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Tag: ATF

ATF Busts Michigan Sex Offender Accused of Impersonating ATF Agent

Christopher Proe, via U.S. Attorney’s Office.

By Steve Neavling

The ATF on Thursday arrested a convicted sex offender in Michigan who was impersonating an undercover ATF agent. 

Christopher Proe, 36, of Redford Township in suburban Detroit, was “typically wearing an ATF badge around his neck or belt, while simultaneously carrying a police radio, handcuffs and firearm,” ATF Special Agent Justin Henry wrote in a criminal complaint obtained by The Detroit News.

According to the complaint, Proe went by the pseudonym Chris Conley and told people he was an ATF supervisor in Detroit. 

“Proe has detained people before using ATF authority,” a third informant told investigators.

A serial felon with past convictions of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, weapons crime, conspiracy to defraud the government, and false pretenses, Roe was barred from possessing a firearm. 

When ATF agents arrested Proe at his girlfriend’s home in Redford Township, they found a loaded, stolen pistol, a replica ATF badge, and ammunition. Inside a pickup truck, agents also found additional ammunition and clothing that resembled a law enforcement uniform. 

Replica badge, stolen gun, and ammunition, via U.S. Attorney’s Office.

DOJ to Allow Local, State Police to Wear Body Cameras During Task Force Arrests

Body cams, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has reversed its ban on body cameras, saying state and local law enforcement may wear the devices during some joint operations with federal law enforcement. 

The move comes after some police officials have said the ban violates their public accountability policies. The DOJ had worried body cams would reveal the identities of undercover agents.

Under the change announced Thursday, federally deputized officers may activate body cams while serving arrest warrants or making other planned arrest operations while on a federal task force. 

“After spending a substantial amount of time examining this issue, assessing the results of the pilot program, and taking into account the interests and priorities of all the law enforcement agencies involved, I am pleased to announce that the department will permit the use of body-worn cameras on our federal task forces in specific circumstances,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.  “The Department of Justice has no higher priority than ensuring the safety and security of the American people and this policy will continue to help us fulfill that mission.”

The Justice Department’s task forces include the ATF, DEA, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service. 

The task forces launched a pilot in January 2020 to allow local police to use body cams. Those include the Houston Police Department, Detroit Police Department, Wichita Police Department, Salt Lake City Police Department and Park City Police Department. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke in favor of the ban reversal. 

“The FBI values the collaborative efforts of our state, local, and tribal partners, as they are integral to the success of our common mission to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution,” Wray said in a statement. “We hope this program will enable us to further expand these efforts and build upon deep-rooted relationships within our communities.”

ATF Sued in Effort to Reclassify Ghost Guns As Firearms to Make Them Traceable

Homemade gun seized by U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle in February 2020.

By Steve Neavling

California’s attorney general and the fathers of two children who were killed in school shootings have sued the ATF over ghost guns, saying the unfinished frames and do-it-yourself firearm kits are untraceable and ending up in the hands of killers.

The lawsuit aims to force authorities to classify ghost guns, which are often purchased online and assembled by hand, as firearms. They argue the ATF made an arbitrary and capricious decision in 2006 to stop considering the parts as firearms, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Since ghost guns aren’t classified as firearms, they rarely have serial numbers that make them traceable. 

“The only logical intended result of a ghost gun kit is that it will become a firearm,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra told reporters Tuesday.

The ATF declined to comment on pending litigation.  

Some recent high-profile shootings have involved ghost guns, including one at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita that claimed the lives to two students. The parents of those students joined the lawsuit. 

Black ATF Agent Sues ATF Again After Settling Lawsuit over Nazi-Tattooed Colleague

ATF Agent Bradford Devlin with a Nazi-themed tattoo, via U.S. District Court.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A black ATF supervisor who receive $450,000 to settle a lawsuit in which she claims the agency discriminated against her after she launched complaints about another supervisor with a Nazi-themed tattoo has sued the agency again.

Cheryl Bishop, a senior supervisor agent in Seattle and former bomb-dog handler, alleges in the latest lawsuit that she was smeared and retaliated against after the settlement in the first case was published in a newspaper, The Seattle Times reports.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Bradford Devlin, the supervisor who was previously accused of abusive, racist behavior, was back at it again, sending an email to 150 ATF employees in which he defended himself and used racist tropes and false allegations against Bishop. Devlin is the resident agent in charge of the ATF’s Eugene, Oregon’s, office.

