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Archive for February, 2010

Justice Dept. Opens Civil Rights Inquiry in Oregon Into Controversial Police Shooting of Black Man

portland_BadgeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has opened a civil rights inquiry into a controversial shooting in Portland, Ore, which has the black community up in arms.

The Associated Press reports that the investigators are looking into the shooting of Aaron Campbell, an African American, who was shot in the back by a white police officer “after emerging from an apartment with his hands over his head Jan. 29.”

The officer said he thought Campbell was reaching for a gun, AP reported.

U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton and Oregon’s top FBI agent Special Agent in Charge Arthur Balizan announced the preliminary inquiry on Thursday.

Ex-Pitts. U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan Shaking Up Airwaves in Her Congressional Bid

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some people seek out controversy or controversy finds them. In the case of ex-Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, who’s tenure as U.S. Attorney was filled with controversy, it’s probably both.

Buchanan, 46, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney in November, is making a bid for Congress. On Thursday, her confrontation with a local radio personality may have been a preview of what’s to come.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Buchanan got testy with radio personality Marty Griffin on KDKA-AM over statements that the failed and highly controversial prosecution of medical examiner Cyril H. Wecht during her tenure cost the taxpayers $20 million.

Wecht had called the show and mentioned the figure, according to the paper.

The paper reported  that Buchanan called the show on Thursday and told Griffin “he was ‘running afoul’ of defamation law and to ‘shut up.'”

“You repeat [the $20 million figure] and that is just flat-out wrong,” Buchanan said, according to the paper. “And you know, we still have defamation laws in this country. To the extent that you keep repeating things that are flat-out wrong, you’re running afoul. That case could not have cost the government more than $500,000 and that’s on the outside.”

“So you’re saying you’re going to sue me, is that what you’re saying Mary Beth?” the radio host Griffin shot back, according to the paper.

Ahh. Politics. Ain’t it great.

To read more click here.

Attacks on IRS and its Employees Too Common, Washington Post Reports

Maybe it’s not surprising that in an economic downturn where people are afraid of losing their money, some people who are unstable are taking their frustrations to the next level.

irs

By Ed O’Keefe
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Attacks on the Internal Revenue Service and its employees similar to Thursday’s small plane crash in Texas are common, according to federal records and investigations.

“There is a direct correlation between increased IRS enforcement efforts and the number of threats made against IRS employees,” said J. Russell George, who heads the office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. His office handled more than 1,200 threat and assault case referrals from the IRS and its employees between fiscal 2001 and 2008. The cases resulted in more than 167 indictments and at least 195 convictions, he said.

The nation’s economic downturn and Americans’ frustrations with their civic responsibilities have inspired many of the incidents, George said. The agency has stepped up enforcement efforts since Commissioner Douglas Shulman took over in 2008.

For Full Story

Retired FBI Agent Joseph Perritte Dead at Age 88

fbi-globeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Joseph L. Perritte, a retired FBI agent who ended his 30-plus year career as crypto systems unit chief of the electronics section of the FBI Laboratory, died late last month in Bethesda, Md., of prostrate cancer at age 88, the Washington Post reported.

Perritte, a resident of Silver Spring, Md, started in FBI in 1942 as a student fingerprint classifier and later went on to the FBI Laboratory, where he was assigned to the radio engineering section, the Post’s Pat Sullivan wrote.

He entered the Navy in 1944, “serving as a top-secret communications officer at the headquarters of the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii,” the Post reported. “He later was an electronics officer at the Joint Communications Activity on Guam.

After his discharge, he became a special agent in 1946 and worked primarily in communications intelligence and security, the Post reported. He retired in 1976.

Michael Morehart to Head FBI’s Richmond, Va. Office

Michael Morehart/fbi photo

Michael Morehart/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Michael Morehart, the FBI’s deputy assistant director of the Security Division at headquarters, is moving down the road to take over as special agent in charge of the Richmond division.

Morehart started as an agent in October 1986, and was first assigned to the Columbia, S.C., bureau before going to Houston, the FBI said.

In 1995, he was promoted to supervisor in the Inspection Division’s Audit Unit at FBI Headquarters. Three years, later he became a supervisor of a white collar crime squad in the Memphis Division.

In February 2001, he became the assistant special agent in charge in El Paso and three years later he returned to headquarters as chief of the Terrorist Financing Operations Section in the Counterterrorism Division.

In 2007, he was named special agent in charge of the Administrative Division for the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In 2008, he returned to FBI Headquarters as deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Security Division.

Homeland Security Officers Lost Hundreds of Weapons

gunBy Allan Lengel
For AOL NEWS

WASHINGTON — We expect the Department of Homeland Security to protect us from the evil-doers of the world — not to provide them with guns.

But an inspector general report released this week found that the Homeland Security agencies that protect our border, our airports and our president lost 289 guns in fiscal 2006 to 2008. Some were left in public bathrooms, unlocked cars and even a bowling alley and ended up in the hands of “felons, gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers” on at least 15 occasions.

“Although lost firearms account for a minor percentage of DHS’ total firearm inventory, they pose serious risk to civilians and noncivilians alike,” said the report by DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner, which recommended a number of improvements to address the issue.

To read full story click here.

Disgraced NYPD Police Chief Bernie Kerik Gets 4 Year Sentence

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Disgraced former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who became a heroic figure after the Sept. 11 attack and who almost became a member of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet, is headed off to prison.

U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson today sentenced Kerik to four years in prison on eight felonies, including lying to the White House and filing false taxes. The term, handed down in federal court in White Plains, N.Y., exceeded the 27 to 33 months the prosecution recommended under a plea agreement hammered out in November.

“I think it’s fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences,” Robinson said, according to The New York Times. “I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable.”

Kerik is scheduled to report to prison May 17. The prosecution had asked in court papers that he be remanded immediately to prison after sentencing, citing concerns he might become a fugitive.

The tough sentence probably came as little surprise to at least some who had observed Kerik’s legal problems with the judge.

For Full Story

Race Played Role in Federal Court Mistrial in Detroit — One of America’s Most Racially Divisive Cities

Sam Riddle/wdiv

Sam Riddle/wdiv

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Early last year newly minted Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. shook things up when he delivered a speech saying Americans were “cowards” when it came to race.

“Though the nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder said at the time.

On Wednesday, his federal prosecutors came smack up against the issue in Detroit, one of the nation’s most racially divisive cities, after a jury deadlocked 11-1 and a mistrial was declared in federal court in a high profile public corruption case involving Sam Riddle, an African American who had served as an aide to ex-City Council member Monica Conyers, the wife of Congressman John Conyers.

The Detroit News reported that only one juror — the only African American on the jury — refused to convict Riddle. And apparently she was not a coward when it came to raising the race issue. The News reported that she  told fellow jurors early on in deliberations that they wanted to “hang the black man.”

The prosecution plans to go for a second trial.

To read the full story click here.