Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

October 2020
S M T W T F S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: black lives matter

FBI, DOJ Investigate Noose Found in Garage of NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace

Talladega Superspeedway, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The discovery of a noose in the garage stall of NASCAR racer Bubba Wallace has triggered a federal investigation.

Wallace, the only black full-time NASCAR driver, was the driving force behind the stock car series banning the Confederate flag.

The noose was found just hours after Sunday’s race was postponed.

U.S. Attorney Jay Town told the AP that his office, the FBI and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division were investigating.

“Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society,” Town said.

A limited number of people had access to the garage stall because of strict new health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Those with access include crew members, NASCAR and Talladega employees, contracted security guards and safety crews.

NASCAR pledged to take action.

“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” the series said in a statement. “As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

FBI Arrests El Paso Man Accused of Threatening to Kill Black Lives Matters Protesters

Black Lives Matter protesters in Detroit.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 42-year-old El Paso man who posted a racist video in which he threatened to kill Black Lives Matter protesters, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Manuel Flores faces up to five years in prison on a federal charge of making a threat over the internet.

The FBI arrested Flores on Monday in the Dallas area after authorities say he admitted recording and uploading a video to YouTube entitled “N***** Lives Matter” in which he said “my dream is (to) at least … take out at 200 N*****.”

In the video, which shows what appears to be an AR-15 resting on his feet, Flores said he planned to travel to Dallas and dare protesters to “stop him.”

Flores was arrested in the Dallas area.

As of Wednesday, Flores was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service awaiting to be transferred to El Paso for a preliminary hearing that has not yet been scheduled.

FBI Tracked, Surveilled Black Lives Matter Protesters More Than Previously Disclosed

Black Lives Matter poster on a window in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters went much further than previously believed as agents tracked the movements of an activist and conducted surveillance of homes and cars of people believed to be tied to rallies in Ferguson, Missouri, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

The documents from 2014 indicate the FBI trailed an activist flying from New York to Ferguson, where protests broke out following the shooting of an unarmed black man.

Federal investigators gathered information from social media to profile and track activists. The FBI even sent informants and set up surveillance of antiracist activists.

The heavily redacted records provide a rough snapshot into FBI activities surrounding the protests.

A November 2014 report shows that an FBI agent alerted investigators that a protester was planning to travel from New York to Ferguson for a Thanksgiving Day protest. The activist’s name was redacted, but notes from investigators indicate they suspected the protester “had been arrested at a previous protest.” Another report suggests the FBI had compiled a dossier on the protester.

The documents contradict the FBI’s earlier assertion that agents don’t police ideology and only target people believed to be planning violence, said Michael German, a former FBI agent and now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program.

“This is clearly just tracking First Amendment activity and keeping this activity in an intelligence database,” said German, in a phone interview, referring to the FBI report about an individual’s plans to travel for a protest. “Even if you made the argument that it is about a propensity for violence, why isn’t there a discussion of that propensity? Instead they are discussing bond money, not detailing a criminal predicate or even a possibility of violence.”

Trump Allies: Mueller’s Grand Jury Is Unfair Because It’s Predominately Black

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The sputtering campaign to discredit the Trump-Russia investigation opened up a new line of attack – the demographics of the grand jury charged with handing down indictments for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

An unnamed Trump associate and witness who “recently testified” grumbled to a New York Post columnist that the grand jury was mostly African American and looked like “a Black Lives Matter rally.” 

The only white man in the room was a prosecutor.

“The grand jury room looks like a Bernie Sanders rally,” the source said. “Maybe they found these jurors in central casting, or at a Black Lives Matter rally in Berkeley.”

Eleven of the 2o jurors are black and two were wearing “peace T-shirts,” making it impossible for Trump to get “a fair shake,” the witness complained.

Following the New York Post column, Fox & Friends c0-host Brian Kilmeade joined the attack.

The grand jury is “not even emblematic of something that might be, perhaps, demographically pursuing justice,” Kilmeade said.

The demographic makeup should be no surprise. The grand jury meets Fridays in Washington D.C., where nearly half of the residents are black.

Since Mueller impaneled the grand jury in August, it has handed down indictments against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates on charges of money laundering and conspiracy and failing to register as foreign agents.

As the investigation intensifies, so too do the attacks. Trump has referred to the probe as a political “witch hunt.”

FBI Monitored Black Lives Matter Protests Over Fears of Violence

Black Lives Matter poster on a window in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government has been monitoring Black Lives Matter protests because of fears of potential violence, according to newly released documents from the FBI and Homeland Security.

The surveillance began after a gunman shot and killed five police officers in Dallas, Texas, in July 2016 during a rally against police brutality, Al Jazeera reports

Although the FBI acknowledged the gunman acted alone and was not part of the Black Lives Matter movement, the bureau began warning of “attacks against law enforcement,” using racially charged language, according to a series of emails.

“Due to sensitivities surrounding recent police shootings, the threat of copycat attacks against law enforcement exists,” one email read, adding that “there is a threat of black supremacist extremists attempting to violently co-opt the upcoming DNC/RNC”, referring to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

The emails refer to “black supremacist extremists attempting to violently co-opt the upcoming” Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Michael German, a former FBI agent and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, told Al Jazeera that the report was misleading because it involved the “blending of activities” of protesters.

“If I’m a police officer on the street trying to address the concerns raised in this report, obviously, I’m going to be focusing on black people,” German said.

In August, an FBI report warned of “Black Identity Extremists” targeting police.

“The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremists perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will likely serve as justification for such violence,” the report, dated August 3, read.

FBI Terrorism Unit Warns of Potential Violence from Black Activists

Protest in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Protest in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A leaked FBI report shows the federal government is worried that “black identity extremists” are a violent threat.

