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Weekend Series on Crime: The Russian Mafia

httpv://youtu.be/imNE5CEjZW4?list=PLL33HgxadCI5uNWjpaJkk4nPhCKL_C4ls

FBI Director Comey Delivers Candid Speech about Racial Biases in Law Enforcement

Director James B. Comey speaking in Orlando.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James B. Comey delivered a candid speech Thursday about the strained relationship between police and African Americans, saying officers who work in areas with high black crime often develop a racial bias, the New York Times reports. 

Comey said the speech was intended to create a healthy dialogue that didn’t exist after the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

It was the most extensive address about race ever give by an FBI director, the Times wrote.

“All of us in law enforcement must be honest enough to acknowledge that much of our history is not pretty,” he said. “At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups.”

Comey cited research that suggests unconscious racial biases.

“Although the research may be unsettling, what we do next is what matters most,” Mr. Comey said.

FBI to Determine Whether Religious Hatred Motivated Shooting of 3 Muslims

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the killings of three Muslims to determine whether religious or ethnic hatred motivated the shooting in North Carolina, WCNC-TV reports.

The case remains under investigation by Chapel Hill police.

The bureau said it “opened a parallel preliminary inquiry to determine whether any federal laws were violated.”

So far, officials said there’s no evidence that the killings were fueled by a religious or ethnic hatred.

Chapel Hill police said the killings appear to have been motivated by a dispute over parking at an apartment complex where the suspect and victims lived .

Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Appeals 40-Year Prison Sentence, Says He’s Not Guilty

John Connolly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI agent John Connolly is trying to convince a Florida appeals court that he should be released from prison because he is not a murderer.

The Miami Herald reports that appeals judges in Miami-Dade are revisiting the former agent’s conviction of murder with a firearm in a case connected to notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

Connolly’s defense attorney, Manuel Alvarez, is arguing that there’s no way Connolly could have killed a suspected “snitch” in Florida because the agent was in Boston at the time.

“My client had a gun three weeks before, 1,200 miles away — nowhere near Fort Lauderdale,” Alvarez told the entire panel of the Third District Court of Appeal.

Prosecutors said Connolly, who is serving a 40-year prison sentence, was very much involved in the murder, and a jury properly decided that he was guilty.

“John Connolly is not an innocent FBI agent sitting at his desk 1,000 miles away from the murder,” said Assistant State Attorney Joel Rosenblatt. “He was a primary mover.”

Bloomberg Column: Republicans Need Quick Course in ‘Shutdown Showdown 101’

By Jonathan Bernstein
Bloomberg

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security is about to expire, and Republicans are bickering about what to do next. It’s time for a quick course in Shutdown Showdown 101.

House Republicans passed a funding bill last month loaded with veto bait — riders that would block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Senate Democrats (with support from one Republican, Dean Heller of Nevada) have filibustered, not even allowing the Senate to begin work on the bill. If nothing is resolved by the end of the month, Homeland Security will technically shut down. Most of its functions are “essential” so will continue anyway, though others won’t, and some employees may not be paid until the impasse ends.

But these (partial) shutdown showdowns always end. In this case, it may be before the department is set to close, or sometime later in March or even April. And some final agreement will be supported, however reluctantly, by the Republican House speaker, the Republican Senate majority leader and the Democratic president.

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell know that. So they also know tea-party types will blame one or both of them as sellouts and squishes. If they had only fought longer or with sufficient grit (the demagogues will say), the Democrats would have caved, and Republicans could have claimed a complete victory.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

Comey to Become First FBI Director to Speak Publicly About Race at Length

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

No FBI director has spoken publicly and at length about the issue of race.

Until today.

FBI Director James B. Comey plans to discuss the strained relationship between police officers and African Americans at a speech at Georgetown University, the New York Times reports.

Comey is expected to discuss how well-intended law enforcement can unconsciously discriminate against black people by more closely scrutinizing them.

The decision to address race shows that Comey is beginning “to show how he’s a much different F.B.I. director than the previous ones,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

“Not to take anything away from the previous directors, but it was almost as though they thought, ‘This is something we shouldn’t weigh into.’ The F.B.I. director is looked upon by police chiefs who have been talking about this issue for years as a very important person, but they haven’t used their position as a bully pulpit to underscore how important civil rights and race is in policing.”

FBI Billboards in Connecticut Urge Motorists to ‘Report Corruption Now!’

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Billboards have helped the FBI capture bank robbers, rapists and murderers.

So why not corrupt politicians?

The ctpost.com reports that the FBI has posted billboards in scandal-plagued cities in Connecticut, like Bridgeport, Waterbury and Hartford, to encourage residents to “Report corruption now!”

The FBI said the billboards were posted because advertising company Lamar provided them at no cost.

“The billboards are run as space is available in the company’s pre-sold rotation,” FBI spokesman Marybeth Miklos said.

Miklos added that the locations of the billboards were decided by the company.

“There really was no methodology to the sites,” Miklos said. “We asked for any space available and those were the (billboards) given to us.”

 

Undocumented Immigrant Paid Nearly $500,000 After Being Shot by Border Patrol Agent

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government was ordered to pay nearly $500,000 to an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who was shot by a Border Patrol agent on Nov. 16, 2010, the USA Today reports.

U.S. District Court Justice James Soto said the agent’s “use of force was not justified” because the plaintiff, Castro Romo, “was not in the motion of throwing a rock at Canales.”

“Put more bluntly,” the judge wrote, “a rock is not as deadly an object as a gun and requires a greater degree of certainty that the object will be used than the threat or perceived threat of a gun.”

It’s not yet clear how the ruling will impact Border Patrol agents, who killed at least nine people for allegedly throwing rocks since 2010.

“The court has put some strength into the idea that you can’t just say ‘he had a rock in his hand so it was justified,’ which was their successful default defense for many shooting deaths,” said Texas attorney Bob Hilliard, who is representing families in three wrongful-death cases against Border Patrol agents who shot alleged rock throwers. “He’s saying you have a professional duty to exercise reasonable care. … It still gives Border Patrol agents the power to defend themselves, and it gives Mexican nationals under arrest their constitutional protections.”