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Tag: Oregon

Oregon Man Accused of Stealing FBI Agent’s Guns, Ammo, Body Armor from Government Car

By Steve Neavling

A convicted felon from Oregon was arrested after authorities say he stole a rifle, pistol, ammunition and body armor from an FBI agent’s government car and then tried to sell the rifle to undercover investigators in exchange for cash and two pistols. 

Michael Stuart Francher, 29, is accused of making multiple trips to steal the items from the agent’s car, which was parked outside the agent’s Lane County home, on Jan. 11, according to court records reviewed by The Oregonian.  

After several weeks, Francher met with undercover investigators in a hotel room in Eugene to swap the rifle for $3,000 and two pistols, the ATF said. During the meeting, he told investigators he had stolen the rifle and that it had belonged to law enforcement, according to the ATF.  

After the swap, Francher was leaving the hotel when he tripped and fell after spotting officers, who then arrested him. 

While searching Francher’s car, police also found about a half-pound of meth and the agent’s ballistic vest and body armor. 

Francher has been charged with theft of government property and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was ordered to remain jailed pending a trial. 

In 2018, Francher was convicted of theft, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude police, possession of meth and criminal trespass. In 2017, he was convicted of burglary and reckless burning. 

Kieran Ramsey Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Portland Field Office

By Steve Neavling

Kieran Ramsey has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland Field Office. 

Most recently, Ramsey was the director of the FBI Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell (HRFC) in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 1998, Ramsey joined the bureau as a special agent in the Seattle Field Office, where he served on a public corruption task force, an organized crime squad, and the Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force. Ramsey also was the senior leader of Seattle’s Evidence Response Team and deployed to the World Trade Center after 9/11.

In 2005, Ramsey became supervisory special agent and worked in the Counterterrorism HUMINT Operations Unit at FBI headquarters. 

In 2007, he was promoted to legal attaché in Cairo, where he served as the principal FBI official for U.S. embassies in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.

In 2019, Ramsey was tapped as supervisory senior resident agent of the New Hampshire offices under the Boston Field Office, where he also directed the New Hampshire Safe Streets Task Force and the New Hampshire Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

In 2013, he became assistant special agent in charge of the Boston’s Counterterrorism Branch and led the Boston Marathon Bombing Task Force.

In 2017, he served as legal attaché in Rome in 2017, covering Italy, The Holy See, and Malta. 

Ramsey was promoted to section chief in 2018 and named the director of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell (MRFC), an interagency that leads the U.S. government’s efforts to recover U.S. national hostages held abroad.

Before joining the bureau, Ramsey was a special agent with the U.S. Customs Service. He received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington.

Black ATF Agent Sues ATF Again After Settling Lawsuit over Nazi-Tattooed Colleague

ATF Agent Bradford Devlin with a Nazi-themed tattoo, via U.S. District Court.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A black ATF supervisor who receive $450,000 to settle a lawsuit in which she claims the agency discriminated against her after she launched complaints about another supervisor with a Nazi-themed tattoo has sued the agency again.

Cheryl Bishop, a senior supervisor agent in Seattle and former bomb-dog handler, alleges in the latest lawsuit that she was smeared and retaliated against after the settlement in the first case was published in a newspaper, The Seattle Times reports.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Bradford Devlin, the supervisor who was previously accused of abusive, racist behavior, was back at it again, sending an email to 150 ATF employees in which he defended himself and used racist tropes and false allegations against Bishop. Devlin is the resident agent in charge of the ATF’s Eugene, Oregon’s, office.

The lawsuit alleges the ATF’s failure to discipline Devlin or address his racist action led to more abuse.

“The Government’s repeated failure to discipline its employees for violating the law, unsurprisingly, leaves them to feeling free to do so again and again,” Bishop’s Seattle lawyer, Jesse Wing, said. “The Agency’s behavior, shrugging off continued defiant acts of race harassment and retaliation committed by a known racist supervisor in its ranks, reflects the need for fundamental change at ATF.”

The ATF declined to comment.

In the previous lawsuit, Bishop alleged the ATF scuttled her appointment to a job at Washington D.C.’s headquarters after she blew the whistle on abusive behavior by Devlin and complained about a Nazi-themed tattoo on his arm.

Devlin, who is now the senior supervisor in ATF’s Seattle Field Division, denied being abusive and says he got the Nazi tattoo while working undercover investigating an outlaw white-supremacist biker gang in Ohio.

Although the agency offered to pay for the removal of the tattoo, Devlin decided to keep it, calling it a “war trophy.”

Comey: Sending Uninvited Federal Officers to Cities Is ‘Dumb And Self-Defeating’

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The presence of camouflage-clad federal officers in cities like Portland, against the wishes of local and state authorities, threatens to sever the longstanding relationships between federal law enforcement and communities.

So says former FBI Director James Comey in a column for The Washington Post.

“‘The FBI does nothing alone’ is how I often explained our dependence upon partnerships with local and state law enforcement,” Comey wrote. “The willingness of cities, counties and states to contribute their resources — most importantly, their people — to our task forces was at the heart of the FBI’s and DEA’s success. Town councils and mayors around the country supported those relationships because they trusted us.”

