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Tag: Detroit

Judge: ATF Agent Not Negligent While Driving Through Red Light to Murder Scene

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A federal judge ruled that an ATF agent was not negligent when he drove through a red light with his emergency lights on and collided with another car at a suburban Detroit intersection in 2010, The News-Herald reports.

Saying Agent William Temple “exercised due care” while driving to a murder scene, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said the driver of the other car, Lynae Neal, was more at fault for failing to yield to the unmarked law enforcement car.

Neal filed a lawsuit, claiming the agent was negligent, but acknowledged he heard a siren and still drove through the intersection.

Fox2: Off-Duty FBI Agent Almost Shoots Detroit Cop in ‘Lame Brain’ Incident

 By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Here’s a story that’s very bizarre and dangerous.

Fox2’s Charlie LeDuff reports that an off-duty FBI agent almost shot a Detroit cop on Wednesday at a gas station in Detroit in the Corktown area during a “lame brain” incident.

He reports that the Detroit Police Department was simulating a purse snatching at the station at Michigan Avenue and 11th Street so WDIV could film peoples’ reaction. WDIV was trying to produce an instructive segment to educate the public on safety and crime prevention.

Problem was that an off-duty FBI agent was filling up and witnessed the plain-clothed cop snatching the purse from a WDIV associate. He had no idea it wasn’t real, LeDuff reports. So the FBI agent gave chase to the cop and pulled out a gun, according LeDuff’s report.

The immediate supervisor of these cops had no idea this was happening until they called him.

LeDuff reports:

“The event takes place. The officer takes the purse, runs around the gas station. As he’s running, an off-duty FBI agent is pumping gas. He witnesses the whole thing. He gives chase. He pulls his weapon, and as he turns the corner around the gas station, he’s stopped by another officer, who identifies herself as a police officer and don’t shoot, don’t shoot, this is a scenario,” said Inspector Shawn Gargalino with the Detroit Police Department.

That is the same description of events we got from four other ranking law enforcement officials, including Lieutenant Chuck Flannagan, a 28-year veteran of DPD.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Files: A Peek Into Mobster Vito Giacalone’s Cat-And-Mouse Game With the Feds

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Like old Tiger Stadium and the Vernors plant, Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone was a fixture in Detroit, one of the city’s best known mobsters — a Tony Soprano type whose mug occasionally graced the 6 p.m. news.

He was a suspect in the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance. He was known as a street boss who helped run sports betting operations.

And he wasn’t shy about collecting debts.

After he died last year at  88, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, which indicated it had about 20,000 documents on Giacalone.

I became interested in Giacalone as a Detroit News reporter in the early 1990s. He had just pleaded guilty to some IRS charges and was walking out of a federal courtroom downtown.

“Mr. Giacalone, would you care to comment?” I asked.  He ignored me, and with an icy stare, straight ahead, he proceeded to the elevator.

Before he went off to prison, I wrote a rather lengthy profile on him. I called his attorney David DuMouchel to request an interview. Dumouchel called Giacalone, then called me back to say that he not only didn’t want to talk, but:  “He’s not happy” that I was doing the story.

While Giacalone was alive, we got very little information on his private goings on, even though there was always a thirst for news about the Mafia.  I thought the FBI files could shed some light. 

FBI Finally Releases Some Documents

A week ago, I got the first installment from the FBI, a measly 120-plus pages or so, focusing on the mid-1980s. Many were redacted, chock full of whited out spaces to hide names and certain information , and more than 250  were reviewed and withheld. The FBI said it is working on processing the rest of the documents, determining what it can release.

The pages I received provide a glimpse of the ongoing cat-and-mouse game Giacalone played with the FBI and U.S. Strike Force attorneys, who often relied on snitches, wiretaps and surveillances to keep tabs on his life.

And keep tabs they did.

FBI documents talk about  seeing him play golf around town, including on the Wolverine Golf Course in Mt. Clemens; chatting with certain people on the course; people picked him up by car;  a dentist appointment for some gum problems; his winter stays in North Miami Beach and a desire to influence Teamsters elections.

The FBI also got word that Giacalone could be one wily guy.

