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Archive for October, 2012

Column: Suburban Detroit’s Phantom Shooter Triggers Memories of My Days in D.C. and the Beltway Snipers

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– A week ago, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard in suburban Detroit spoke about some crazed person who’s been going around shooting at cars.

What struck a chord with me in particular is what he said about D.C. : “We don’t want anything to develop that certainly developed in the Washington area and paralyzed that area, rightfully so and understandably so for a long time.”

I was living in Washington in October 2002 when two snipers killed 10 people and seriously wounded three others in the region. People were terrified, afraid to fill up their gas tanks. People were afraid to sit near the window at the place I got my haircut at on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park, just north of Georgetown. In public, you were really forced to be little paranoid.

Thankfully, in this case here, no one has been hurt so far. But the potential is certainly there. Some bullets have come awfully close in the 22 incidents that were reported last week in Oakland, Livingston and Ingham counties. Most involved the gunman shooting at cars.

John Allen Muhammad

Hunting for shooters like this can be a daunting task. In the D.C. case, scores of FBI, ATF and Secret Service agents and deputy U.S. Marshals were on the hunt, along with police departments including D.C., Prince George’s and Montgomery County.

The ordeal lasted about three weeks. It was a long three weeks.

I worked day and night on the story as a reporter for the Washington Post — along with about 30 other reporters. Day and night authorities tried to figure out who was doing this.

There were blunders on the part of law enforcement. There were false assumptions. There were little turf battles. But there was also some first-rate investigative work.

To read more click here.

 

Ex-FBI Agent Convicted of Vehicular Manslaughter and Drunken Driving

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A suburban D.C. jury on Thursday found a former FBI agent guilty of  driving drunk and plowing into the side of another car, which killed a teenager and seriously injured another in Prince George’s County, Md.,  the Washington Post reports.

Adrian Johnson, who was off duty at the time of the crash,  was found guilty of motor vehicle manslaughter and six related charges in connection with the crash.

Johnson faces up to 13 years in prison.

Johnson resigned from the FBI shortly after the crash. His attorney said he plans to appeal.

 

Undersheriff Accused of Tipping Off Suspect in Large Marijuana Shipment

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 An undersheriff in Illinois is accused of tipping off a business owner about a  DEA investigation into  the shipment of more than 60,000 pounds of marijuana, the Daily Herald reports.

A sergeant at the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office leveled the accusations against Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, who is running for sheriff in 2014, the Herald reported.

Zinke dismissed the complaint as false.

“The complaint against me is not only erroneous and without merit, it also puts DEA officers in jeopardy during their ongoing investigation of narcotic trafficking,” Zinke said in a prepared statement earlier this week, the Herald reported. “Our office has fully cooperated with the DEA’s office for several years and will continue to do so.”

Zinke, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, declined to comment further.

A judge next week may decide whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate.

ACLU Sues U.S. Customs and Border Protection Over Ban on Photographing Border Crossings

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ACLU filed suit against the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency over a policy prohibiting the use of cameras and video recorders near U.S. crossing points, the ACLU announced on its site Thursday.

The ACLU said the policy violates the constitutional rights of citizens to take pictures.

The suit alleges the agency already deleted photos taken by two separate people – one of whom was documenting pollution at the border, and the other of whom was photographing potential abuse.

“The courts have been quite clear and consistent on the fact that photography is a First Amendment right, but apparently word has not reached the Customs and Border Protection agency,” the ACLU says in a press release.

Click here to see a copy of the lawsuit.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST


NYC Police Officer Charged in Detailed Rape, Cannibalism Plot

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The plot was as disturbing as it was precise.

The FBI said they discovered detailed records of at least 100 women’s height, weight, dates of birth and bra sizes at the home of a New York police officer.

Turns out, the list was part of a gruesome plot to kidnap, rape, cook and eat women, the FBI said, the New York Daily News reports.

Officer Gilberto Valle was charged Thursday with kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorized use of law enforcement records, the Associated Press reported.

His defense attorney dismissed the allegations as fantasy.

Valle was busted by his estranged wife, who tipped off authorities of him boasting about this plans online, according to the AP.

FBI Probes Letters Designed to Scare Florida Voters from the Voting Polls

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The FBI is investigating potential voter intimidation after official-looking letters questioning people’s eligibility to vote began turning up in mailboxes in at least  28 Florida counties, NBC News reports.

“We’re taking it as a serious situation,” David Couvertier, a spokesman for the FBI in Tampa, told NBC News on Wednesday. “We’re looking at everything from civil rights violations to election fraud — to everything in between.”

The letters, which began arriving Friday under the real names of Florida county election supervisors, raise questions about recipients’ citizenship status.

The letter threatens arrest for people who cast a ballot and aren’t eligible.

Florida is a critical battleground state in the 2012 presidential election.

Border Patrol Agent Settles Whistleblower Retaliation Claim Over Comments About Port Angeles Station

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who said he and his family were subjected to “ugly harassment” by federal officials in retaliation for complaining that the Port Angeles station is wasting resources reached a settlement with the agency, the Associated Press reports.

Christian Sanchez settled with Border Patrol over his whistleblower retaliation claim during mediation by the Office of Special Counsel, the AP reported.

Border Patrol officials declined to divulge details of the settlement, saying the terms were confidential.

Sanchez apparently ruffled feathers when he told the Sunlight Foundation Advisory Committee on Transparency in July 2011 that the Port Angeles station is a “black hole” with “no purpose, no mission.”

ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu Reinstated While Federal Board Investigates His Case

Vince Cefalu

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The ATF special agent who was fired recently after blowing the whistle on the failed gun-running operation, Fast and Furious returned to his job, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.

Vince Cefalu is back on the payroll for at least 45 days while the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which oversees federal employment issues, examines the case, the Journal reported.

The request to temporarily reinstate Cefalu came the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigator.

Giving ATF officials five days to comply, the board ordered the agency to “reinstate Mr. Cefalu to his position of Criminal Investigator, with the same duties and responsibilities in effect immediately prior to his removal,” according to the Journal.

The agency maintains Cefalu was fired for “lack of candor.”