The August 2017 assessment by the FBI’s counter-terrorism division claims that “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” 

The assessment has raised concerns among civil rights activists that black activists will be targets of surveillance.

“When we talk about enemies of the state and terrorists, with that comes an automatic stripping of those people’s rights to speak and protest,” Mohammad Tajsar, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Guardian. “It marginalizes what are legitimate voices within the political debate that are calling for racial and economic justice.” 

In a statement to Foreign Policy, the FBI said it cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights.” 

Supreme Court Strengthens Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers’ Use of Deadly Force

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

It was a tough year for law enforcement officers. Line of duty deaths, especially intentional killings of police, were up dramatically. Several categories of violent crime, including homicides, rose significantly after two decades of steady decline in crime statistics. Recruitment of new officers is becoming difficult, and officers confronting deadly situations are justifiably wary about the public (and media) second-guessing life or death decisions that had to be made under pressure within seconds.

Heather MacDonald, in her recent book The War On Cops, blames these developments on an anti-law enforcement movement led by groups like Black Lives Matter, accentuated by media attention, and facilitated by the policies of the Obama Administration. Whether you buy all of her conclusions, she does make a persuasive case that the current atmosphere in some segments of the public about law enforcement has resulted in officers being less aggressive in discretionary policing and that is a factor in a new crime wave, especially in the nation’s cities.

Into this troubling and dangerous situation, a potential boost in law enforcement confidence came this month from an unlikely source, a per curiam opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Per curiam (Latin: by the Court) decisions are judgments by appellate courts as a whole in which no particular judge or Justice is identified as the author. In the Supreme Court per curiam opinions are almost always unanimous and usually represent brief rulings on non-controversial subjects. They tend to be short. They seldom set an important precedent or alter the rule of law.

But there are exceptions. In 1972 the per curiam opinion by the Court in Furman v. Georgia turned capital punishment upside down when it struck down every death penalty law and practice in the country as arbitrary and capricious under the 8th Amendment. It took four years for the states to re-institute death penalty statutes and, in many ways, the case began to diminish the role of the supreme penalty which continues to this day.

Bush v. Gore

In Bush v. Gore (2000) the Court issued a per curiam opinion in one of the most controversial cases in the Court’s history. The Court upheld the razor-thin Florida vote which gave the presidency to George Bush by a single electoral vote over Al Gore. The 5-4 vote followed party lines with the Republican appointed Justices in the majority, but the ruling was brief and unauthored.  Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz called it the “single most corrupt decision in Supreme Court history,” but others thought it was a profile in courage which preserved the republic.

new_mexico_state_police

Earlier this month the Court decided another per curiam opinion which has gotten much less attention but which could have profound implications, especially to law enforcement officers on the front line. White v. Pauly was an appeal from a civil ruling by a federal district court against New Mexico State Police Officer Ray White, who had shot and killed Samuel Pauley in a police confrontation outside of Santa Fe.

Witnesses had called 911 to report Pauley as a drunk driver. Two police officers went to his residence where he lived with his brother Daniel Pauly in a secluded area to talk with Pauly. They ordered him to open the door.  It was asserted in the complaint that the brothers had not heard the officers identify themselves. The Paulys got their firearms.

A few minutes after the initial confrontation, Officer White arrived at the scene outside of the Pauly residence. The Paulys yelled that they had guns and Daniel fired two shotgun blasts outside the back door. Samuel stuck his handgun outside a window in the front of the house and pointed it in the officers’ direction. All three of the officers took cover, White behind a stone wall. One of the initial two officers fired his gun at Pauly and missed. Officer White fired and killed Samuel Pauly.

In the civil suit the three officers asserted qualified immunity, But the plaintiffs responded that the defense was not available since court opinions in other circumstances had stated that a warning was required before the use of deadly force even under the threat of serious harm. Officer White could not reasonably assume that this warning had taken place before his arrival. The district court agreed and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling and ordered the case to go to trial. Officer White appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Court unanimously vacated this decision without oral argument in a brief per curiam opinion. Officer White had violated no clearly established law requiring a police officer facing an occupant pointing a firearm at him to identify himself and shout a warning before firing his weapon.

The Court pointed out that qualified immunity for law enforcement officers is important to society as a whole. Pre-existing law must give them fair and clear notice of impermissible conduct in order to invalidate the assertion of qualified immunity. Officer White’s conduct under the circumstances, especially his late arrival after the other officers had engaged the subjects, did not violate clearly established law. He could reasonably conclude in an ongoing police action that proper procedures had already been followed.

The case has been criticized as giving police a “license to kill.” But Supreme Court Justices are aware of the issues of the day. They watch TV. Maybe they are sending a signal that the courts should not second-guess law enforcement officers who have to make split second decisions on the use of deadly force by weakening qualified immunity.

Or perhaps they are just tired of the judiciary being asked to make social policy on confrontations between police and potentially dangerous subjects in the context of law suits against police.

Or maybe, like most garden variety per curiam opinions, the case represents a narrow ruling on a unique set of facts with little or no policy-making implications.

Attorneys Sue FBI, Homeland Security for Surveillance Records of Black Lives Matter

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security have been sued for documents on the agencies’ surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters.

The suit was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Milton A.Cramer Center at Case Wester Reserve University School of Law, Salon reports. 

The human rights lawyers said the agencies have failed to release the documents of surveillance.

Federal surveillance of the movement began after Ferguson police killed Michael Brown. In July 2015, an Intercept report revealed that Homeland Security was collecting information on peaceful protests.

The new lawsuit allege police also used a “cell site simulator,” or a “Stingray,” to monitor the protests and individual activists.