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Tag: civil rights

FBI Opens Civil Rights Probe into Teen Who Ran Down Black Man in Miss.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Shades of Mississippi in the 1960s?

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of a black man who Mississippi authorities say was intentionally run down and killed by a white teenager in a pickup truck in June near a Jackson hotel, the Associated Press reports.

Deborah Madden, an FBI spokeswoman in Mississippi, said Wednesday that the bureau is investigating the June 26 death of James Craig Anderson.

A surveillance video shows Deryl Dedmon running over Anderson near a hotel in a green 1998 Ford F-250, AP reported. The video stirred anger across the country. Dedmon is already facing a murder charge.

AP reported that John Aaron Rice has been charged with simple assault for assaulting Anderson before his death. Both teens were 18 at the time.

Mississippi authorities allege that Dedmon and Rice and a group of other teens were searching for a black person to assault.

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“Original Civil Rights Photographer” Was FBI Informant

cameraBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The late “original civil rights photographer” Ernest Withers snapped shots of history: the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot; King riding one of the first desegregated buses in Alabama.

But there was a little known side to the man who had a front row seat in the civil rights movement: He was an FBI informant, according to the Tennessee Commercial Appeal.

The paper reported that he marched with King and sat in on some of the civil rights movement’s sensitive strategy meetings.

He died in 2007 at age 85, the paper reported.

Justice Dept. Working to Rebuild Civil Rights Division After Bush Years

Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo

Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Under the Bush years, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division took a beating. The administration was accused of politicizing its hiring. And nearly 70 percent of the lawyers left in mass between 2003 and 2007, the Washington Post reported.

Now Thomas E. Perez, who heads the division, is working to rebuild and rehire, the Post reports.

“We had to do some healing,” Perez tells the Post. “We had to restore the partnership between the career staff and the political leadership. And frankly, certain civil rights laws were not being enforced.”

The Post reports that the division has stepped up enforcement of employment, disability rights and other anti-discrimination laws and “hate crimes and police misconduct are a renewed focus, and several section chiefs from the George W. Bush era have left.”

“I think we have positioned the division to carry out its traditional mission of enforcement and be nimble enough to respond to emerging challenges,” Perez told the Post.

To read full story click here.

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Prominent Arab American Lawyer to Join TSA to Advise on Civil Rights

Nawar ShoraBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for screening passengers at our nation’s airports, is getting an interesting addition: Nawar Shora, the legal director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

The Washington Post reports that Shora, who was born in Syria and raised in West Virginia,  is joining the agency as a senior adviser for its office of civil rights and liberties.

“I’m finally practicing what I preach,” Shora,33, told the Post. “It’s about time I cross over to the government and start working within the system. That’s the beauty of our society: Anybody can work with the government.”

Shora has been a prominent voice for the American Arab community and has worked to foster better relations between the community and agencies like the FBI.

Retired FBI Agent Jim Ingram Who Investigated Civil Rights Killings Dead At Age 77

It’s nice to leave mark in your life. Jim Ingram did just that.

fbi-globe

By Jerry Mitchell
Jackson Clarion-Ledger
JACKSON, Miss. — Retired FBI agent Jim Ingram, who investigated civil rights killings and once led the state’s Department of Public Safety, died Sunday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 77.

On his death bed last month, Ingram remarked that he’d been praying for God to take him. “I’m ready to go soar with the eagles,” he said.

In his more than 30 years with the FBI, Ingram headed the Chicago and New York offices before serving as deputy assistant director in Washington.

He worked on some of the agency’s best known cases, including the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy, the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1978 mass suicide in Guyana of more than 900 followers of cult leader Jim Jones.

For Full Story

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Thomas Saenz Tapped to Head Justice Dept. Civil Rights Division

Thomas Saenz

Thomas Saenz

The selection of Thomas  Saenz is getting a thumbs up from the civil rights attorneys and academics, which is important considering the division had its share of problems during the Bush years.

By Wall Street Journal Law Blog

This just in: The Los Angeles Daily Journal is reporting that President Obama has tapped Thomas Saenz to head the civil rights division at the Department of Justice.

Saenz, 42, the former vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Los Angeles, is currently serving as counsel to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Neither Saenz nor representatives from the DOJ provided comment to the LADJ, which cited unnamed sources.

For Full Story

Inspector Gen. Says Ideological Considerations Tainted Hiring Process At Justice Civil Rights Division

Bradley Schlozman

Bradley Schlozman

Here’s just another disturbing footnote in the Justice Department in the Bush years.
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Ideological considerations permeated the hiring process at the Justice Department’s civil rights division, where a politically appointed official sought to hire “real Americans” and Republicans for career posts and prominent case assignments, according to a long awaited report released this morning by the department’s inspector general.
The extensive study of hiring practices between 2001 and 2007 concluded that a former department official improperly weeded out candidates based on their perceived ties to liberal organizations. Two other senior managers failed to oversee the process, authorities said.
The key official, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bradley Schlozman, favored employees who shared his political views and derided others as “libs” and “pinkos,” the report said.
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S.C. Trooper Pleads in Fed Court to Kicking Suspect in Head After Highway Chase

The trooper was caught on video abusing the suspect. It might make the public wonder what would have happened had there not been an official video.

By MEG KINNARD
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A former South Carolina trooper caught on video kicking a suspect in the head after a highway chase pleaded guilty Monday to violating the man’s civil rights, according to federal court documents.
John B. Sawyer faces up to 10 years in prison. A few months earlier, a jury acquitted another trooper of the same charge, depriving a man of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer, in a different incident also captured on video.
The videos were among several the South Carolina Department of Public Safety released last year showing troopers acting aggressively. The videos were made public in response to media requests.
Sawyer was indicted in July after the state released a May 2006 video that showed him kicking Sergio Caridi in the head several times. Caridi, who is from New York, had led troopers and sheriff’s deputies on a 30-mile chase on Interstate 95 in a dump truck.
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