He added, “The costs to federal law enforcement will be enormous.”

President Trump has pledged to send federal law enforcement officers to cities where protests have broken out. In Portland, images of federal officers in full tactical gear clashing with protesters have enraged protesters and local and state officials, raising serious questions about Trump’s motives.

“So it’s dumb and self-defeating on many levels for the feds to engage the way they have in Portland,” Comey wrote. “No sensible law enforcement leader would approach it this way. Which begs a question: Is televised conflict the goal?”

Comey warned that the consequences could be long-lasting and devastating.

“The only thing damaged in the process will be the United States and the federal law enforcement agencies our country needs,” Comey wrote. “Yet again, the craving of our president for reelection seems to override everything.”

Memo: Federal Agents in Portland Not Adequately Trained in Riot Control Or Mass Demonstrations

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal agents who were sent to Portland to quell protests were not adequately trained in riot control or mass demonstrations, Homeland Security warned in an internal memo.

The memo, dated Thursday, was written for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who criticized local officials’ handling of protests that resulted in property damage at federal buildings, The New York Times reports.

The presence of federal officers has drawn widespread criticism and lawsuits after videos circulated on social media showing the officers in camouflage grabbing protesters from the streets and loading them into unmarked minivans.

“Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies,” the memo warns.

Among those sent to Portland were tactical agents from a group known as BORTAC, a SWAT-type team that typically investigates drug smuggling organizations, not protests.

Homeland Security spokesman Alexei Woltornist said the federal agents received “additional training for their deployment in the city” to help the Federal Protective Service.

The sight of federal officers shooting tear gas and non-lethal projectiles at protesters appears to have escalated “fear and violence” in the city, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosemblum argued in a lawsuit filed Friday against Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, and CBP.

Federal Officers in Unmarked Vans Are Seizing Protesters in Portland without Explanation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal officers in camouflage and unmarked minivans are detaining protesters in Portland without the approval of local and state officials.

Videos posted on social media show federal officers grabbing protesters off the street without explanation and driving off with them in unmarked vehicles.

Since early July, officers with U.S. Marshals, Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations have been in Portland, ostensibly to protect federal buildings.

But federal officers “are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren’t near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

Civil rights attorneys question the tactics, saying the federal officers appear to be violating protesters’ rights to due process.

“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” attorney Juan Chavez, director of the civil rights project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center, says, calling the arrests “terrifying.”

“You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he says. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was not happy with the presence of federal law enforcement.

“We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t,” Wheeler tweeted Thursday evening. “We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were, we would decline.”

On Saturday night, a protester was seriously injured when a federal agent fired a crowd-control weapon at him outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was in Portland on Thursday and criticized the mayor and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

“Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city,” Wolf said in a news release. “Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.”

Wolf released a list of property crimes involving federal buildings.

“This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law. DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them. Again, I reiterate the Department’s offer to assist local and state leaders to bring an end to the violence perpetuated by anarchists,” Wolf said.

Wheeler said the federal officers are escalating tensions by using “life-threatening tactics,” accusing President Trump and Wheeler of “weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence.”

Portland Police Stop ICE Agents from Using Bureau Center for Training

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE agents are no longer allowed to use the firing range and classroom space at its training center in Portland after police abruptly terminated a two-year contract.

The Portland Police Bureau alerted the agency in a Sept. 19 letter that the city was halting an agreement for ICE to use the training center in Northeast Portland, Oregon Live reports.

The contract, signed in 2018, wasn’t supposed to expire until August 2020.

“After an internal review, the Portland Police Bureau is no longer allowing use of its Training Division facility by a portion of the United States Department of Homeland Security because the use of the facility must be consistent with the City’s values and Federal, State, and local laws,” the Police Bureau said in a statement Wednesday.

The city of Portland passed a resolution that prevents the city from using resources to enforce federal immigration law.

“The use of PPB’s training facility by other law enforcement agencies should be consistent with City values,” Chief Danielle Outlaw said in the statement.

“A mistake was made due to miscommunication during the contract approval process. When the oversight was brought to our attention, we took immediate action,” she added.

FBI Agent Shot by Booby-Trapped Wheelchair in House Rigged with Explosives

Gregory Rodvelt has been charged with rigging the house with explosives.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI special agent was shot by a booby-trapped wheelchair in a house rigged with explosive devices in southern Oregon.

“I’m hit!” the federal agent yelled as he profusely bled from his leg, the Oregonian reports, citing court records that described the house as “a scene from the movie ‘Indiana Jones.’” 

The agent and three Oregon state police bomb technicians were called to the house by a real estate lawyer who was responsible for selling the property in Williams, a town of 2,200 people.

Gregory Rodvelt, the 66-year-old man accused of placing elaborate and deadly booby traps throughout the house, has been charged in federal court with a felony count of assault on a federal officer.

The agent was injured when one of the law enforcement officials moved a wheelchair near the door, causing it fire a shotgun blast.

The driveway, mini-van and garage also were rigged with booby-traps.