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FBI’s Eric Jackson to Head Up Dallas Office; Vadim Thomas Named SAC in Albany

Eric K. Johnson

Eric K. Johnson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

New assignments are being hand out by FBI Director James B. Comey.

Eric K. Jackson, who has served as special agent in charge of the Kansas City Division, will head south to take charge of the Dallas Division. Jackson, a Dallas native, assumes the post in March.

Jackson joined the FBI in 1997.

Vadim Thomas, who has served as an inspector in the Inspection Division at headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the Albany Division.  He’ll assume the post in March.

Thomas joined the FBI in 1995.

FBI Investigates Bomb Threats to Refugee Community Center for Muslims

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating threats to “blow up” a refugee community center that predominately serves Muslim immigrants.

Police said anonymous, threatening notes were found at the Denver-area center, Reuters reports.

The typewritten notes were left in the parking lot and stairwell of the Mango House. Both letters had the same message: WE’RE GONNA BLOW UP ALL OF YOU REFUGEES.”

The threats come as President Trump is banning people from traveling to the U.S. from seven predominately Muslim countries.

The refugee center in Aurora was evacuated, but no signs of suspicious devices were found.

“This is an ongoing investigation and is a top priority for us,” police spokesman Sergeant Chris Amsler said.  “We don’t tolerate that type of thing in the city of Aurora.”

Border Agents Defy Judges’ Orders on Trump’s Travel Ban

Protesters at Detroit Metro Airport rally against Trump’s executive order. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Patrol agents ignored the orders of federal judges who said Donald Trump’s travel bans are unenforceable, members of congress and civil rights attorneys said.

Muslims from the seven countries on the travel-ban list were still being detained Sunday, two days after three judges ordered a temporary halt to the deportation of people who had arrived with valid visas in the U.S., the Guardian reports. 

On Sunday, four Democratic members of the House of Representatives visited Dulles airport in Virginia after it was discovered that people had been detained and weren’t allowed to see lawyers.

“We have a constitutional crisis today,” representative Don Beyer wrote on Twitter. “Four members of Congress asked CBP officials to enforce a federal court order and were turned away.”

Representative Jamie Raskin also tweeted, “As far as I know no attorney has been allowed to see any arriving passenger subject to Trumps exec order at Dulles today.”

He added: “CBP appears to be saying people in their custody not ‘detained’ technically & Dulles international arrivals areas not in the United States.”

Homeland Security has declined to comment.

Protests were launched across the country to protest the ban on travel from the seven Muslim-majority countries.

Daily Iowan: Trump’s Travel Ban Is ‘Incredibly Callous And Inhumane’

airport-people-walkingBy Editorial Board
The Daily Iowan 

On Jan. 27, President Trump instituted, through an executive order, a temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Trump contends that the action is necessary to keep America safe from international terrorists who may impersonate refugees to gain entry to the United States. He also asserted the action is a part of an agenda to prioritize the movement of Christian refugees fleeing war-torn regions of the Middle East.

Perhaps Trump does not see the tragic irony in his decree; the United States has been involved with a relatively constant bombing campaign in Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Micah Zenko, a fellow in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. has been responsible for dropping nearly 30,000 bombs (a very conservative estimate) in 2016 alone, with nearly 25,000 of these dropped in Syria and Iraq.

To first facilitate the conditions that necessitate the need to flee and then to write a specific rule that bars such people from entering the country is not just incredibly callous and inhumane, it is also incredibly stupid.

After multitudes of protests erupted outside and in international airports in which nationals of the targeted countries, despite having green cards and visas, were detained, a federal judge in Brooklyn managed to strike down part of Trump’s action.

The case, Darweesh v. Trump Order (which allows the movement of such detained individuals through American borders), came on the heels of a press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security that stated, “President Trump’s executive order remains in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety. President Trump’s executive order affects a minor portion of international travelers and is a first step toward re-establishing control over America’s borders and national security.”

The façade of protecting national security through xenophobic attempts of bottle-necking immigration is just sensationalism.

To read more click here. 

Homeland Security Tries to Alleviate Chaos Around Muslim Travel Ban

Protest at Detroit Metro Airport over President Trump's travel ban. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Protest at Detroit Metro Airport over President Trump’s travel ban. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security was caught in a tough position this weekend after President Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The department, which is in charge of enforcing the refugee ban, said it’s obeying the court orders that temporarily halt parts of the plan, NBC News reports.

“We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law,” the statement said.

