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Tag: Los Angeles

LA Times Editorial: Indictment of L.A. County Undersheriff Holds Highest Officias Accountable

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

The encouraging message in the indictment Thursday of former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka on charges of obstructing an FBI investigation into the jails is that wrongdoers at the highest level of county government will be held accountable.

The indictments of Tanaka and former Capt. William “Tom” Carey, who oversaw the department’s internal criminal investigations, end the worry that federal prosecutors only went after the frontline deputies. So what about then-Sheriff Lee Baca? Did he direct Tanaka to frustrate the FBI probe? Or was he perhaps so detached and clueless that he could not see what Tanaka and other top department officials were doing under his nose?

That’s important, because for months it appeared that top leaders of the Sheriff’s Department might escape consequences for any role they played in separating a jailed bank robber-turned FBI informant from his handlers in a 2011 federal probe into abuse of inmates by deputies. Seven deputies were convicted and sentenced last year in the scheme to conceal the informant while Tanaka, rumored to be the mastermind of the operation, campaigned to become the new sheriff. Jim McDonnell easily defeated him, but in the ensuing months there were only occasional hints that Tanaka ultimately might be held to answer for any misdeeds.

It’s necessary to keep in mind that although Tanaka and Carey were indicted on suspicion of obstruction of justice, the underlying investigation targeted brutality in the jails; that investigation is ongoing. The structure, culture and oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department all contributed to a pattern of abuse of inmates and substandard jail conditions, problems that were so severe that they overshadowed the coverups, aggressive deputy cliques, racially biased patrolling in the Antelope Valley and other intolerable practices.

Some of those problems appear to have been exacerbated upon Baca’s appointment of Tanaka as undersheriff, and it will be tempting to believe they began at that point and ended with Tanaka’s 2013 retirement, last year’s election, Thursday’s indictment or some future indictment or conviction.

State Justice Department Employee Accused of Helping Run ‘Fictitious’ Police Department

Brandon Kiel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A state Justice Department employee was among three people arrested for allegedly operating an underground police force in California.

Brandon Kiel, 31, of South Los Angeles, was charged with seven counts of impersonating a police officer and is on administrative leave, SignalSCV.com reports. 

“We cannot comment on the ongoing personnel matter or criminal investigation,” California DOJ spokeswoman Kristin Ford said.

During a raid last week, federal investigators found badges, police ID cards, weapons and uniforms.

The suspects declared the Masonic Fraternal Police Department to be a sate agency.

Kiel has worked with the California DOJ since July 2013 as the deputy director of community affairs.

What’s unclear is whether the trio ever performed law enforcement activities, such as pulling over cars and conducting raids.

FBI Investigates California School District Following Plan to Buy iPads for Every Student

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is investigating a Los Angeles school district’s $1.3-billion plan to provide iPads to every student, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Agents seized records from the district on Monday as investigators seek documents related to deals with Apple and the curriculum provider, Pearson.

A grand jury is reviewing the case.

The initiative came under Superintendent John Deasy, who resigned in October.

He declined to speak with the Times.

“No one has spoken to me,” he said. “I have no comment as I do not know anything about this.”

Details of the investigation remain unclear.

Current Superintendent Ramon C. Corines said he is halting any additional iPad purchases.

Rob 2 or More Banks in California And You Get a Nickname Courtesy of a Special Agent

File photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Plain Jane Bandit. Gone Plaid Bandit. Grandma Bandit.

Anyone who robs two more more banks in Los Angeles gets a nickname, Vanity Fair reports.

The idea is to help people keep track of the numerous bank robbers that are on the loose.

The practice began in the 1980s when Los Angeles was nicknamed “The Bank Robbery Capital of the World.”

The man who gets to nickname the robbers is Special Agent Steve May, the bank robbery coordinator for the bureau’s Southern California territory.

May names every robber and then adds the monickers in a database.

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Family of Slain TSA Officer at Los Angeles International Airport Sues for $25M

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of a TSA officer who was shot 12 times and killed at Los Angeles International Airport last year is suing the city of Los Angeles for $25 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The lawsuit alleges security lapses and delays in medical care.

A gunman shot Gerardo Ismael Hernandez at point-bank range on Nov. 1.

Los Angeles employees “failed in carrying out their duties, creating a very dangerous lapse in security which was a factor causing Mr. Hernandez to be fatally shot,” said Michael Alder, the attorney for the officer’s family. “Even more horrific is that the city’s employees delayed medical care to Mr. Hernandez.”

The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and names as defendants city of Los Angeles, Los Angeles police and fire departments, Los Angles Airport Police Department and the Los Angeles World Airports.

The lawsuit claims that airport police officers abandoned their positions in a terminal without the required approval from supervisors. The suit further alleges that the agencies did not properly hire or train employees to handle emergencies and to provide prompt medical care.

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FBI Director Names Donald Alway As New Special Agent in Charge of Jackson Division

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has a new special agent in charge of the Jackson Division.

MS News Now reports that FBI Director James B. Comey named to the post Donald Alway, who began his career with the FBI in 1996 when he was first assigned to investigate drug violations in the Los Angeles Division.

Since then, he worked counterterrorism and supervised a Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York.

Alway also investigated Iraq under former leader Saddam Hussein when he worked for the Regime Crimes Task Force.

In 2011, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Cincinnati Division.

Terry Wade Named Special Agent in Charge of Criminal Division at the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office

FBI Agent Terry Wade

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Terry Wade has been named special agent in charge of the criminal division at the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, the agency announced Wednesday.

Wade most recently served as section chief of the executive development and selection program in the Human Resources Division at FBI headquarters, a press release said.

Wade began his career with the agency in 1996, and was first assigned to the Helena, Montana office of the Salt Lake City Division. He focused on domestic terrorism cases.

After that, he headed to the Oklahoma City division, where he primarily worked violent crimes and drug and white-collar crime matters.

After that, he was promoted to a supervisor in the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters. In 2003, he was promoted to supervisory special agent of the Flagstaff Resident Agency of the Phoenix Division.

In 2007, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Albuquerque Division, where he was responsible for the counterterrorism, counterintelligence, cyber, intelligence programs and the crisis management program and SWAT team.

He also served as the deputy on-scene commander in Baghdad, Iraq, from December 2008 to April 2009.

 

Homeland Security Crackdown Nets 600+ Arrests of Suspected Gang Members

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security arrested more than 600 suspected gang members in what is being called the largest gang crackdown ever by the agency, the Associated Press reports.

The operation, dubbed “Project Southbound,” involved Ice agents and local authorities in 179 cities, leading the arrest of 638 suspected gang members between March and April.

Of those, more than 400 had violent criminal histories and seven were wanted on murder charges.

“These are bad people with bad motives from bad organizations,” said Thomas Winkowski, the principal deputy assistant secretary for ICE.

The arrests happened nationwide in places that include Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maryland and New Mexico.

The crackdown was part of an initiative to target gangs with ties to other countries.

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