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Tag: Florida

Three Florida Workers Accused of Trying to Rip Off FBI May Face Local Charges

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Be careful when choosing your victim.

Three workers in southern Florida are accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of electrical wire from the FBI, the Miami Herald reports.

But federal prosecutors recently dismissed the theft complaint, putting the decision to charge in the hands of state prosecutors in Broward County.

“Our understanding is the matter is not closed, but will likely be pursued by the Broward state attorney’s office in January,” said Miami criminal defense attorney, Brian Bieber, who is representing one of the three men, Robert Gesek.

Florida Man Impersonates Homeland Security Officer to Pull Over Tampa Police Officer

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Florida man was arrested for impersonating a Homeland Security officer after he pulled over a Tampa police officer in a traffic stop, ABC Action News reports.

Police said Jonathan Charles Stevens, 24, activated flashing red-and-blue emergency lights on his white Chevy Tahoe.

Stevens even called dispatch to report the pullover.

It didn’t take long for authorities to realize Stevens was not a federal officer, ABC Action News reported.

NAACP Urges Justice Department to Probe Miami Gardens Police Action

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The NAACP in Florida is asking the Justice Department to investigate an unusual number of arrests at a convenience store in Miami Gardens, CBS Miami reports.

Civil rights leaders are concerned about numerous arrests following police activity at the 207 Quickstop.

One employee, for example, was cited for trespassing more than 60 times despite working at the store, CBS Miami wrote.

“The citizens are outraged. So many complaints have been rolling in about how they’re being treated.We know there is a lot of crime in Miami Gardens. We are not  supporting criminals. This is not that point at all. This is about ensuring that those who are law-abiding citizens are not abused. Even if they are criminals, there is a way to deal with criminals,” said Adora Obi Nweze, president of the NAACP Florida State Conference.

An officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said police are stopping people only to meet quotas.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Father to Speak Out about Chechen Son Killed During FBI Interrogation in Orlando

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The father of the Chechen man who was fatally shot during an FBI interview in Orlando plans to speak out  Tuesday at a press conference, The Orland Sentinel reports

Abdulbaki Todashev recently traveled from Russia to the U.S. in search of answers about his son, Ibragim Todashev, a friend of one of the Boston Marathon bombers.

The FBI has refused to release any details about the fatal shooting during an interrogation at Todashev’s home in May.

During the press conference, Todashev plans to update the public on what he has learned and the status of a separate investigation by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Sentinel reported.

 

ACLU Urges Florida Authorities to Open Investigation into FBI-Involved Shooting of Chechen

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Tired of the FBI’s refusal to describe what happened when an agent shot and killed Ibragim Todashev in an Orlando condo, the ACLU is urging Florida authorities to investigate, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The ACLU also wants to know about the Orlando police officer who was at the condo when the May 22 shooting occurred.

Orlando police won’t even confirm any of their officers were in the condo, according to the Sentinel.

Todashev, who is Chechen, was said to be friend’s with the Boston Marathon bomber who was killed.

The ACLU said the FBI “has fostered widespread public distrust.”

FBI Advises Local Police to Keep George Zimmerman’s Gun, Evidence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Sanford Police won’t return to George Zimmerman his gun and other evidence used at his murder trial after the FBI urged against giving back the weapon, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

It’s a sign that the Justice Department is moving forward with an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated the civil rights of Trayvon Martin, a black, unarmed 17-year-old who was shot dead, The Orlando Sentinel wrote.

The request comes less than a week after a six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman following 16 hours of deliberations.

“The evidence is just in a hold status, pending their DOJ investigation,”  Sanford police spokesman Capt. Jim McAuliffe told the Sentinel.

Former Federal Official: Fed Prosecution of Zimmerman Case Would be A Mistake

 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.

Trayvon Martin

 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The acquittal Saturday of George Zimmerman in a Florida state courtroom has already brought cries by civil rights leaders for a federal civil rights prosecution.  On Sunday, the Justice Department announced that it would review the case.

Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder of a 17 year old African American boy, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was an armed neighborhood watch volunteer patrolling in his Sanford, Florida townhouse complex because of his concern about some recent burglaries in the area. Martin was returning home in his gray hoodie from a snack run for some Skittles and a fruit drink. Zimmerman pursued him, at least for a time, a struggle ensued, and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest during the fight. The evidence was murky, emotional, conflicting, and heart rending.