Could Listen to Phone Conversations

A 1986 document mentions a source saying that Giacalone “has the capability to monitor telephone conversations. Source advised that he/she does not know how Giacalone does this, but he/she has heard on several occasions that Giacalone has this capability. Source added that Giacalone carries binoculars around in his automobile and that he used to spot surveillance vehicles.”

To read more click here. 

 

An Analysis: The Illicit Prescription Drug Epidemic Just Keeps Getting Worse

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. He is the author of the book “Carving Out the Rule of Law: The History of the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Michigan 1815–2008″.

Ross Parker

 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
 
The following are a few of the true stories from the cinema verite of America’s Prescription Addiction already playing in real life near you. Half of Americans received at least one prescription in the last month, and almost three billion prescriptions for 100 billion pills were dispensed last year. Both numbers are on a steady increase.

Scene #1 – In the early morning hours the “patients” are lined up out the door and around the block of the suburban Detroit clinic.  Each has a well rehearsed set of subjective symptoms that will produce a scrip for Xanax, Vicodin or another drug that they can sell on the street. Muted cheers as the doctor pulls up in his expensive European sedan, gives them a friendly wave, and then enters the side door of the office. By noon he will have completed his “treatment” of those in the line, and he will retire to the doctors’ lounge at a nearby hospital where he can check his stocks on his laptop.

Scene #2 – The federal prosecutor and case agent view the latest day’s video of a court-authorized Title III from a camera inserted into another doctor’s office, this time in the inner city. The investigation had shown that no “patients” ever entered this office. The doctor enters the office and, using the list of names and drugs given to him by his assistant, proceeds to write out dozens of prescriptions for patients he never sees. What is striking to the prosecution team is that he always puts on his starched white coat and checks his appearance in the mirror before sitting at his desk to complete his task.

Scene #3 – Fourteen year old Sally digs through her parents’ medicine cabinet before leaving the house to join her friends. She thought there was some Valium left from last week but decides to settle for a few of these OxyContins her father had left over from some back surgery. A friend would bring some alcohol to share with the group. Her parents would receive a call later that night from the hospital emergency room where she had been taken after she went into seizure at the party.

Scene #4 – Max was a good student at the state university, but this semester’s course load was a ball-buster, and his performance on final exams next week would determine whether he would keep his scholarship for the rest of the year. Fortunately he had a buddy down the hall who had been diagnosed as ADHD and who would always slide him a few Adderall to boost his concentration level.

Scene #5 – Dr. Anderson gets a call as he is leaving the house with his family to see a Friday night movie. He has to take it because it is his turn to be on call. A desperate sounding patient of the clinic where he works is in a great deal of pain from a recent surgery. She needs a prescription for a pain killer called in to the pharmacy so that she can get through the weekend. Although he knows it will mess up the movie schedule, the doctor takes the time to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database and discovers that the patient has been getting the same pain pills from two other physicians and an emergency room in the last month. He refuses the request and makes a mental note to address the issue with her regular physician.

Like most things, along with the use comes the abuse. Over one-fifth of Americans have taken prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. One-quarter of high school students have abused them, a 33% increase in the last four years. Six of the ten most popular illegal drugs used by 12th graders were originally obtained by prescription, and half of them came from mom and dad’s medicine cabinet.

The epidemic of illicit prescription drug abuse continues to gain speed.  Its use exceeds the combined use of cocaine, heroin, and all inhalants. Marijuana is the only illegal drug used more than pharmaceuticals.

Drug overdose deaths exceeded automobile accident fatalities last year, and most of these (about 24,000) involved prescription drugs, especially addictive painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

Read more »

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Walks Into Court Handcuffed, Leaves With New Attorney

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Ex-Detroit Mayor  Kwame Kilpatrick, clad in a tan, khaki prison outfit, entered the federal courtroom in handcuffs and with a smile Thursday morning. He left about 40 minutes later, escorted in handcuffs and with a new court appointed attorney.

Kilpatrick, who was uncuffed during the proceedings, appeared before U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds to ask to fire attorney James Thomas.

