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Tag: ATF

‘Operation Legend’ Sends Federal Agents to Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee to Combat Violent Crime

File photo of guns, via ATF

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 100 federal agents are headed to Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee as part of “Operation Legend,” a violent crime-busting initiative, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Those cities will join Kansas City, Chicago and Albuquerque, where ATF, DEA and FBI agents and analysts were deployed last week.

“This is a flood of resources we haven’t seen before,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said at a news conference in Detroit on Wednesday.

The agents and analysts will help local and state police investigate violent crimes, especial those involving guns. They will not be monitoring protests, authorities emphasized.

Violent crime is on the rise across the U.S.

The initiative is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in his sleep in Kansas City in June.

Government Watchdogs Investigating Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland, Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security have launched investigations into how federal agents have used force and detained protesters during demonstrations in Portland and Washington D.C.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is reviewing the use of force by U.S. Marshals in Portland and the FBI, DEA and ATF in Washington D.C., The Washington Post reports.

Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari is investigating allegations that CBP agents “improperly detained and transported protesters” in Portland, where protesters and federal officers have clashed over the past week.

In a joint statement, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House said the investigations are “critically important” as the Trump administration plans to deploy federal agents to additional cities, including Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City.

“Many of these federal agents are dressed as soldiers, driving unmarked vehicles and refusing to identify themselves or their agencies,” they wrote. “Nearly everywhere they have deployed, their presence has increased tensions and caused more confrontation between demonstrators and police.”

On Thursday night, a federal judge in Oregon issued a temporary restraining order barring federal agents in Portland from arresting or using force against journalists and legal observers.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials.

“It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent or agree to the unsolicited, uninvited intervention in any of my cities,” Ridge told KDKA . “I certainly don’t favor that kind of action, and certainly don’t think DHS was designed for that purpose to start with.”

Man Sentenced to Nearly 13 Years in Prison in Ambush Shooting of ATF Agent

Bernard Anthony Graham

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 27-year-old Illinois man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 13 years in prison for his role in an ambush of ATF agents in Gary, Ind.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge James T. Moody sentenced Bernard Anthony Graham to 153 months in prison after he opened fire on two undercover agents during a botched gun buy in Gary, NWI.com reports.

An ATF agent was wounded during a shootout after Graham and two others tried to rob undercover agents masquerading as gun sellers.

Graham and Raymond Truitt, who died in the shootout, fire his gun at the agents.

For his role in the ambush, Blake King was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

ATF Investigating 250+ Fires in Minneapolis Amid Unrest Following George Floyd’s Death

Via Pixabay

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The ATF is investigating more than 150 fires that broke out during unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

“We are making excellent progress with tremendous help from the public,” ATF Special Agent Terry Henderson tells KARE-11 news.

So far, nine people have been arrested in connection with the fires. Another 20 persons of interest have been identified, and the ATF is trying to track them down.

“This is a large scale, large scope event. It is certainly unprecedented for this field division to have this many fires at one time,” Henderson says.

“We have seen a tremendous response from the public providing us with information in regards to these crimes.”

Agents are combing through surveillance and cell phone footage.

ATF Agent Shot During Raid of Pittsburgh Home; a Dozen Suspects Arrested

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An ATF agent was shot and hospitalized early Tuesday during a raid in a Pittsburgh neighborhood following a wiretap investigation into drug dealing.

A dozen suspects connected to the house have been arrested, TribLive reports.

Medics treated the agent at the scene before he was taken to a hospital in stable condition, John Schmidt, acting special agent in charge of the ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division, said.

“We train for these types of situations and that training paid off today,” Schmidt said. “In our efforts to conduct operations as safely as possible, we have medics on our Special Response Teams for instances just like today — our highly trained medics were able to quickly provide medical care to our special agent and helped insure the best outcome possible in this instance.”

The homeowner, Dion Williams, 44 was charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute at last 5 kilograms of cocaine since November. The 11 others who were arrested were charged and face between 10 years and life in prison.

The investigation is connected to a larger drug-trafficking probe involving the “11 Hunnit” street gang, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said.

“For too long, the ’11 Hunnit’ gang has terrorized the law-abiding residents of the City of Pittsburgh and the Hill District,” Brady said. “Through the four indictments of 22 members and associates of ’11 Hunnit,’ we have effectively dismantled this gang and its grip on our city.”

Man Charged with Planting Explosives Next to Downtown Pittsburgh Building

Matthew Michanowicz

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 52-year-old man has been charged on allegations he planted explosives next to a building in downtown Pittsburgh.

ATF agents and local police searched the home of Matthew Michanowicz, who has been charged with possessing weapons of mass destruction and possession of explosive or incendiary materials or devices.

Authorities say the man was caught on surveillance footage getting off his bike and planting a backpack next to PNC Plaza.

On Monday, authorities investigated a report of a suspicious package and found multiple explosives inside.

Police say Michanowicz admitted he was downtown but denied planing the backpack. Photos and videos show otherwise, authorities said.

Man Accused of Pointing Handgun at ATF Agent While Walking with a Child

Gun found inside Joseph Hammond’s backpack, via federal court records.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 33-year-old man with a child is accused of pointing a handgun at the face of an ATF agent in Englewood, Ill., just after midnight Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said.

Agents approached Joseph Hammond following a 911 call about a man shooting a gun while carrying a baby, The Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Hammond allegedly pointed a handgun with an extended magazine at the agent’s face before saying, “Keep moving.”

Hammond then picked up the child and fled on foot. Agents found him about 45 minutes later while he was carrying the toddler and a backpack.

Agents found an extended magazine and pistol grip inside his backpack, authorities said.

Ex-ATF Official Talks About the Power of Gun Rights Groups and the Agency’s Director Position


David Chipman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

David Chipman knows a thing or two about guns. The Michigan  native worked as an agent and official at the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Detroit and elsewhere for 25 years, enforcing the nation’s gun laws.

These days, he works for the Washington-based organization, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. The group was founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot and wounded in 2011, and her husband Mark Kelly, a former astrounaut, who is running for U.S. Senate in Arizona. The mission is to advocate for sensible gun laws, policies and ways to make communities safer.

Chipman talked to Allan Lengel, editor of ticklethewire and a sister publication, Deadline Detroit, about the influence of guns rights groups like the NRA and what it will take in Washington to make notable inroads against gun violence.