Trump’s executive order caused chaos at airports as Muslims were detained and thousands protested.

“Prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” the department said in a statement.

The White House did little to clear up the confusion, initially saying the executive order applies to green card holders or permanent residents. White House officials changed course over the weekend, suggesting that green card holders and permanent U.S. citizens will not be detained.

Secret Service Agent Placed on Leave for Saying She Wouldn’t Take Bullet for Trump

Special Agent Kerry O’Grady.

Special Agent Kerry O’Grady.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Secret Service agent who said she would not take a bullet for President Trump has been placed on administrative leave.

Kerry O’Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Denver district, alarmed her colleagues by statements on Facebook.

In October, she posted on Facebook: “As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act. So I keep quiet and skirt the median. To do otherwise can be a criminal offense for those in my position. Despite the fact that I am expected to take a bullet for both sides. But this world has changed and I have changed. And I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be disaster to this country and the strong and amazing women and minorities who reside here. Hatch Act be damned. I am with Her.”

O’Grady removed her Facebook post after two or three days, the New York Post reports. 

“It was an internal struggle for me but as soon as I put it up, I thought it was not the sentiment that I needed to share because I care very deeply about the mission,” she said.

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime History: FDR Gives FBI’s J. Edgar The Green Light

Parker: Supreme Court Strengthens Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers’ Use of Deadly Force

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. He is the author of the book “Carving Out the Rule of Law: The History of the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Michigan 1815–2008″.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

It was a tough year for law enforcement officers. Line of duty deaths, especially intentional killings of police, were up dramatically. Several categories of violent crime, including homicides, rose significantly after two decades of steady decline in crime statistics. Recruitment of new officers is becoming difficult, and officers confronting deadly situations are justifiably wary about the public (and media) second-guessing life or death decisions that had to be made under pressure within seconds.

Heather MacDonald, in her recent book The War On Cops, blames these developments on an anti-law enforcement movement led by groups like Black Lives Matter, accentuated by media attention, and facilitated by the policies of the Obama Administration. Whether you buy all of her conclusions, she does make a persuasive case that the current atmosphere in some segments of the public about law enforcement has resulted in officers being less aggressive in discretionary policing and that is a factor in a new crime wave, especially in the nation’s cities.

Into this troubling and dangerous situation, a potential boost in law enforcement confidence came this month from an unlikely source, a per curiam opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Per curiam (Latin: by the Court) decisions are judgments by appellate courts as a whole in which no particular judge or Justice is identified as the author. In the Supreme Court per curiam opinions are almost always unanimous and usually represent brief rulings on non-controversial subjects. They tend to be short. They seldom set an important precedent or alter the rule of law.

But there are exceptions. In 1972 the per curiam opinion by the Court in Furman v. Georgia turned capital punishment upside down when it struck down every death penalty law and practice in the country as arbitrary and capricious under the 8th Amendment. It took four years for the states to re-institute death penalty statutes and, in many ways, the case began to diminish the role of the supreme penalty which continues to this day.

Bush v. Gore

In Bush v. Gore (2000) the Court issued a per curiam opinion in one of the most controversial cases in the Court’s history. The Court upheld the razor-thin Florida vote which gave the presidency to George Bush by a single electoral vote over Al Gore. The 5-4 vote followed party lines with the Republican appointed Justices in the majority, but the ruling was brief and unauthored.  Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz called it the “single most corrupt decision in Supreme Court history,” but others thought it was a profile in courage which preserved the republic.

new_mexico_state_police

Earlier this month the Court decided another per curiam opinion which has gotten much less attention but which could have profound implications, especially to law enforcement officers on the front line. White v. Pauly was an appeal from a civil ruling by a federal district court against New Mexico State Police Officer Ray White, who had shot and killed Samuel Pauley in a police confrontation outside of Santa Fe.

Witnesses had called 911 to report Pauley as a drunk driver. Two police officers went to his residence where he lived with his brother Daniel Pauly in a secluded area to talk with Pauly. They ordered him to open the door.  It was asserted in the complaint that the brothers had not heard the officers identify themselves. The Paulys got their firearms.

A few minutes after the initial confrontation, Officer White arrived at the scene outside of the Pauly residence. The Paulys yelled that they had guns and Daniel fired two shotgun blasts outside the back door. Samuel stuck his handgun outside a window in the front of the house and pointed it in the officers’ direction. All three of the officers took cover, White behind a stone wall. One of the initial two officers fired his gun at Pauly and missed. Officer White fired and killed Samuel Pauly.

Read more »