Edmunds agreed and appointed veteran attorney Harold Gurewitz, a former federal prosecutor who had assisted part time in Killpatrick’s defense during trial. Kilpatrick complained that Thomas hadn’t assisted him in motions and hadn’t represented him well during trial.

“I like Harold,” Kilpatrick said, standing at the podium, Gurewitz and Thomas by his side.

It was Kilpatrick’s first court appearance since being convicted March 11 of 24 public corruption and tax counts in one of the sadder Detroit tales in recent years involving a high-profile figure. He’s been in prison in Milan ever since, awaiting sentencing, just like his co-defendant Bobby Ferguson.

His father Bernard Kilpatrick, who was convicted of tax counts in the trial, sat in the gallery. He is the only one of three defendants free pending sentencing.

To read more click here.

 

Saudi Arabian Arrested at Detroit Airport After He’s Found with Pressure Cooker

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Saudi Arabian man was arrested at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Monday after authorities say he changed his story about why he carried a pressure cooker onto a plane, Reuters reports.

Hussain al-Khawahir, 33, first said he was taking the pressure cooker to a nephew.

“The Defendant then changed his story and admitted his nephew had purchased a pressure cooker in America before but it ‘was cheap’ and broke after the first use,” the complaint said.

A pressure cooker packed with explosive powder and shrapnel was used in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Al-Khawahir also was charged with altering his passport after a page was ripped out of it.

ATF Official: Detroit’s Violent Criminals Are a “Throwback”

Daryl McCrary

 
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Daryl McCrary is no stranger to the world of violence.

Having spent 21 years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) he’s worked in places like Los Angeles and Baltimore. He’s gone undercover, he’s bought guns on the street and investigated gangs and violent crime.

As acting head of ATF in Detroit since October, McCrary says Detroit is as violent as any city in America, and more violent than many.

He says while he’s seen criminals in other cities modify their activity to try and avoid detection — and ultimately prison — Detroit criminals haven’t really bent much. He calls them “prideful” when it comes to street survival.

“Drive-by shootings. Home invasions. Aggravated assaults. I see a lot of things that I consider to be a throwback” to the old days.

No better example of the dangers in the city was the shootout last week between members of an ATF task force and a murder suspect they were trying to arrest near Linwood and Hooker on the city’s west side. The task force boxed in the suspect’s car. When officers approached, the suspect opened fire. One Detroit police officer on the task force was shot twice in the leg. Another Detroit cop on the task force suffered what was first thought to be gunshot wounds to the head.

But Deadline Detroit reported Sunday night that the officer may have actually been hit in the head by metal fragments, perhaps from a car, that came from a bullet striking the vehicle. The officer remains hospitalized. The suspect, Matthew Joseph, 23, was killed in the shootout.

To read more including a Q & A click here.

ATF Official: Detroit’s Violent Criminals Are a “Throwback”

Daryl McCrary

 
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Daryl McCrary is no stranger to the world of violence.

Having spent 21 years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) he’s worked in places like Los Angeles and Baltimore. He’s gone undercover, he’s bought guns on the street and investigated gangs and violent crime.

As acting head of ATF in Detroit since October, McCrary says Detroit is as violent as any city in America, and more violent than many.

He says while he’s seen criminals in other cities modify their activity to try and avoid detection — and ultimately prison — Detroit criminals haven’t really bent much. He calls them “prideful” when it comes to street survival.

“Drive-by shootings. Home invasions. Aggravated assaults. I see a lot of things that I consider to be a throwback” to the old days.

No better example of the dangers in the city was the shootout last week between members of an ATF task force and a murder suspect they were trying to arrest near Linwood and Hooker on the city’s west side. The task force boxed in the suspect’s car. When officers approached, the suspect opened fire. One Detroit police officer on the task force was shot twice in the leg. Another Detroit cop on the task force suffered what was first thought to be gunshot wounds to the head.

But Deadline Detroit reported Sunday night that the officer may have actually been hit in the head by metal fragments, perhaps from a car, that came from a bullet striking the vehicle. The officer remains hospitalized. The suspect, Matthew Joseph, 23, was killed in the shootout.

To read more including a Q & A click here.