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Tag: police

FBI: 93 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Line of Duty in 2020

By Steve Neavling

The FBI reports that 93 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year, a small increase over 2019. 

Of those deaths, 46 were the result of felonious assault, and 47 were accidents, according to the bureau’s annual report.

Of the offers feloniously killed, nine were ambushed, seven died while conducting law enforcement activities, seven were assisting other officers, five were responding to crimes in progress, four were responding to disorders or disturbances, three were involved in arrests, two were responding to citizen complaints, two were trying to serve an arrest warrant, two had encountered a person experiencing an emotional disturbance, two were killed during an unprovoked attack, one was trying to serve a court order, one was helping a motorist, and one was killed in an incident reported as “other.”

All but five of the officers feloniously killed died as the result of a gun. 

The average age of officers were were feloniously killed was 39 years old. Of those, 41 were men, 32 were white, 10 were Black, two were Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and one was American Indian/Alaska Native. 

Of those accidentally killed, 26 died as a result of car crashes, 12 were struck by cars, five were killed in firearm-related incidents, two drowned, one died as a result of an aircraft crash, and one died in a fall. 

FBI Arrests Texas Police Officer Accused of Distributing Child Pornography

By Steve Neavling

The FBI arrested a police officer in Texas on charges of distributing child pornography. 

Denton Police Officer David Schoolcraft was ordered to remain in custody during his initial court hearing Thursday.

According to U.S. attorneys, Schoolcraft knowingly received or distributed child pornography through any means of interstate or foreign commerce, mail or shipment, or through a computerin late December. 

He faces up to 20 years in prison. 

Schoolcraft, a 15-year veteran of the department, was placed on leave after he was arrested. 

Police, FBI Warned about Nashville Bombing suspect in 2019

Anthony Quinn Warner

By Steve Neavling

Police and the FBI were alerted to Nashville bombing suspect Anthony Quinn Warner about 16 months ago, when his girlfriend reported he was building explosives in his RV, according to a police report obtained by The Tennessean.

But it doesn’t appear that anything was done to stop Warner, who authorities say died in the Christmas Day explosion that tore through downtown Nashville and injured three people. 

In August 2019, Warner’s girlfriend notified Nashville police that Warner “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence,” the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) report states.

The information was passed on to the FBI. 

“She related that the guns belonged to a ‘Tony Warner’ and that she did not want them in the house any longer,” MNPD spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement to The Tennessean.

The woman’s attorney, Raymond Throckmorton III, told police that Warner “frequently talks about the military and bomb making,” the report states. The attorney added that Warner “knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb.”

Police went to Warner’s home to investigate but no one answered the door, and the RV was fenced off behind the house. 

“They saw no evidence of a crime and had no authority to enter his home or fenced property,” MNPD spokesman Don Aaron told the Tennessean. 

A day later, Nashville police forwarded the information to the FBI to check the bureau’s databases, Aaron said. Later in the day, “the FBI reported back that they checked their holdings and found no records on Warner at all,” Aaron said. 

“Somebody, somewhere dropped the ball,” Throckmorton said.

Aaron responded that there was no evidence of wrongdoing at the time. 

“At no time was there any evidence of a crime detected and no additional action was taken,” he said. “No additional information about Warner came to the department’s or the FBI’s attention after August 2019.”

ATF Agent Sues Columbus Police Department, Accusing Officers of Excessive Force

By Steve Neavling

An ATF agent has sued the Columbus Police Department and two of its officers who he says used excessive force against him while he was on a “routine” assignment.

The federal lawsuit alleges the two officers pointed guns at Agent James Burk, tasered him, and placed him in the back of a cruiser on July 7, even though his ATF ID cart was around his neck and his credentials in his pocket, The Columbus Dispatch reports

Burk, a 16-year veteran of the ATF, said he was working in his official capacity when he knocked on the door of a home to seize a gun from someone who was not permitted to possess a firearm.  

A person inside the home called 911 when Burk knocked on the door. The caller refused to answer the door and read Burk’s badge number to the dispatcher, who advised the person to not answer the door while police officers Joseph Fihe and Kevin Winchell were dispatched to the scene. 

“When Fihe arrived at the scene, Agent Burk stood outside the home’s front door and waved the officer over to where he was standing,” the lawsuit states. “Even though Agent Burk had both hands raised and had represented that he is a federal agent, officer Fihe immediately drew his weapon and pointed it … while simultaneously screaming at (Burk) to get on the ground.”

As Burk told the officers his credentials were in his pocket, they pointed their guns at him and “climbed on his back while violently twisting and pulling his arms to handcuff him.”

According to the lawsuit, Burk was not resisting when he was tasered and placed in the back of the police car. 

Burk was released after about an hour.  

“Agent Burk acted lawfully and posed no immediate threat to officers Fihe and Winchell or anyone else,” the lawsuit said. “Agent Burk did not resist the officers, attempt to flee from their custody or display any physical aggressiveness towards them.” 

After suffering physical and psychological injuries, Burk was placed on an administrative role within ATF. 

The police department declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation. 

Witnesses Offer Differing Account of Border Patrol Chase That Ended with 10 Dead in El Paso

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Some witnesses are contradicting Border Patrol’s claims that its agents stopped chasing a speeding vehicle that crashed and killed seven occupants in downtown El Paso on June 25.

Border Patrol officials said agents called off the pursuit because of the dangerous speed.

But witnesses told The Dallas Morning News that agents were still chasing the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze when it crashed into a parked trailer at 2:15 a.m. Two security guards said they saw the Border Patrol vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed with its headlights on and no sirens.

El Paso police are investigating.

“Was there a chase before the crash? Yes. Did it cause the crash? I don’t know,” Police spokesman Robert Gomez said.

