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Federal Authorities Search for Human Smuggler Who Assaulted Border Patrol Agent

Martel Valencia-Cortez

Martel Valencia-Cortez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are on the hunt for a human smuggler who struck a Border Patrol agent in the face in southern California, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. 

Authorities were moving in on a suspected smuggler who was helping 14 people navigate the hazardous terrain near Carries Mountain near Jacumba on Sunday night.

The suspect, Martel Valencia-Cortez, 39, is accused of throwing a large rock at Border Patrol agents, striking one of them in the face.

Valencia-Cortez returned fire but didn’t appear to injure him as he fled toward Mexico.

Agents arrested and interviewed the 14 people who were with Valencia-Cortez.

AG Lynch Says No Data Supports FBI Director’s Comments on ‘Ferguson Effect’

camera policeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Loretta Lynch joined the debate over the so-called “Ferguson effect,” saying there’s no data to show that crime is on the rise because of criticism over police tactics, CNN reports. 

“While certainly there might be anecdotal evidence there, as all have noted, there’s no data to support it,” Lynch said in an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The comments come a month after FBI Director James Comey said officers were reluctant to enforce the law at times because of viral videos of cops making arrests.

“In today’s YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns?” he asked in a speech at the University of Chicago Law School, his alma mater.

“I don’t know whether this explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year. And that wind is surely changing behavior.”

Lynch’s comments were similar to President Obama’s administration.

“The available evidence at this point does not support the notion that law enforcement officers are shying away from fulfilling their responsibilities,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a daily briefing soon after Comey’s remarks.

“The evidence we’ve seen so far doesn’t support the contention that law enforcement officials are somehow shirking their responsibility, and in fact you’ve seen law enforcement leaders across the country indicating that’s not what’s taking place,” he said.

FBI Investigates Deadly Police Shooting in Minneapolis After It’s Ruled a Homicide

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A deadly Minneapolis police shooting over the weekend that set off angry protests will be investigated by the FBI, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A scuffle between police and Jamar Clark, 24, ended with an officer shot him in the head.

The county medical examiner has ruled the shooting a homicide.

Protesters claim that Clark was shot while in handcuffs, but police dispute that.

The incident happened after Clark was suspected of assaulting an unidentified woman. He’s accused of interfering with paramedics who were treating the alleged victim.

Los Angeles Times: Border Patrol Appears to Be Using Stalling Tactics with Body Cameras

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

To assure the public of their commitment to transparency and accountability, many law enforcement agencies across the country — including the Los Angeles Police Department — have embraced body-worn cameras with admirable rapidity. However, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, the U.S. Border Patrol, is moving so slowly to adopt this new technology that it appears not to be moving at all.

In August, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection working group completed a yearlong feasibility study of body cameras at the request of Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. The group did an adequate job of outlining the pitfalls of having Border Patrol agents wear cameras (resistance by the officers, privacy concerns and cost, among other things) and the benefits (decreased use-of-force incidents, better record-keeping and improved safety of officers).

No surprises there. Police agencies, including the LAPD, made similar cost-benefit analyses as they prepared to roll out their programs. And while tricky, none of the policy challenges has proved insurmountable. Meanwhile, studies over the last year have found that when police wear body cameras and record video of interactions with suspects, it really does influence the behavior of officers and suspects alike, and dramatically reduces use-of-force incidents. Today, many police chiefs, civil rights groups and even the president are praising body cameras as an essential law enforcement tool that makes everyone safer.

This made Kerlikowske’s announcement last week that even more review of body cameras was still necessary all the more suspect. Was this just a stalling tactic by a department not committed to transparency?

To read more click here. 

Investigation: Secret Service Employees Improperly Accessed Data to Embarrass a Critic

Jason Chaffetz

Rep. Jason Chaffetz

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An internal Homeland Security investigation found that Secret Service employees improperly accessed a database 60 times in search of information that would embarrass House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, NBC News reports. 

Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth discussed the investigation at a joint House-Senate hearing Tuesday.

The information was accessed between March 24 and April 2.

“Knowledge of Chairman Chaffetz’s application was widespread and was fueled and confirmed by improper access to the Secret Service database at issue,” Roth said.

Chaffetz is a frequent critics of the agency, which appeared to be the motive behind embarrassing him.

The Secret Service apologized to the Utah Republican last month.

Other Stories of Interest

Chicago’s Departing Internal Watchdog Turned Over Records to FBI

Seal_of_Chicago,_IllinoisBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Another city hall scandal in Chicago?

The FBI last week picked up the computers and files of departing Legislative Inspector General Faisal Kahn.

Kahn, who served as the council’s internal watchdog, forwarded complaints that are “criminal in nature” to outside agencies, including the FBI, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

Kahn would not elaborate.

“I don’t know if and when these cases will result in charges,” Khan said. “I simply would like to see them resolved appropriately, and then the public can see what exactly the (office of legislative inspector general) worked on and what the results of those investigations are.”

Kahn’s four-year term ended Monday, and the council has yet to replace him.

It remained unclear Tuesday what the subject of the investigation was.

Justice Department Gets Tougher on Corporate Crime

wall-streetBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is turning up the heat on corporations.

On Monday, the Justice Department notified federal prosecutors that there is no immunity for corporations that don’t disclose all relevant facts about employees involved in an investigation, Reuters reports. 

“In the past, cooperation credit was a sliding scale of sorts and companies could still receive at least some credit for cooperation, even if they failed to fully disclose all facts about individuals,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said in prepared remarks at an American Bar Association conference on money laundering.

“That’s changed now.”

The Justice Department appears to be bending to pressure by advocacy groups that have accused the federal government of going easy on corporations involved in wrongdoing.

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Calls for War Against Islamic State

Sen. Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Monday that the he supports going to war against Islamic State, the USA Today reports. 

Sen. Ron Johnson also called President Obama’s approach naive because of the global threat posed by the terrorist organization.

“It’s high time that we make a commitment in the world that Islamic terrorists have got to be wiped off the face of the planet,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a telephone interview. “Because if we don’t, every day that ISIS survives, every day that they are not overtly losing, they are perceived as winners and perceived as winning and they’ll continue to inspire adherents to this barbarity.”

Johnson supports a global coalition, like the one used by former President George H.W. Bush to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

“It’s not a perfect solution, but you have to start at the head: We’ve got to destroy the caliphate, which means we’ve got to take back the territory, because a caliphate does not exist without the territory,” he said.

Other Stories of Interest