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Tag: Missouri

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.

Opinion: Justice Department Needs to Oversee Substantial Reforms in Ferguson

Michael Brown

 By William Yeomans
Reuters 

The tragic killing of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson has brought to the surface long-simmering tensions between the Ferguson Police Department and the Missouri community it serves. In the shooting’s immediate aftermath, the focus has been on whether Wilson will be prosecuted criminally and convicted for the shooting. In the longer term, however, the focus must ultimately turn to a broader agenda, including substantial reforms in the Ferguson Police Department if it is to regain the full trust and confidence of the community.

After Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to the St. Louis suburb on Wednesday, he vowed that the Justice Department would stay involved to help heal the relationship between the police department and the public.  While many of the essential facts of the encounter between Brown and Wilson remain unknown, we do know that criminal convictions of police officers for shooting people are few and far between. The killing of Brown may turn out to be the rare incident that results in a criminal conviction by state or federal prosecutors, but statistics suggest that outcome is unlikely.

So what more can Holder and the Justice Department do?  Fortunately, whatever the outcome of the criminal process, they still have important tools at their disposal.

One crucial order of business will be to identify any credible allegations that the Ferguson Police Department used excessive force or other unconstitutional practices in responding to the demonstrations. The department’s frightening display of heavy weaponry established that it overreacted to peaceful protests, as did itsheavy-handed treatment of the press.  It will be essential to launch investigations into the credible allegations and pursue criminal prosecutions if any are appropriate.

The collection of these incidents, as well as incidents in the relatively recent past, will serve a second purpose. The attorney general has authority to investigate and file suit against a police department that has engaged in a pattern of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal laws. The investigation leading to such a suit can include an in-depth examination of the Ferguson Police Department’s use of force, its conduct in searches, surveillance and making arrests (including allegations of racial profiling and other bias) and its procedures for training, supervising and disciplining officers.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


 

Missouri Governor Sends in National Guard to Ferguson After Violence Breaks out During Protests

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As violence erupted in Ferguson during protests overnight, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard in hopes of avoiding more looting and shootings, the USA Today reports.

The order comes after another clash between police and protesters.

Police reported dodging bullets and Molotov cocktails Sunday night and early Monday morning. No serious injuries were reported.

Nixon said the idea behind the National Guard is to “help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson.”

“Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk,” a statement from Nixon’s office said.

“These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes.”

FBI Worried About New Black Panther Party’s Presence in Ferguson, Missouri

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has warned that the New Black Panther Party may be advocating violence in Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by police, KTVI reports.

Among the members of the NBPP who were in town to respond to the shooting was Chawn Kweli, national chief of staff for the group.

On his Facebook page, Kweli posted, “This is the hour all the greats promised.  If you die, die like a warrior.  I’ll see you on the ground.”

The group is not affiliated with the original Black Panther Party.

Police shot tear gas and smoke bombs at demonstrators and the media early Thursday morning.

FBI Agent Who Combats Child Porn Charged with Assaulting Teen at Missouri Home

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who works on a task force to combat child porn in Missouri has been charged with assault for allegedly choking a 13-year-old boy until he became unconscious, the Riverfront Times reports.

Special Agent Scott Armstrong, 37, is due back in court Tuesday after pleading not guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault charges.

Armstrong works with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department Cyber Crimes Task Force to combat child porn.

It’s unclear why the child was at Armstrong’s home, but police said Armstrong strangled  the boy until “temporary unconsciousness.”

In his probable cause statement, Armstrong admitted to “placing his arm around” the teen’s neck until he lost consciousness.

Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey said the FBI never contacted him about the assault.

“The FBI never did contact me,” Carey said. “I wasn’t happy about that.”

NAACP: Launch Federal Investigation of Racist Rodeo Clown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The NAACP isn’t clowning around.

The group is outraged after a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair donned a mask of President Obama while an announcer riled up the crowed by suggesting that the bull should run down the clown, Opposing Views reports.

“The activities at the Missouri State Fair targeting and inciting violence against our president are serious and warrant a full review by both the Secret Service and the Justice Department,” NAACP State President Mary Ratliff said in a statement. “Incidents involving individuals acting out with extreme violent behavior in movie theaters, schools, churches, political appearances and outdoor events in general speaks volume to the irresponsible behavior of all the parties involved with the incendiary events at the Missouri State Fair.”

Turns out, the clown had been banned for life from rodeos.

The controversy has prompted the resignation of the head of Missouri’s rodeo-clown organization.

A Missouri Man Fooled by a Computer Virus Tipped Off Police about Child Porn on His Computer

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A Missouri man was so spooked by an Internet scam that he tipped off police about child porn on his computer, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

Police say the unnamed man, who is now under investigation, panicked when he received an alert that the FBI wanted $200 to unlock his computer to search for porn.

Not knowing the alert was part of a computer virus, the man called police and said he believed there was porn on his computer that he had tried to delete in the past, according to the News-Leader.

When he took the computer into the police department for a look, cops said they found 20 images and a video of child porn.

FBI Probing Rape Threats Against U.S. Rep. Akins

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and U.S. Capitol Police are investigating rape and death against U.S. Rep. Todd Akins, his staff and his family, Reuters reports.

A spokesman for the Missouri Republican confirmed the investigation.

“There have been threats of rape of staff, (of) the congressman’s family and the congressman himself, and suggestions that people should die,” spokesman Steve Taylor told Reuters.

Akins, who is trying to unseat an incumbent Democrat in November, caught widespread criticism, including from his own party, when he said pregnancies are rare during “legitimate” rape because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Neither the FBI nor the Capitol Police would comment on the case.