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Tag: U.S. Marshals

Government Watchdogs Investigating Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland, Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security have launched investigations into how federal agents have used force and detained protesters during demonstrations in Portland and Washington D.C.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is reviewing the use of force by U.S. Marshals in Portland and the FBI, DEA and ATF in Washington D.C., The Washington Post reports.

Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari is investigating allegations that CBP agents “improperly detained and transported protesters” in Portland, where protesters and federal officers have clashed over the past week.

In a joint statement, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House said the investigations are “critically important” as the Trump administration plans to deploy federal agents to additional cities, including Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City.

“Many of these federal agents are dressed as soldiers, driving unmarked vehicles and refusing to identify themselves or their agencies,” they wrote. “Nearly everywhere they have deployed, their presence has increased tensions and caused more confrontation between demonstrators and police.”

On Thursday night, a federal judge in Oregon issued a temporary restraining order barring federal agents in Portland from arresting or using force against journalists and legal observers.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials.

“It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent or agree to the unsolicited, uninvited intervention in any of my cities,” Ridge told KDKA . “I certainly don’t favor that kind of action, and certainly don’t think DHS was designed for that purpose to start with.”

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.”

Federal Authorities Investigating Shooting Death of Journalist in Texas

Journalist Jay Torres was killed in Texas.

Journalist Jay Torres was killed in Texas.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI, Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service have joined an investigation into the murder of a freelance journalist in Garland, Texas.

Jacinto Hernandez Torres was discovered with a gunshot wound on June 13 in the backyard of a vacant house he was considering buying, the Dallas Morning News reports. 

Authorities are unsure why Torres was killed, but his family members said he was working on stories that could endanger him. One of the stories was human trafficking.

“We are aware that he was a journalist, as well as worked in real estate. We are working at all aspects and leads that we have in order to find out who killed Mr. Torres,” Lt. Pedro Barineau told CBS.

Man Who Died After Shooting FBI Agent, 2 Deputy Marshals Is Identified

Orlando Collins.

Orlando Collins.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A body found inside a burned Kansas motel room after a shootout that injured three federal agents was identified as Orlando Collins.

Collins, who was wanted for several armed robberies, also started a fire that burned the Country Club Motel on Saturday night, WIBW.com reports. 

The coroner’s office said Collins died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Collins opened fire on federal law enforcement, shooting an FBI agent and two members of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force.

The deputy marshals were treated and released. The FBI agent was still in the hospital in good condition Tuesday.

Ex-D.C. Homicide Commander Questions the Way Death of Justice Scalia Was Handled

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

When  Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead over the weekend at a west Texas ranch, he reportedly had a pillow over his head.

Now, the conspiracy theories are cropping up.

Sari Horowitz and Lena Sun of the Washington Post report that a former D.C. homicide commander is raising questions about how the death was handled by local and federal authorities.

“As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia,” William O. Ritchie, former head of criminal investigations for D.C. police, wrote in a post on Facebook on Sunday.

The Post writes:

Scalia was found dead in his room at a luxury hunting resort in the state’s Big Bend region by the resort’s owner. It took hours for authorities to find a justice of the peace. When they did, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body — which is permissible under Texas law — and without ordering an autopsy.

On Sunday, the U.S. Marshals Service, which provides security for Supreme Court justices, said that Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch, so marshals were not present when he died. When the marshals were notified, deputy marshals from the Western District of Texas went to the scene, the service said in a statement.

Guevara said she declared Scalia dead based on information from law enforcement officials on the scene, who assured her that “there were no signs of foul play.” She also spoke to Scalia’s doctor, who told her that the justice had been to see him Wednesday and Thursday last week for a shoulder injury and that he had ordered an MRI for Scalia, according to WFAA-TV in Dallas. The 79-year-old justice also suffered from several chronic conditions, Guevara said. She said she was awaiting a statement from the physician to complete Scalia’s death certificate.

Ritchie writes:

“You have a Supreme Court Justice who died, not in attendance of a physician. You have a non-homicide trained US Marshal tell the justice of peace that no foul play was observed. You have a justice of the peace pronounce death while not being on the scene and without any medical training opining that the justice died of a heart attack. What medical proof exists of a myocardial Infarction? Why not a cerebral hemorrhage?”

To read full story click here.

Former FBI Agent Jailed After Bizarre Behavior While Visiting NSA, CIA

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent who was angry about police brutality and said she was running for president, is expected in court today after a bizarre rampage that took her to the headquarters of the NSA and CIA.

Tunisia Davis was arrested late Thursday and placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals after authorities said she drove to the main gate of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and managed to get past one officer before another stopped her.

Davis also arrived at the door of the NSA and told NSA police she “wanted to know what they would do if she showed up,” NBC reported.

It’s unclear whether Davis made clear she was a former FBI agent.

Details are still emerging about her past with the FBI.

Slate Takes a Look at What It’s Like to be a U.S. Marshal Through Photographs and Words

By Jordan G. Teicher
Slate

The U.S. marshals currently employ just 5,431 people nationwide, but they get a lot done: In 2013, the organization arrested more 110,000 fugitives, moved federal prisoners nearly 300,000 times, and cleared more than 134,000 warrants. Brian Finke witnessed some of that activity firsthand over the course of three years shadowing the country’s oldest law enforcement agency.

For Finke, who has previously spent months photographing bodybuilders and hip-hop music video stars, hanging out with the marshals was yet another exciting immersion into a distinct culture. He likens his new book, U.S. Marshals, which was published in November by PowerHouse books, to his “own version of the TV show, Cops.”

TO SEE PHOTOS and STORY CLICK HERE.