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Tag: U.S. Marshals

Arizona Man Wanted for Murder of Girlfriend Is Added to U.S. Marshals Most Wanted List

Raymond “RJ” McLeod

By Steve Neavling

A 37-year-old Arizona man wanted in connection with the 2016 murder of his girlfriend has been added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted List, the agency announced Monday.

Raymond “RJ” McLeod is the first fugitive to debut on the list with a $15,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. 

McLeod is wanted by the San Diego Police Department for the murder of 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell. 

Authorities believe he fled the country and may be hiding out in Mexico or Central America. He was last spotted in Belize in 2018 and Guatemala in 2017. 

“McLeod poses a significant threat to the public and must be brought to justice,” U.S. Marshal Service Director Donald Washington said in a statement. 

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office charged McLeod with murder after Mitchell was found dead in June 2016 at an apartment in San Diego, where the couple was visiting friends. McLeod was the last known person to see Mitchell alive, authorities said. 

“The passage of time will never deter the Marshals’ fugitive investigation for McLeod,” U.S. Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California said. “If anything, it fuels our determination. We will leave no stone unturned until he is brought to justice.”

McLeod is 5 feet 11 inches tall and has brown hair and hazel eyes. At the time he fled, McLeod weighed 245 pounds and had “a tattooed muscular physique.”

Mississippi Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting U.S. Marshals Service Task Force Member

Joseph Dale Sonnier

By Steve Neavling

A 32-year-old man who shot a member of a U.S. Marshals Service Task Force outside of a hotel in Mississippi has pleaded guilty to four counts of assaulting and resisting officers and one count of discharging a firearm.  

Joseph Dale Sonnier, of Hancock County, entered the plea in federal court Thursday and is set to be sentenced on July 8. He faces up to 20 years of prison on each count. 

Sonnier shot a member of the task force in the neck while executing a search warrant on July 21. The officer survived. 

Sonnier was wanted on two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assaulted, armed robbery and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. 

President Biden Nominates Ronald Davis to Serve As Head of U.S. Marshals Service

Ronald Davis with President Obama. (Photo via Twitter)

By Steve Neavling

President Biden on Friday nominated Ronald Davis to serve as director of the U.S. Marshals Service. 

Davis is a former police chief who served in the Obama administration as director of the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).  

Davis has a long career in law enforcement. He served for eight years as chief of the East Palo Alto Police Department and 20 years with the Oakland Police Department in California. 

In December 2014, President Obama appointed him to serve as executive director of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. 

“Davis was recognized for his innovative community efforts and for working collaboratively with the community to dramatically reduce crime and violence in a city once named as the murder capital of the United States,” Biden’s administration said in a news release.

Davis is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Reducing Racial Inequalities in the Criminal Justices System Committee. 

Davis received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

U.S. Marshals, HSI Rescue 31 Missing Children After Yearlong Operation

By Steve Neavling

Federal and local authorities have rescued 31 missing children following a monthlong operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas announced. 

The U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations partnered with local police on “Operation Missing in the Metroplex,” reuniting the children with their legal guardians. 

“To observe law enforcement partnerships and community concerns culminate into such a successful recovery outcome is rewarding,” Acting U.S. Marshal Quintella Downs-Bradshaw said in a statement. “Victims should know they are not forgotten, there is hope and a way to return home.”

Seven of the children – all girls between the ages of 13 and 17 – were tied to sex trafficking. 

“While this joint operation lasted approximately 30 days, HSI Dallas will continue working relentlessly to identify and recover missing children who become vulnerable to human traffickers across the North Texas region,” HSI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin said. “Our continued collaboration with our local, state and federal law-enforcement partners and non-governmental organizations is vital to combatting this global epidemic.”

Federal Task Force Fatally Shoots Man Accused of Killing Trump Supporter in Portland

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A man accused of fatally shooting a President Trump supporter in Portland was killed Thursday as a federal task force tried to arrest him.

Federal investigators were moving in to arrest Michael Reinoehl, 48, when officials say he pulled a gun on the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, The Associated Press reports.

Law enforcement then shot Reinoehl, who was the suspect in the fatal shooting of 39-year-0ld Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of the right wing group Patriot Prayer.

Reinoehl was shot at roughly the same time that Trump expressed impatience that the suspect was still at large.

On Thursday night, Trump expressed impatience with law enforcement.

“Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron “Jay” Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!” Trump tweeted.

In a social media post, Reinoehl described himself as “100% ANTIFA.”

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.”