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Archive for December 11th, 2020

FBI Agent Shot and Wounded in Albuquerque While Helping Serve a Warrant

By Allan Lengel

An FBI agent was shot and wounded Friday morning while helping serve a federal search warrant in the 2700 block of 12th Street NW in Albuquerque, the FBI said.

He suffered a non-life-threatening injury.

The agent, whose name was not disclosed, was transported to UNM Hospital in stable condition. The suspect was taken into custody.

More details were not immediately available.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Mobster John Gotti

Timothy Waters Named Special Agent in Charge of Detroit Field Office

Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

Timothy Waters has been tapped to serve as special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, where he began his career with the bureau two decades ago.  

Waters, who most recently served as the deputy assistant director of the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) in Virginia, joined the FBI in 2000, working as a special agent investigating white-collar crime in the Detroit Field Office. 

Following the 9/11 attack, Waters started working counterterrorism and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to support military and intelligence community operations in 2005 and 2006.

Waters became a supervisory special agent in 2017 and led a section of Detroit’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. One of his investigations included the attempted bombing of an airplane at Metro Airport in Detroit on Christmas 2009. 

In 2010, Waters became the legal attaché in Islamabad. 

He returned to Detroit in 2011, serving as supervisor of a Joint Terrorism Task Force that focused on al Qaeda and al Qaeda-inspired terrorists.

In 2014, Waters became assistant special agent in charge of administrative matters in Detroit and was reassigned in 2016 as the assistant special agent in charge of Detroit’s National Security Branch, making him responsible for all counterterrorism, cyber, counterintelligence, and weapons of mass destruction investigations in Michigan.

In 2019, Waters began serving as the director of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, an FBI-led, multi-agency squad in charge of coordinating, integrating, and sharing cyber threat information. 

Earlier this year, he was named deputy assistant director of CIRG, where he helped lead the FBI’s response to critical incidents worldwide.

Before joining the FBI, Waters served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army for eight years. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

ATF Agent Sues Columbus Police Department, Accusing Officers of Excessive Force

By Steve Neavling

An ATF agent has sued the Columbus Police Department and two of its officers who he says used excessive force against him while he was on a “routine” assignment.

The federal lawsuit alleges the two officers pointed guns at Agent James Burk, tasered him, and placed him in the back of a cruiser on July 7, even though his ATF ID cart was around his neck and his credentials in his pocket, The Columbus Dispatch reports

Burk, a 16-year veteran of the ATF, said he was working in his official capacity when he knocked on the door of a home to seize a gun from someone who was not permitted to possess a firearm.  

A person inside the home called 911 when Burk knocked on the door. The caller refused to answer the door and read Burk’s badge number to the dispatcher, who advised the person to not answer the door while police officers Joseph Fihe and Kevin Winchell were dispatched to the scene. 

“When Fihe arrived at the scene, Agent Burk stood outside the home’s front door and waved the officer over to where he was standing,” the lawsuit states. “Even though Agent Burk had both hands raised and had represented that he is a federal agent, officer Fihe immediately drew his weapon and pointed it … while simultaneously screaming at (Burk) to get on the ground.”

As Burk told the officers his credentials were in his pocket, they pointed their guns at him and “climbed on his back while violently twisting and pulling his arms to handcuff him.”

According to the lawsuit, Burk was not resisting when he was tasered and placed in the back of the police car. 

Burk was released after about an hour.  

“Agent Burk acted lawfully and posed no immediate threat to officers Fihe and Winchell or anyone else,” the lawsuit said. “Agent Burk did not resist the officers, attempt to flee from their custody or display any physical aggressiveness towards them.” 

After suffering physical and psychological injuries, Burk was placed on an administrative role within ATF. 

The police department declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation. 

Supreme Court Says Muslim Placed on No-Fly List May Sue FBI agents for Damages

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that three Muslim men may sue individual FBI agents for damages after they were placed or kept on the government’s no-fly list because they refused to become government informants. 

In a unanimous decision, the court wrote that Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah and Naveed Shinwari, who are U.S. residents and were never suspected of illegal activity, may seek damages under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, USA Today reports.

“A person whose exercise of religion has been unlawfully burdened may ‘obtain appropriate relief against a government,'” Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, quoting the federal law and saying the term ‘government’ extends to individual officials.

“A damages remedy is not just ‘appropriate’ relief as viewed through the lens of suits against government employees. It is also the only form of relief that can remedy some (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) violations,” Thomas wrote.

The men were eventually removed from the no-fly list but said they lost income, as well as money spent on airline tickets. 

It’s just the latest case in which the Supreme Court recently defended religious freedom.