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Tag: civil rights

Justice Department Kicks Off Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Month

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

There was a time in Washington where such an event would have been unheard of. That’s all changed.

Attorney General Eric Holder kicked off  the Justice Department’s annual LGBT Pride Month Program on Wednesday, celebrating contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) employees as well as the civil rights gains made across the country.

Highlights of the event’s honors, according to a press release included:

  • Keynote speaker Chai Feldblum was the first openly lesbian Commisioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, whom Holder described as an “advocate, a law professor, a public servant, and a pioneer.”
  • The James R. Douglass Award was presented to Diana Flynn –Chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section for raising awareness about and addressing issues facing LGBT employees in the Justice Department.
  • The Roemer Award recognized legal teams from the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, and student plaintiffs for resolving harassment of middle and high school students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota.

Holder said to the crowd, “we have made meaningful, once-unimaginable progress in recent years. And we come together at an exciting moment…But there can also be little doubt that, when it comes to making good on the promise of equality for every American, the hard work is far from over.”

To read the Attorney General’s entire speech, click here.

 

Michigan Muslims Sue FBI over Allegations of Profiling at Border

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The tension between federal law enforcement and the Muslim community here continues to ebb and flow.  On Friday, it was flowing.

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) was scheduled on Friday in Detroit to announce  that it is suing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) and the FBI, claiming Muslims have been unfairly detained and questioned about religious beliefs at and inside the U.S.-Canada border, according to a press release distributed by the PR Newswire.

The suit, the press release says, represents 4 U.S. citizens who claim they were cuffed and questioned without cause by CPB and FBI agents. Questions included:

“How many times a day do you pray?”

“Do you pray your morning prayer in the mosque?”

“Who else prays in your mosque?”

CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid said in a statement issued on Thursday: “Invasive religious questioning of American citizens without evidence of criminal activity is not only an affront to the Constitution but is also a waste of limited resources.”

Feds Indict Penn. Man for Cross Burning

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Old expressions of hatred live on.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division on Tuesday  announced charges against A 20-year-old Pennsylvania man for burning a cross in 2010.

Authorities said that Ryan M. Held, aka Ryan M. Foley, 20, of Philipsburg, Penn., was indicted on March 27 by a federal grand jury for burning the cross outside the residence of a white woman who associated with an African-American male.  The two-count indictment charges Held with violating the housing rights of the two victims by burning the cross for the purpose of threatening and intimidating the victims in order to interfere with their rights to occupy a dwelling free from racial discrimination.

 If convicted, Held faces a max of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Penn. State Police and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

Motions Alleging ATF Racism Given More Time

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Wichita federal judge has granted more time for  motions related to charges that a federal firearms sting was racially motivated,  reports LJWorld.com.

Defense lawyers are seeking to drop charges against black defendants charged in the ATF investigation, claiming the charges were racially motivated. At least 43 of 51 defendants in the case are black.

The government claims the race arguments against the suspects are bogus.

GOP Hopeful Santorum to Get Secret Service

The Santorum family/ campaign photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, is set to receive protection from the Secret Service, reports FOX News. Rival candidate Newt Gingrich has also requested protection from the service, and Mitt Romney already has it, according to FOX.

Santorum asked for protection after an incident earlier this month after “Occupy” supporters heckled the candidate near Tacoma, Wash., earlier this month. After a scuffle broke out at the Washington event involving Occupy Tacoma protestors one man was arrested for the “glitter bombing” of Santorum, an act of protest that has spread recently in defiance of the candidate’s extreme views on homosexuality. Glitter bombing involves throwing glitter at the candidate.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Ditches “Anti-Muslim” Materials

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has tossed out more than 700 documents and 3o0 presentations related to Islam following complaints that the bureau was using training materials that were factually inaccurate or wrongly stereotyping the religion, reports the Detroit Free Press. The FBI plans to go public with new rules on how to vet future training materials as well.

Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, said he pulled the documents at a meeting with advocacy groups two weeks ago. “The steps taken by the FBI … are certainly welcomed,” Abed Ayoub, the national director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said Friday. He and members of six other religious or ethnic groups met with Mueller in to discuss the matter in Washington, D.C., expressing opposition to training materials they considered anti-Muslim.

To read more click here.

Sheriff Charged with Civil Rights Violations and Lying to FBI

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A County Sheriff in Kentucky and his four deputies found themselves on the wrong end of a 10-count indictment, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

The indictment charges that the defendants–Barren County Sheriff Christopher Easton and deputies Danny McGown, Aaron Bennett, Adam Minor, and Eric Guffey–violated a victim’s civil rights by using unreasonable force on an injured man, reports Surfky News Group. The victim was captured following a vehicle pursuit on Feb. 24, 2011.

Each of the defendants were also charged with making false statements to the FBI over the assault. Sheriff Eaton was also charged with falsifying police reports and tampering with a witness, directing the witness to write false reports, in an effort to cover up the incident.

To read more click here.

NYPD Monitored Muslim Students More Extensively than Thought

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

New York Police monitored Muslim college students far broader than previously thought, reports the Associated Press. Further, the monitoring was conducted at schools far beyond city limits, including Rutgers University, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. Officers even spoke with professors in Buffalo, 300 miles away from the city.

New York police even sent an agent undercover on a whitewater trip, according to the AP, “where he recorded students’ names and noted in police intelligence files how many times they prayed.”

Police spokesman Paul Browne offered a list of 12 people arrested or convicted on terrorism charges as members of Muslim student associations when asked about the monitoring.

To read more click here.