At the time of the crash, 10 people were inside the car. Three were injured and remain in the hospital.

Authorities said the car was involved in human smuggling.

“All preliminary information collected thus far indicates that it was indeed a human smuggling event,” Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Sector Gloria Chavez said in a statement.

Ex-Secret Service Agent Credited with Saving President Reagan’s Life Plans to Retire from Law Enforcement

Former Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy, via Orland PD.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy, who was shot in the chest while protecting President Reagan during an assassination attempt in 1981, is retiring from law enforcement.

The 71-year-old said he decided recently to retire from the Orland Park Police Department in Illinois, where he has served as police chief for 26 years and earned Chief of Police of the Year from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police in 2016, The Chicago Tribune reports.

McCarthy, who has been the police chief since 1994, was credited with saving Reagan’s life while serving on the president’s Secret Service detail on March 30, 1981. Reagan, McCarthy and two others were shot by John Hinkley Jr.

McCarthy said he plans to retire on Aug. 1 to spend more time with his wife, three children and seven grandchildren.

“This has been absolutely a great run,” the 71-year-old McCarthy said. “Time catches up to you. Sometimes you have to turn to family, and it’s time.”

Harvey Goldstein: A Reimagined Police Force Must Be A Win/Win To Make A Difference

The author is an organizational development consultant, psychologist, trainer, and speaker for public safety, non-profit, and private sector entities.

By Harvey Goldstein

George Floyd.

The lurid almost macabre murder of George Floyd will not easily dim from our minds eye. Our nation cannot and should not turn away from transfixed horror and moral revulsion at indifference in taking a life. This and a string of recent incidents has raised the heat from a simmering stew of social injustices to a boiling caldron of suppressed and unattended grievances. Against a backdrop of rising hate crime, the broad coalition of protesters have unleashed a reservoir of ill will toward police as a lightning rod for institutional distrust and disgust. In a civil society, innocent loss of life is always tragic and matters. The broad-based firestorm of protest springs from a blatant visual that confirmed the worst fears of all peoples. This betrayal of “legitimacy “by four police officers has ignited the most negative portrait of police service. Acts of seeming retribution and displaced anger at police leaves us all at a crossroads.

Gandhi suggested that “we must be the change we want to see in the world.” The public outrage at malign police intent ought not be ascribed to the entire police profession with a broad brush. To do so resonates with the same venal tone as the racism that is being railed against. What is certain is that the explanation of “a few bad apples “will no longer quell long standing, high profile grievances about unequal treatment of minorities.

The Issues Are Not Just Black And White

Harvey Goldstein (Linkedin photo)

In the role of a civilian police psychologist for four decades I bear witness that the vast majority of the law enforcement community is comprised of professional, decent, incredibly giving, kind, brave, helpful and compassionate people. Most are repulsed by a policeman totally bereft of the humanity that so many labor daily to protect. To demonize them would be a further travesty of justice. If you ask a police officer if they are racist, they are likely to say that there isn’t a racist bone in their body. Past studies on the police population suggest having spontaneous negative biases doesn’t necessarily result in discrimination. I believe that there are biased automatic precursors to behavior that sometimes result in outright racism and sometimes not. Regulating the underlying catalyst for aggressive escalation is what needs to be targeted in training scenarios and assessments.

The outcry for “defunding “police springs from raw and earnest anger but portends no real viable alternative. Defunding smacks of self-defeating naivete. It can only hurt the law-abiding people in communities when you don’t have good cops to respond to crime.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the solution. However, the bathwater needs refreshing, and the tub does need a sound scrubbing. A wider lens reveals another side to the story.

When considering “police reform” will that include the “oversight” institutions that have failed us mightily, leaving law enforcement without clarity, more defined limits or corrective guidance? Instead, the “parental” institutions have provided wide berth and cover for extreme behaviors with scant accountability.

“Police officers don’t face justice more often for a variety of reasons — from powerful police unions to the blue wall of silence to cowardly prosecutors to reluctant juries. But it is the Supreme Court that has enabled a culture of violence and abuse by eviscerating a vital civil rights law to provide police officers what, in practice, is nearly limitless immunity from prosecution for actions taken while on the job. The badge has become a get-out-of-jail-free card in far too many instances.”

5/29/20, How the Supreme Court Lets Cops Get Away With Murder, New York Times

Unions who are effective defenders of salary and work conditions do harm to their profession when they defend any and all police actions as righteous. These messages all give oxygen to more extreme tactics towards those deemed non-compliant. If there is one thing you can count on in this life it is that a behavior reinforced is more likely to reoccur.

Read more »

White Supremacist, Racist Groups Pose Greatest Threat of Protest-Related Violence, Intelligence Briefing Warns

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

White supremacists and other domestic racist groups pose the greatest threat of protest-related violence, a new federal intelligence bulletins warns.

The document, issued by the FBI, Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center, undermines President Trump’s rhetoric that antifa and anarchists groups are the primary threats, ABC News reports.

“Based upon current information, we assess the greatest threat of lethal violence continues to emanate from lone offenders with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist ideologies and [domestic violent extremists] with personalized ideologies,” the bulletin states.

The bulletin, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Could Exploit Current Events to Incite or Justify Attacks on Law Enforcement or Civilians Engaged in First Amendment-Protected Activities,” was sent to law enforcement across the country.

The bulletin asserts that would-be domestic terrorists “including militia extremists and [groups] who advocate a belief in the superiority of the white race have sought to bring about a second civil war, often referred to as a ‘Boogaloo’ by intentionally instigating violence at First Amendment-protected activities. Racially charged events, coupled with the accompanying widespread media attention, and the rapid dissemination of violent online rhetoric by [extremists], are likely to remain contributing factors to potentially ideologically motivated violence.”