A nationwide controversy erupted from the beginning over the racial implications of the case and whether and what to charge. The local prosecutor and law enforcement officers were replaced by state officials who chose to charge second degree murder. Although late in the trial they sought an instruction for the lesser included offense of manslaughter, they clearly focused their evidence, trial theory and argument on murder with malice aforethought and intent rather than on manslaughter based on an imperfect and unjustified self defense.

After the not-guilty verdict the charges of racial profiling and counter-charges are flying fast and furious and will undoubtedly continue for some time. My son’s social media is buzzing with a wide assortment of wacky accusations on both sides.

Ross Parker

Among the protests has been discussion in the media about a federal investigation and prosecution under the U. S. Civil Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. 245. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not bar such a re-prosecution since the state and federal governments are separate sovereignties. Such cases are rare, however, and require a full Justice Department review.

A federal civil rights prosecution requires proof of an intentional interference with a person’s right to enjoyment of public accommodations on the basis of race or national origin. So the question is whether George Zimmerman was motivated by racial animus when he pursued and shot Trayvon Martin. Or more precisely, the question is whether there is evidence and proof of such a motivation.

The case and the cries for federal prosecution bring to mind a case of thirty years ago when members of one ethnic group appealed to the public and prosecutors when they were greatly dissatisfied with the lack of state justice, in their opinion, over the homicide of another young man by someone of a different race.

Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American was bludgeoned to death by a baseball-wielding white man after an argument in a bar in Highland Park, Michigan. The killer was accused of being motivated by his anger over the success of Japanese auto makers and the effect it was having over American auto workers.

Like the Zimmerman/Martin case, epithets were allegedly spoken during the events which preceded the killing. This, the protesters insisted, proved that the killing was racially motivated.

Angry protests, supported by the media, led to political pressure on Congressmen, which led to pressure on the Justice Department. Receiving literally thousands of letters, the Detroit U. S. Attorney Len Gilman ordered a re-examination of the record. A young AUSA, John Thompson, did so and concluded that the evidence of race was insufficient for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. His supervisors and Mr. Gilman also reviewed the evidence, came to the same conclusion and recommended no prosecution by the Justice Department.

But politics and emotion at DOJ trumped a calm investigation of the facts, the Detroit USAO was countermanded, and a prosecution was ordered in July 1983. At the time, I was chief of the criminal division at the U.S Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

After five years of intense effort, including a trial in Detroit, a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversal, and a trial in Cincinnati, both defendants were acquitted for the same reason that first AUSA declined the prosecution. Like that of Travon Martin, the killing was a tragedy, but there was not enough evidence of racial motivation to convince the jury that a federal civil rights prosecution was warranted.

I do not pretend to know the evidence of the case as well as the media pundits and armchair trial lawyers claim to. Maybe the state prosecutor did overcharge and should have focused on defective self defense theory for manslaughter. Maybe in his mind and his actions George Zimmerman was wrongly affected in his decision-making and mistaken perceptions about a young black man in a hoodie in the neighborhood.

But I do know that the jury has spoken after hearing all of the evidence. And I still adhere to the jurisprudential truism that the jury is the greatest truth-finder ever invented.

Agree with the verdict or not, there does not appear to be enough evidence of manifestations of a racial basis for a federal re-prosecution. Federal court is not the place to fix every wrong result in state court.

Sometimes, however unsatisfying, a case is just over.

 

Potential Witness in Chechen Man’s Death Ordered to Leave Country

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 19-year-old roommate of the Chechen man killed by an FBI agent in Florida last month was ordered by an immigration judge to leave the country by July 1, raising fears that she is being swept out of the country before she can provide details to law enforcement, the Boston Globe reports.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida wants to talk with Tatiana Igorevna Gruzdeva, an aspiring foreign language teacher, about what she learned about the death of Ibragim Todashev, who was investigated for his knowledge of one of the Boston bombing suspects.

“We’re extremely interested in speaking to her and seeing what she has to say,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the council in Florida. “We’re very curious as to why the government’s put so many impediments, in trying to get her out of the country as soon as possible. There’s a very good likelihood that she has important information.”

The FBI has declined to discuss the death of Todashev.