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John Hinkley Jr., Who Shot Reagan, Wins Unconditional Release

John Hinckley Jr

By Steve Neavling

John Hinckley Jr., who wounded President Reagan and three others in an assassination attempt in 1981, was granted “unconditional release” Monday. 

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman agreed to lift the remaining restrictions on Hinckley, who is now 66 and has been living outside a mental health facility, as long as he remains mentally stable and continues to follow the conditions of his previous release, The Associated Press reports.

The unconditional release would begin in June 2022. 

“If he hadn’t tried to kill the president, he would have been unconditionally released a long, long, long time ago,” Friedman said. “But everybody is comfortable now after all of the studies, all of the analysis and all of the interviews, and all of the experience with Mr. Hinckley.”

Hinckley was 25 when he shot Regean outside a Washington hotel. Also wounded here White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and Washington Metropolitan Police officer Thomas Delahanty. Brady was paralyzed and died in 2014. 

David G. Nanz Named Special Agent in Charge of Springfield Field Office in Illinois

Special Agent David Nanz

By Steve Neavling

David G. Nanz is the new special agent in charge of the Springfield Field Office in Illinois. 

Nanz, who most recently served in the Inspection Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., began his career with the bureau in 2001, when he was first assigned to the Las Vegas Field Office, investigating white-collar crime cases.

In 2008, he was promoted to supervisory special agent and transferred to the Economic Crimes Unit of the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters. He later became unit chief and served as the program manager for several cases related to the 2008 financial crisis.

Nanz also served as the FBI liaison to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and led the effort to have an FBI agent embedded in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 2010, Nanz transferred to the Miami Field Office, where he oversaw the corporate and securities fraud program and established the South Florida Insurance Fraud Task Force, in addition to other duties. In 2016, he completed assignments in London and in Pretoria, South Africa.

Later in 2016, Mr. Nanz was promoted to assistant special agent in charge in the Los Angeles Field Office, where he oversaw 11 criminal and forensic accountant squads. In 2019, he was promoted to inspector and returned to FBI headquarters.

Nanz received a bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University in Washington and a law degree from George Mason University in Virginia. Before he joined the FBI, Nanz was a law clerk to the administrative law judges of the National Transportation Safety Board and was later an attorney with an aviation law firm in New York.

Gov. Abbott Offers to Hire Border Patrol Agents If They’re Fired by Biden Admin

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo via Governor’s Office.

By Steve Neavling

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday pledged to hire Border Patrol agents if they are fired for their handling of Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande in Del rio, Texas. 

Shocking images showed the agents on horses chasing and grabbing the migrants near a makeshift camp where a large influx of Haitians had gathered in hopes of being granted asylum. 

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Abbott said the agents did nothing wrong, and if they are fired, “I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”

Abbott’s remarks came several days after President Biden, calling the agents’ actions “outrageous,” said, “Those people will pay.”

Abbott placed the blame on the Biden administration, saying agents “wouldn’t have been in that situation had the Biden administration enforced the immigration laws.”

“If he takes any action against them whatsoever — I have worked side by side with those Border Patrol agents — I want them to know something,” Abbott said. “If they are risk of losing their job by a president who is abandoning his duty to secure the border, you have a job in the state of Texas. I will hire you to help Texas secure our border.”

NTSB Investigates Fatal Amtrak Derailment In Montana

Amtrak train. Photo courtesy of Amtrak.

By Steve Neavling

The National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the scene of a fatal passenger train derailment that occurred Saturday in Montana.

NTSB will investigate what caused the derailment, which killed three people and injured more than 50 others. 

The Amtrak train, which was carrying 141 passengers and 16 crew members, was traveling from Seattle to Chicago when it derailed near Toplin, Montana. 

“The NTSB is launching a go-team to investigate Saturday’s derailment of Amtrak’s Empire Builder train near Joplin, Montana,” NTSB tweeted. “Team will be based in Great Falls, Montana.”

NTSB said it expects to hold a news briefing late Monday afternoon. 

In a statement, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said Sunday that the company was working with NTSB and others involved in the investigation.

“We share the sense of urgency to understand why the accident happened; however, until the investigation is complete, we will not comment further on the accident itself,” Flynn said.

“The NTSB will identify the cause or causes of this accident, and Amtrak commits to taking appropriate actions to prevent a similar accident in the future.”

The derailment was the first fatal accident involving Amtrak since a passenger and freight train collided in 2018, killing two the company’s employees.

https://twitter.com/ThisIsMarietta/status/1441946955781869569

Retired ATF Official Bernard La Forest Dies of Covid at 80

By Allan Lengel

Bernard La Forest, a cop’s cop, who started his law enforcement career with the Detroit Police Department and eventually headed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) offices in cities including Detroit and Los Angeles, died Friday in Scottsdale, Az., from Covid. He was 80.

Bernard La Forest

“He was the best thing to happen to Detroit,” said James Culver, a retired ATF supervisor who worked with La Forest in the police department and ATF in Detroit. “He was a true law enforcement guy, not a phony. Behind how hard he was, seemingly, he was a very compassionate guy and very understanding of the mistakes cops can make. But he demanded professionalism.”

A Detroit native, La Forest served in the Navy before joining the Detroit Police Department in 1962. He then worked briefly for the Sterling Heights, Mich., Police Department before becoming an investigator for ATF in 1970 in Charleston, W. Va., the first of 13 assignments for the agency. 

From W. Virginia, he headed west to Los Angeles.

“Firearm and explosives crimes had rapidly surpassed liquor violations, and I transferred to Los Angeles, California as a member of ATF’s Bomb Scene Investigation Team,” La Forest wrote on his LinkedIn page.

