Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

October 2014
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for October, 2014

Why Do We Have Trigger-Happy Police, Trigger Shy Secret Service?

By Farah Stockman
Boston Globe

Here’s a quiz: Which crime is more likely to get you shot to death?

A) Scaling the fence outside the White House, with a knife;

B) Jaywalking in Ferguson, Mo., unarmed.

The answer, of course, is B, at least if you’re a black man. And it’s not just in Ferguson. In South Carolina, a state trooper pulled over 35-year-old Levar Jones for a seat belt violation, but shot himas he reached for his license. (Jones survived.) In Ohio, police killed 22-year-old John Crawford III in Wal-mart for carrying a pellet gun he had picked up off the store’s shelf. In Utah, police questioned 22-year-old Darrien Hunt outside a shopping mall because he was carrying a replica of a samurai sword. Moments later, they shot him to death, in the back. And that’s just in the past eight weeks.

It’s worth mentioning that these incidents all took place in small cities with almost no violent crime. Saratoga Springs, Utah, for instance, hasn’t seen a murder since 2010. Ferguson averages a little over one homicide a year. So why are police in those places so skittish? So quick to use deadly force? By the same token, why is the Secret Service so reluctant to do so?

According to Samuel Walker, professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the answer lies in the way law enforcement agents are trained to interact with the public. Too often, instead of deescalating conflict, police do just the opposite.

“Officers traditionally respond to disrespect or perceived challenges to their authority by stepping up their use of force,” he said. “It’s called ‘contempt of cop.’ Here in Omaha, if you are stopped by the police, you don’t ask a question. It will escalate up to where you are out of the car and under arrest.”

That’s how an officer trying to give jaywalking citations in Seattle ended up breaking a guy’s nose. The pedestrian didn’t feel he had done anything wrong, and refused to stop. The officer got physical. The Department of Justice investigated, and found a pattern of low-level offenses turning into excessive use of force in Seattle. Racial distrust can make that dynamic even worse.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Arrests American at Chicago Airport As He Tries to Travel to Join Islamic State

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 19-year-old man at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport as he was trying to leave the country to join Islamic State, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Mohammed Hamzah Khan was boarding a plane to Vienna, where he was going to catch a flight to Istansbul, according to the FBI complaint.

Investigators said they found evidence on Khan that supported allegations that he was planning to join the extremist fighters. Among the evidence was a three-page letter in which Khan said he had an obligation to “migrate” to Islamic State and that he angry that his tax dollars were being used to kill fellow Muslims.

The arrest comes less than a week after the FBI said it has the identities of about a dozen Americans who are fighting alongside Islamic State.

Texas Tech University Investigating Alleged ‘Border Patrol’ Party with Offensive Costumes

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Texas Tech University is trying to get to the bottom of racist photos that allegedly show members of a sorority preparing for a “Border Patrol” party with two women posing as immigrants with sombreros and ponchos, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

The photos depict two women dressed as police officers “arresting” the posing immigrants.

The university is investigating Zeta Tau Alpha.

The sorority’s national representatives insist only one Zeta Tau Alpha member was involved and denied there was a “Border Patrol” party.

“We have already addressed the terribly insensitive decisions displayed in these photos with our member and apologize on her behalf for the offense she caused,” said Heather Kirk, director of education and communications for Zeta Tau Alpha’s national headquarters.

 

FBI Director Names Donald Alway As New Special Agent in Charge of Jackson Division

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has a new special agent in charge of the Jackson Division.

MS News Now reports that FBI Director James B. Comey named to the post Donald Alway, who began his career with the FBI in 1996 when he was first assigned to investigate drug violations in the Los Angeles Division.

Since then, he worked counterterrorism and supervised a Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York.

Alway also investigated Iraq under former leader Saddam Hussein when he worked for the Regime Crimes Task Force.

In 2011, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Cincinnati Division.

Congressional Watchdogs Consider Removing Secret Service from Homeland Security Department

secret service photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hoping to address low morale and security blunders at the Secret Service, some congressional watchdogs are proposing to limit the agency’s role of protecting the president, Time reports.

Perhaps most important, the proposal includes removing Secret Service from the Department of Homeland Security, which has struggled as a giant bureaucracy.

