis

Ellen Glasser

By Ellen Glasser
President, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI
Throughout its history, the FBI has accepted its responsibility to serve and protect the American people. At times, this responsibility draws intense scrutiny. As former agents, we understand and accept such scrutiny because we know the public trust is earned.
 
Last week, the FBI acknowledged preliminary results of an ongoing and transparent effort to address historical issues related to scientific testimony by FBI Laboratory examiners. The FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ), along with the Innocence Project (IP) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), issued an historic, joint statement on the ongoing review of pre-2000 cases involving Microscopic Hair Comparison Analysis. The statement reported that, in approximately 500 cases reviewed thus far, scientific testimony in a high percentage of trial transcripts contained erroneous statements.

The FBI has made every effort to be on the leading edge of scientific advancements and to set a worldwide example of excellence to other crime laboratories. Notwithstanding the need to make improvements based on the stated findings, any reasonable scrutiny should consider advances in science, historical context, and the criteria used to categorize error.

Before 2000, prosecutors routinely relied on microscopic hair comparison to link criminal defendants to crimes. In 1996, the FBI Laboratory developed and implemented mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, in conjunction with probative hair analysis, because it was clearly the most effective protocol for the forensic examination of hair, and it provided a more meaningful association than either technique used alone. Thereafter, mtDNA testing became standard to analyze hair in criminal cases. It is important to note that the advent of mtDNA testing did not – and does not – negate the validity of Microscopic Hair Comparison Analysis. The latter technique is still used by the FBI Laboratory, and the science of microscopic hair comparisons has never been in question.

Using broad criteria that all parties could agree on, the review largely focused on whether examiner testimony regarding microscopic hair comparison analysis met accepted scientific standards. In trial settings, examiners are qualified as expert witnesses based on their experience. Because the science was not in question, many of the statements were identified in testimony where the experience of examiners may have been used to extrapolate statistical probabilities.

The FBI’s reputation as the premier law enforcement agency in the world is earned every day. The dedicated men and women of the FBI Laboratory have had an undeniable positive impact on public safety. In performing and testifying to countless forensic examinations, they have helped the cause of victims and helped to render justice. Improvements that will result from this review will strengthen our criminal justice system and reinforce public trust in the FBI.

 

Baltimore Mayor Asks for Full-Scale Civil Rights Investigation of Police Department

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In an unusual move for a city, Baltimore’s mayor is asking for a full-scale civil rights investigation into alleged abuse within the police department following a riot over the police-involved death of Freddie Gray and other black suspects.

“We all know that Baltimore continues to have a fractured relationship between the police and the community,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, reports the Baltimore Sun. “I’m willing to do what it takes to reform my department.”

Spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Attorney General Loretta Lynch “is actively considering that option in light of what she heard from law enforcement, city officials and community, faith and youth leaders in Baltimore.”

The Justice Department has conducted investigations of police departments in 20 cities, including Cleveland and New Orleans.

The investigations typically take 18 to 24 months.