Over time, besides Detroit, La Forest headed up ATF offices in New Orleans, Kansas City, Phoenix and Los Angeles. He retired in 1998 from ATF, but continued to work with law enforcement to help battle gun violence and illegal gun sales.

In the early 1980s and into the 1990s, he came and went from Detroit, on two different occasions heading up the ATF office there. In the early 1990s, he oversaw investigations into some of Detroit’s most notorious gangs including “Best Friends” and the Edward Hanserd organization.

“Bernie was a cop’s cop and an agent’s agent, but he was also more than that, he was a leader with vision,” Brandon said. “Thirty plus years ago, he knew firearms trafficking fueled violent gun crime, and he identified novel investigative techniques to augment ATF’s mission. He made our country a safer place, and I will be forever grateful to him for hiring me.”

La Forest as a cop in the 1960s

Even as a boss, La Forest wasn’t afraid to get out in the field and help in investigations of Detroit’s violent drug gangs. 

“He would come out there and work with us and he would work like he was one of the guys, one of my surveillance crews or whatever we were doing. And he knew what he was doing,” Culver said. 

La Forest stated in a bio:  

“Recruited by ATF as a contractor in 2000, I later served in that position between 2001 and 2007. The task concerned the development and implementation of a detailed method for the close examination and evaluation of all crime gun traces in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Thousands of referrals went to ATF offices and other enforcement agencies in America and foreign countries. Those investigative leads dealt with falsified gun purchases, domestic and international trafficking in guns, as well as narcotics interdiction, terrorism, and many additional violent crimes.”

Wrote Three Novels

La Forest also showed another side, authoring three mystery novels.  

“As an author, I have relied on my experiences as a police officer, special agent, supervisor, and manager in my chosen profession,” he wrote in his bio. “My first three novels take place in many of the localities where I began my career in the profession in 1962—as a Detroit Police Officer. Detroit is my hometown and the city where I served as a uniformed law enforcement officer and federal agent.”

In a 2012 interview in the online law enforcement publication, ticklethewire.com, La Forest, who lived in Scottsdale, Az., said of his writing:

“I do not prepare an outline or chapter guide. However, I do spend a few months rolling potential plots around in my head. The first day that I begin writing is the most difficult. But, once I type the first paragraph . . .it’s off to the races. As you probably know, my novels are based loosely on a series format. I do not have one single hero or heroine, but rather, I lean on what I always believed. Most large law enforcement agencies . . . federal, state or local . . . have many characters working on complex investigation.”

“I get up around 6 a.m. every day and take the mountain bike into the desert behind our place. After four or five miles on the dirt trails on the backside of the McDowell Mountains, sometimes more, I clean up, watch the news, check out Stratfor.com, WSJ, AZCentral.com for local news, and the Detroit News and the Freep for hometown “stuff.” Then I station myself next to a twenty-four cup coffee urn with a free flowing spigot . . . around Ten o’clock. Then I begin—after opening pages in Wikipedia, Google Maps and others that will provide definitions or descriptive material . . . and, most importantly Dictionary/Thesaurus.com. I began writing A Matter of Lex Talionis on October 6th of last year. I finished in May of 2012. Review and editing took us . . . my two editors and me, another three months . . . including the galley which contains errors caused by the printing setup at the publisher.”

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Brenda; sons Bernie P. La Forest,  Matthew La Forest and daughters Renee La Forest, Alicia La Forest and Linda La Forest; and 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

La Forest requested there be no funeral and that he be cremated and his ashes spread over Tom’s Thumb trail in Scottsdale, Az. 

Weekend Series on Crime History: U.S. Discovers Record-Sized Mexican Drug Tunnel

Homeland Security Temporarily Suspends Border Patrol’s Use of Horses After ‘Horrific’ Images

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security has temporarily suspended the use of horse patrols after shocking images showed Border Patrol agents chasing, grabbing and whipping Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas notified civil rights leaders that the administration “would no longer be using horses in Del Rio.

Asked why President Biden hasn’t publicly condemned the treatment of the migrants, Psaki responded, “I think people should take away that his actions make clear how horrible and horrific he thinks these images are, including an investigation, including a change of policy, including conveying clearly that this is not acceptable and this is — he’s not going to stand for this in the Biden-Harris administration.” 

“Our actions make that absolutely crystal clear, as have our engagements with a range of voices, a range of concerned advocates, members of Congress, and others who we want to communicate with not just about our horror, but also about what our immigration policy is moving forward.”

CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the videos and photos, and the DHS Office of Inspector General has been alerted. 

The scene played out near a makeshift camp in Del Rio, a small town where a large influx of migrants from Haiti have gathered in hopes of being granted asylum. 

Prospective FBI Agents Are Eligible for a Job If They’ve Used Marijuana No More Than 24 Times

By Steve Neavling

Former pot smokers are now eligible to become FBI agents – as long as they haven’t used cannabis more than 24 times as an adult. 

That’s according to a recently revised policy for would-be agents, first reported by Marijuana Moment.

The FBI began taking a more tolerant approach to marijuana use among would-be agents earlier this year. Under a policy revised in June, job applicants were qualified to become agents if they haven’t consumed cannabis for at least one year. 

The bureau revised the policy again in the past month, this time limiting eligibility to applicants who have not used cannabis more than 24 times. 

It’s one clear why the bureau draws the line at two dozen. 

The updated policy says that candidates who “have used marijuana or any of its various forms (e.g., cannabis, hashish (hash), hash oil, or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), synthetic or natural), in any location (domestic or foreign) regardless of the legality in that location of use, more than twenty-four (24) times after turning 18 years old is a disqualifier for FBI employment.”

In 2014, then-FBI Director James Comey mentioned a less restrictive employment policy for former marijuana users.  

“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Comey said at the time.