“Long-term, the 60,000 foot view, there are some who are very critical of the switch that the Secret Service went through after 9/11,” says Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a top member of the House Oversight Committee. “That seems to have changed the dynamic and made it much more political as opposed to security-driven. And I think long-term that’s something we might explore is the structure of having it within Homeland Security.”

The discussions come after the resignation of Director Julia Pierson and the release of a study that showed Homeland Security employees had the lowest morale of all 19 large agencies surveyed.

“I think the counterfeiting role really probably belongs in Treasury,” says Connolly. “The protection and investigation role I think might make sense in DHS but I do think we have to have a thorough review about the missions and whether they continue to make sense. Are they compatible? Do they detract from one another?”

More mild reforms call for increasing funding and the number of employees.

“I don’t know if moving it out of DHS [would work],” says Mickey Nelson, a 28 year-veteran of the Secret Service who retired in 2012. “Then where would you move it, logically speaking? But I think that should be part of the review.”

Opinion: Secret Service Agents Could Learn a Lot from ‘Independence Day’ Movie

By David Horsey
The Baltimore Sun
Secret Service agents should go to the movies more often. At least since the 1996 sci-fi film, “Independence Day,” in which an alien spaceship the size of Los Angeles incinerates the White House, attacks on the lovely old executive mansion have been a recurring cinematic theme.

Last year, two movies with remarkably similar plots featured lone men saving the president and what was left of his official home. In “White House Down,” the hero is a Washington, D.C. cop with aspirations to be a Secret Service agent who fights off a band of domestic terrorists. In “Olympus Has Fallen,” the hero is a desk-bound Secret Service agent who battles a horde of nasty North Koreans. In both films, the villains employ an arsenal of weapons and elaborate tactics to gain entrance to the White House.

Who knew that all they really needed to do was jump the fence and walk through the unlocked front door?

Last week, the director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, turned in her resignation following revelations of several security breaches at the White House and on presidential outings. She quit just a day after being grilled by the always-cinematic Darrell Issa and a supporting cast on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The California Republican and committee chair manwanted to know how Omar Gonzalez, a troubled Army veteran with a knife, got past rings of security and into the Green Room on the first floor of the White House before he was tackled by Secret Service agents.

“An intruder walked in the front door of the White House,” Mr. Issa said prior to hazing Ms. Pierson. “That is amazing — and unacceptable.”

Another committee Republican, Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, wanted to know why agents did not simply shoot the guy while he was still outside the mansion. The congressman was frustrated by Ms. Pierson’s clinical answers to questions about when agents are authorized to use force. He insisted that the rule should be clear to both agents and would-be invaders: “You make a run and a dash at the White House, we’re going to take you down.”

Both Messrs. Issa and Chaffetz criticized the agency for lauding the “tremendous restraint” exhibited by the agents who chased the intruder. Clearly, they would prefer Secret Service agents to be more like Channing Tatum and Gerard Butler, the bold, trigger-squeezing action stars of the White House attack movies.

Maybe the response would have been different had the First Family been in residence at the time of the intrusion. Still, the manner in which Mr. Gonzalez was taken down is not as troubling as the ease with which he got as far as he did.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

 

FBI Director: Roughly a Dozen Americans Fighting with Extremists in Syria

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said he knows the identities of roughly a dozen Americans fighting alongside terrorists in Syria, Bloomberg reports.

Comey said the bureau is prepared to track the U.S. citizens if they return.

“Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back,” Comey said in a taped interview for CBS’s “60 Minutes” program airing Monday.

“So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with American passport, wants to come back, we will track them very carefully,” he said

Last month, Defense Secretary Church Hagel estimated there were more than a 100 citizens fighting with ISIL forces. The Pentagon responded that there may be 100 U.S. residents inside Syria, but only about a dozen are fighting with terrorists.

Federal Appeals Court to Decide Whether FBI’s National Security Letters Are Constitutional

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal appeals court is expected to decide soon whether the FBI’s “national security letters” are constitutional, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

The letters are a demand for customer information in terrorism-related cases, allowing the FBI to obtain information without a warrant.

San Francisco U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled last year that the letters violate the First Amendment because they prohibit recipients from disclosing that they’ve received one.

The 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals is reviewing the case.

“The gag order says you not only have to turn over the information, but you can’t complain about it,” said UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh.