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FBI And U.S. Atty to Probe New Orleans Police Shootings

The FBI will investigate the controversial police shootings on Danziger Bridge three years ago that left two people dead and four wounded.

U.S. Atty. Jim Letten/doj photo

U.S. Atty. Jim Letten/doj photo

By The New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — U.S. Attorney Jim Letten announced today that federal authorities will examine if there is a basis for federal criminal charges in connection with the Sept. 4, 2005 shooting of citizens by police at the Danziger Bridge.
At the request of families of shooting victims and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Justice Department agreed to examine facts of the Hurricane Katrina episode, which left two men dead and four people wounded.
“As a result of this productive dialog and referral to us, the Civil Rights Division, FBI and our U.S. Attorney’s Office will utilize as much time and resources as necessary to determine whether there are any prosecutable violation of federal criminal laws in this matter,” Letten said in a news release.
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County Commissioner’s Fla. Home Raided

Comm. Mary McCarty

Comm. Mary McCarty

Scandal continues to bubble in southern Florida. The latest: An FBI raid of a county commissioner’s home.

Maria Herrera and Mark Hollis
Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty’s home was searched Friday by the FBI, making her the latest county official to come under scrutiny by federal investigators.
Federal agents descended on the 1930s bungalow in the 1100 block of Vista Del Mar where McCarty lives with her husband, Kevin. A man working on McCarty’s garden said the agents took pictures of the house and the cars and left shortly after 9 a.m. with boxes of documents.
“I have done nothing wrong,” McCarty said from another home the couple owns in Maine. “In my mind, this was an unnecessary act.”
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Homeland Security Easing Policy On Data Gathering

The Department of Homeland Security is easing policies when it comes to gathering citizen information at border crossings. Is it good for Americans or does it go to far?

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government has quietly recast policies that affect the way information is gathered from U.S. citizens and others crossing the border and what is done with it, including relaxing a two-decade-old policy that placed a high bar on federal agents copying travelers’ personal material, according to newly released documents.The policy changes, civil liberties advocates say, also raise concerns about the guidelines under which border officers may share data copied from laptop computers and cellphones with other agencies and the types of questions they are allowed to ask American citizens.

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Illegal Immigrant Witnesses Create A Controversy

Fairfax County Jail/lattatech photo

Fairfax County Jail/lattatech photo

The issue over illegal immigrants continues to cause controversy. But in Fairfax County, just outside Washington, a case is raising even more issues. Some detained immigrants may have witnessed a murder and the government might need to detain them long-term rather than deport them quickly. The case is causing some controversy.

Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
FAIRFAX, Va. – Five men have been sitting in the Fairfax County jail for nearly a month now, although none is charged with a crime. Rather, they might have witnessed a killing. Some of them.
The men are being held as witnesses after the fatal stabbing of Adulio Morales-Bonilla, 36, in Fairfax City last month. Everyone in the case — the victim, the suspect, the witnesses — was in this country illegally. Fairfax City police enlisted the help of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and had the witnesses detained.
But then ICE told police that the witnesses were going to waive deportation hearings and might be returned to their native Honduras within a week. Faced with the possible collapse of their case, police obtained “material witness” warrants against the men and had them jailed without bond, even though the trial might not occur for another year.
For Full Story

Feds In Child Porn Case Raid Arkansas Ministry

The road to a child-porn investigation has led to a ministry in Arkansas. Just how big a scandal will this be?

By Jon Gambrell
Associated Press Writer
FOUKE, Ark. — Federal authorities conducting a child-porn investigation raided the headquarters Saturday of a ministry run by a convicted tax evader once labeled by prosecutors as a polygamist who preys on girls and women.
Social workers interviewed children who live at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries complex, which critics call a cult, to find out whether they were abused. The two-year investigation involves a law that prohibits the transportation of children across state lines for criminal activity, said Tom Browne, who runs the FBI office in Little Rock.

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FBI Art Sleuth Calling It A Day

A Rembrandt Wittman helped recover

A Rembrandt Wittman helped recover

Robert K. Wittman didn’t surveil terrorists or chase bank robbers for the FBI. He chased down art thieves and helped recover more than a thousand pieces of work. Wittman worked undercover and still does not want to be photographed even though he’s retiring.

By Andrew Maykuth
Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA – Robert K. Wittman, the renowned undercover art sleuth who retired yesterday after 20 years with the FBI, vividly remembers the first art theft he helped solve.
In November 1988, a few days before Wittman arrived in Philadelphia fresh from the FBI Academy, a robber stole a bronze sculpture from the Rodin Museum on the Parkway. Mask of the Man With the Broken Nose was considered Rodin’s first major work.
The thief, an unemployed dancer who Wittman said was “down on his luck,” wrapped the 12-inch bronze in brown paper and hid it beneath a hot-water heater at his mother’s house on Pine Street. That’s where investigators found it a few months later.
“That was the beginning and end of his art career,” said Wittman.
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