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FBI

Black Friday Gun Sales Are So Popular They Crash the FBI’s Background Check System

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Record gun sales on Black Friday this year caused the FBI’s background check system to crash twice, ABC News reports.

The FBI checked 154,873 backgrounds, a 20% spike over last year.

“The call centers experienced two short outages – one of 14 minutes and one of 18 minutes,” FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer told ABC News.

Background checks are required to determine whether the buyer has mental issues, felonies or other red flags for gun ownership.

The glitch, however, did not cause major delays, ABC New reported.

FBI Documents: Ex-Boston Mayor Kevin White Was Targeted for Payoff Schemes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Recently uncovered FBI files on former Boston Mayor Kevin White show his administration was the target of a federal corruption probe in the 1970s, the Boston Globe reports.

Among the claims, which never led to charges, were that White pressured businesses to donate money in exchange for work in the city.

The documents largely detail alleged payoff schemes, the Globe reported.

A memo to the FBI director stated prosecutors didn’t believe evidence was “solid enough” to level charges.

DEA Agents Find Crack-Smoking Doctor in Filthy House

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DEA agents are used to low-life criminals.

But during a raid this week in a New York house riddled with needles and crack, agents found Dr. Daniel Gillick, a 62-year-old emergency room doctor, lighting up a crack pipe with a young female companion, Buffalo News reports.

Gillick’s status as a doctor prompted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to speed up the case.

“This is a public safety concern,” Dale M. Kasprzyk, agent in charge of the regional DEA office, told the Buffalo News. “We wanted to cut off any possible access to hospitals, prescriptions and prescription drugs as soon as possible. … We want to make sure this doctor was using good judgment and was using proper medical procedures in treating his patients.”

Gillick was appeared in court Wednesday on a charge of crack cocaine possession, the Buffalo News reported.

STORIES OF OTHER INTERESTS

Santa’s Helper, a Giant Elf, a Cuban Inmate Uprising and the Salvation Army

 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

This is a Christmas story, but it really began just before Thanksgiving in 1987, at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta.

The Cuban inmates had rioted and had taken control of a sizeable portion of the penitentiary. The catalyst for the riots happened years before that in 1980.

The Mariel boatlift, a massive exodus of Cuban refugees from Cuba to the US, had among its refugees, convicted criminals. Fidel Castro had apparently thought the boatlift was an opportune time to decrease his prison over-crowding.

Upon arrival in the US those Cubans who were determined to be criminals were detained and placed in US penitentiaries with no clear plan as to what to do with them in the long term.

This uncertain future led predictably to unrest and ultimately to the prison riots.

When the inmates rioted and took control of part of the Atlanta Penitentiary, they also took some of the staff hostage.

The FBI was tasked with negotiating with the inmates and providing SWAT teams should it become necessary to retake control of the penitentiary by force and rescue the hostages.

SWAT teams from many of the large offices were called to respond to Atlanta. Our Detroit team was one of those teams.

So on a cold, rainy November night, an Air Force C-141, flying a circuit, landed at Detroit Metro Airport to pick up our team. Already on board were teams from Pittsburgh and Cleveland. We arrived in Atlanta early the next morning.

The Atlanta Penitentiary is a foreboding place. It was built in phases beginning in the late 1800s, into the first few decades of the 1900s.

It has 60-foot walls with watch towers on each corner. Upon our arrival we climbed to the top of one of the watch towers and looked down into the prison yard. It looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” movie.

Inmates were walking around the yard, all carrying homemade weapons: long-knives, swords, etc., made from scrap metal and sharpened on some of the prison machine tools.

After seeing that scene, we all assumed we were going to be in Atlanta for awhile. We knew we would prevail if it came to having to use force. After all they had made the critical tactical mistake of bringing knives to a gun fight. But they had hostages and a large supply of non-perishable food in their control.

The next morning I was walking to the Penitentiary administration building for the shift change briefing when I saw a tent where free coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts were being served. It was the Salvation Army tent. The Salvation Army was there every day of the insurrection including Thanksgiving serving coffee, donuts, smiles and kind words. I’ve been on a lot of SWAT operations, but I had never been offered coffee, donuts or kind words from the neighborhood in which we were operating.

Knowing the Salvation Army was there for us, had me thinking that I owed this selfless organization a debt – a pay it forward kind of thing.

The penitentiary insurrection was resolved peacefully after about two weeks. The key factor was that no social order was developed among the inmates just anarchy. They went through several months food supply in days. (There are a lot of good stories from the “siege” of the Atlanta Penitentiary, but those can be told another time.) We all went back to our respective homes.

I didn’t forget the Salvation Army’s generosity. I decided every holiday season for a few hours, I would volunteer to ring the bell and tend the red kettle in my hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Some years later, I was ringing the bell at a local super market with my wife. We had both donned our Santa hats and were wearing the Salvation Army issue red vests. It was snowing lightly, the Christmas lights were shining and Christmas carols were playing on the stores PA system.

We were at one door of the store greeting shoppers and collecting donations in our kettle, when all of a sudden there was a commotion at the other door.

A man ran out of the store. He was closely followed by two other men in white butcher smocks. The men in the smocks tackled the man in the parking lot. They were trying to hold him down, but he was struggling & screaming as they pulled several cuts of meat from under his coat. The erstwhile meat thief continued to yell, flail and kick.

I turned to my wife and said, “I should probably go help them.” I kept flex-cuffs (large heavy duty zip-ties) in my car. I grabbed some flex-cuffs, walked over and knelt next to the struggling man.

He was facing away from me. In my “soothing,” authoritative voice, that I used for arrests and reading someone their rights, I told him, we could let him up, but he needed to let me put these cuffs on him.