The lawsuit alleges the ATF’s failure to discipline Devlin or address his racist action led to more abuse.

“The Government’s repeated failure to discipline its employees for violating the law, unsurprisingly, leaves them to feeling free to do so again and again,” Bishop’s Seattle lawyer, Jesse Wing, said. “The Agency’s behavior, shrugging off continued defiant acts of race harassment and retaliation committed by a known racist supervisor in its ranks, reflects the need for fundamental change at ATF.”

The ATF declined to comment.

In the previous lawsuit, Bishop alleged the ATF scuttled her appointment to a job at Washington D.C.’s headquarters after she blew the whistle on abusive behavior by Devlin and complained about a Nazi-themed tattoo on his arm.

Devlin, who is now the senior supervisor in ATF’s Seattle Field Division, denied being abusive and says he got the Nazi tattoo while working undercover investigating an outlaw white-supremacist biker gang in Ohio.

Although the agency offered to pay for the removal of the tattoo, Devlin decided to keep it, calling it a “war trophy.”

Operation Legend Nets 3,500+ Arrests in Nine Cities Since It Launched in July

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 3,500 people have been arrested across nine cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative launched by the Justice Department in July, Attorney General William Barr announced Tuesday.

Since the operation began on July 8, federal authorities and their local partners have arrested about 200 murder suspects and seized roughly 1,000 firearms, 19 kilos of heroin, 11 kilos of fentanyl, 94 kilos of methamphetamine, 14 kilos of cocaine, and $6.5 million in drug money, Barr said at a news conference in Milwaukee.

Of those arrested, about 815 have been charged with federal offenses, 440 with firearms offenses, and 300 with drug-related crimes.

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in nine cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, Kansas City and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

To see a breakdown by city, click here.

Pittsburgh Man Charged with Shooting ATF Agent During Raid of His Home

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Pittsburgh man accused of shooting an ATF agent during a raid at his home in June has been charged with assault on a federal employee and violating federal firearms laws.

Dion Williams, 44, was indicted by a federal grand jury after authorities say he shot the agent during a raid following a wiretap investigation into cocaine trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

The agent was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

“My office has zero tolerance for assaults upon or violence directed against law enforcement officers. Violent drug trafficking felons like Dion Williams who brazenly use illegal firearms to shoot at law enforcement officers have no place in western Pennsylvania,” U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said. “We will continue to use all available resources to dismantle drug gangs and bring violent criminals to justice, and to protect the men and women of law enforcement who work tirelessly every day to keep us all safe.”

Williams and 11 others have been arrested and charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The investigation is connected to a larger drug-trafficking probe involving the “11 Hunnit” street gang, Brady said.

“It’s essential that we keep law enforcement officers safe as they protect and serve the nation’s communities,” Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman said. “Assault on law enforcement officers undermines the rule of law and will not be tolerated. Anyone who fires at law enforcement threatens the safety of our community and will face serious legal consequences. I am thankful the injured ATF agent is recovering and appreciative of his service and dedication.”

‘Operation Legend’ Leads to Nearly 1,500 Arrests in 8 U.S. Cities, Barr Announces

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 1,500 people have been arrested across eight cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative recently launched by the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday.

Since the operation began on July 8, about 217 of those arrests involved federal crimes, most of them drug- and gun-related. ATF agents also seized nearly 400 firearms, Barr said.

“In just a few short weeks, federal investigators working side-by-side with state and local law enforcement have begun to make significant progress towards reducing violence related to illegal firearms, drug trafficking and other crime in our neighborhoods,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a news release. “In Cleveland, Operation Legend’s law enforcement operations have already resulted in 32 defendants charged federally with various drug trafficking and firearms violations. These early results show the potential that Operation Legend has to make our cities and communities a safer place for everyone to live.”

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in eight cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

Click here for a breakdown of arrests by city.

Federal Agents Deployed to St. Louis And Memphis As Part of Expanded ‘Operation Legend’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

“Operation Legend,” a violent crime-busting initiative involving federal agents, has expanded to St.Louis and Memphis, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Those cities will join Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, where ATF, DEA and FBI agents and analysts have been  deployed over the past month. The U.S. Marshals Service also is lending a hand.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said federal agents will work with state and local law enforcement “to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off the street.”

The agents are not expected to monitor protests like federal officers have in Portland. The Trump administration has been criticized for using federal officers to clash with protesters, which local and state officials, along with Democrats in Congress, have said resulted in escalated tensions.

Violent crime is on the rise in many big cities 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.