The man turned his head to look at me, and his eyes got very big.

I’m about 6’4” and weighed about 235 lbs. I had forgotten I was wearing a Santa hat and a big red vest. After staring at me for a few moments, he asked, “who are you?” I smiled and replied, “I’m Santa’s helper.”

He immediately stopped fighting and struggling. He submissively allowed me to place the cuffs on him. The butchers and I stood him up, and he placidly waited for the police to arrive.

I have often thought there might be some profound Dickens type message to be derived from this incident. I don’t know if the meat thief was stealing prime rib for his family, sort of a protein version of Jean Valjean, or maybe he was planning to host a barbecue at a homeless enclave.

There is certainly some irony in collecting donations for the Salvation Army at one door of a grocery store, and at the same time, to have an economically disadvantaged meat thief fleeing from the other door.

Maybe the message is as simple as, if you’re poor and hungry at Christmas time, there are places other than your local grocery store you can go that care, like the Salvation Army.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This column first ran last Christmas season. 

FBI Probes Dozens of Bomb Threats that Shut Down Buildings in 30 Tennessee Counties

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a rash of telephone bomb threats to buildings in 30 counties in Tennessee, Reuters reports.

Public facilities such as courthouses were shut down Tuesday following the threats.

“There were no devices found,” Dayla Qualls, spokeswoman for the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security, told Reuters.

Among the targets were the FBI and Criminal Justice Center in Memphis, both of which were evacuated.

Officials are trying to determine whether the bomb threats are tied to others around the country.

“We are working with the other divisions of the FBI in the other affected states to make a determination if there is a connection,” and if that is found the FBI will investigate any violations of federal law, said Joel Siskovic, spokesman for the FBI in Memphis.

FBI Busts Menacing Trio in Loan-Sharking Ring in Brooklyn

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An unlikely alliance between gangsters and the mafia was discovered by the FBI during an investigation of a loan-sharking ring, the New York Post reports.

The newspaper wrote that the Brooklyn-based FBI arrested purported Gambino crime family member James Ferrara, alleged Westies gang member Daniel Hanley and reputed Demon Knights motorcycle gangster Peter Kanakis.

The FBI says the trifecta were running a menacing, illegal outfit.

“Allegedly members of three different organized crime enterprises, these defendants nevertheless banded together and spoke the same language of violence, threats and intimidation to their victims. Such tactics will always be met with the full force of the law,” US Attorney Loretta Lynch said.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Terror Suspects Claim FBI Agents Assaulted Them During Interrogation

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four men accused of killing 76 people who were watching a 2010 World Cup soccer game on TV in Uganda claim FBI agents beat them up during questioning, the Huffington Post reports.

The suspects were punched, kicked and ridiculed, according to complaints to the Open Society Justice Initiative, an international rights group.

The FBI denies the charges.

“The FBI is responsible for investigating overseas terrorist attacks against U.S. persons or U.S. institutions. When investigating cases overseas, all FBI personnel operate within the guidelines established by the Attorney General as well as all other applicable laws, policies and regulations,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told the Huffington Post

The allegations are under investigation.

Retired FBI Agent Mark Stephen Jimerson Dies at Age 59

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

 Mark Stephen Jimerson, a retired  FBI supervisory special agent, died last Thursday at his home in Mitchellville, Md., from a brain-related cancer. He was was 59.

In February 1985, Jimerson  was assigned to the FBI’s Tampa office, his first posting in the agency. While in Florida, he studied intensive Russian, according to information provided by the family.

He later went on to the FBI’s San Francisco office and began his career with foreign counter intelligence.

In the spring of 1995, he went to FBI Headquarters in Washington here he helped establish an FBI office in Moscow. He also served as a team leader and senior FBI agent for the first FBI delegation that provided law enforcement training in Russia, according to the family information.

He was also assigned to inter-agency taskforce investigating criminal activities involving Russian and Eastern European immigrants.

From 1997 to 2000, he served as the Assistant Legal Attaché, to the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia.

In 2000, he was promoted to Legal Attaché to Ukraine where he served within the U.S. Embassy as Chief of the Office of the Legal Attaché and as primary FBI representative in Ukraine.

In 2002, Jimerson and his family returned to their home in Maryland. He was promoted to Unit Chief of the Office of International Operations from 2005 to 2006, acted as an FBI Liaison Officer in the Office of International Affairs from 2002 to 2004 and again from 2006 to 2008, and lastly as Unit Chief in the Eurasian Unit of the Office of International Affairs, the family wrote in a release.

He retired on June 6, 2008.

Jimmerson was born on Aug.  7, 1953 in Madison, Ill., the son of Louise Jimerson and the late Chance Jimerson. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Wendy Jimerson; his daughter, Stephania Mahdi; son, Mark E. Jimerson; granddaughter, Yasmeen Mahdi; mother, Louise Jimerson; brothers, Alvin (Zella)Valentine and Victor (JoAnn) Valentine of Madison, Illinois, Willard (Sandra) Valentine of Portland, Oregon, and Terrence Jimerson of Madison Illinois; sisters, Autumn Ann Mitchell of Redondo Beach, CA and Shirlee Sue (Larry) Coleman of Flower Mound, TX; and a host of loving nephews, nieces, family and friends.

Jimerson was the youngest of seven children. He was very active in his youth and participated in plays, choir activities, and track and field, the family said.

In high school he showed promise in his Russian language classes and was encouraged by a Bulgarian priest, teaching at his high school, to continue his studies.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army and graduated with Honors from the Defense Language Institute, serving his country as a Russian Linguist.

He was assigned to the 856th Army Security Agency and was stationed in Germany where he was a Russian Voice Interceptor, the family said.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Studies from Monterey Institute of International Studies.