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High School Sports
Murder allegation sidelines football player's career, divides community

Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson stand next to a banner showing their son, Kendrick Johnson. They say he was murdered and are awaiting the results of a grand jury inquiry.

VALDOSTA, Ga. — Brian Bell is a linebacker without a team, just the latest twist in a complicated tale in which race and class intersect with a mysterious death that authorities call accidental but that an aggrieved and grieving family allege was murder.

Florida State University withdrew a football scholarship offer to Bell in January, one year after FSU had offered it — and two years after the death of Kendrick Johnson, Bell's former teammate at Lowndes High School who was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at their school in January 2013.

Law enforcement officials theorize that Johnson, 17, went into the upright mat to retrieve athletic shoes he'd put inside, got stuck and died of accidental asphyxiation. Johnson's family does not believe the official version. They allege he was killed by blunt-force trauma and put into the mat.

The family filed a $100 million wrongful death suit that names 39 defendants, including Bell and his brother and father, as well as law enforcement and state officials who the family says are covering up a crime. The suit alleges Bell, who is white, held a grudge against Johnson, who was black, after a fight on a team bus in 2011.

Rev. Floyd Rose, who is black, is president of a local civil rights organization and originally backed the Johnson family. "You won't find a person of any reputation in this town who says that boy was murdered," he tells USA TODAY Sports. "Are there other injustices around here? You bet there are. But this is not one of them, and I'm not going to be bossed around by whites or blacks."

Brian and his younger brother, Branden, appear to have solid alibis for the time when Johnson was seen on school surveillance footage entering the gym on the afternoon of Jan. 10, 2013. Brian was in class and Branden was out of town for a wrestling tournament, law enforcement officials say.

But Michael Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced a civil rights inquiry in late 2013, and 15 months later the case is still being heard by a grand jury. The length of the investigation has raised the emotional temperature in this town less than 20 miles north of the Georgia-Florida state line. All Moore has said about the case is that it "has proven more complicated."

And so Bell finds himself in limbo. The 6-2, 215-pound three-star recruit chose Florida State more than a year ago over other suitors, including Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Louisville, but today has no takers.

"There are schools that want to offer him," Lowndes coach Randy McPherson says, "but they're waiting because of what happened with FSU."

Lowndes High linebacker, Brian Bell, No. 32, had his scholarship offer from more

Florida State President John Thrasher pulled Bell's scholarship offer one week before last month's national signing day. Days later, nine community members from the Valdosta area — among them McPherson, a school superintendent and lawyers — made impassioned pleas on Bell's behalf as they sat around a large oval conference table in Thrasher's office.

"We thought we were making progress," says Leigh Touchton, a former president of the Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP. "There was a lot of head-nodding, people were asking questions, the facts were going to win. And then their chief counsel poured a bucket of cold water on us."

Touchton says FSU general counsel Carolyn Egan told the group of Bell supporters that "Florida State football players can't spit on the sidewalk" without inviting media scrutiny.

Florida State has been accused in recent years of allowing its football program to act as a sort of private fiefdom. Quarterback Jameis Winston was allowed to play football — and win a national championship, plus a Heisman Trophy — while accused, but never charged, of sexual assault. He has been disciplined for stealing crab legs and crawfish from a local supermarket and shouting vulgarities in the student union. News media reports have described how athletics department "fixers" and local police smoothed over past cases of theft, destruction of private property and late-night vehicle accidents by other players.

Touchton says Egan made the point that intense pressure on the school related to Winston's transgressions would mean immense scrutiny on Bell.

Benjamin Crump, a co-counsel to the Johnsons and a noted civil rights attorney, has an office in Tallahassee and is frequently on the Florida State campus. Touchton says Egan mentioned Crump at the meeting. Karl Hicks, FSU's deputy athletics director for external affairs, clarified her position.

"What Carolyn was saying is that certainly Ben Crump is in this community and he does work on our campus and that it would be an uncomfortable situation for the young man," Hicks says. "It was looking out for the young man. She didn't suggest at all that Ben Crump had anything to do with any decision at Florida State. She was emphatic that was not the case."

Crump did not return phone messages seeking comment.

Whatever the case, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher called McPherson the morning after the meeting with bad news.

"Jimbo was upset about it," McPherson says. "He said it was the president's decision and there was nothing he could do."

Touchton was baffled by that decision.

"Why is Florida State willing to fight to the end of time for Jameis Winston," she asks, "and not Brian Bell?"

The answer to that might be as simple as this: Winston is potentially the No.1 overall pick of the NFL draft, while Bell, according to Rivals.com, is the nation's 47th-best linebacker in his class.

Rev. Floyd Rose originally backed the Johnson family but now says he believes Kendrick Johnson was not murdered. "I’m not going to be bossed around by whites or blacks," he said.


The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office completed its report on Johnson almost four months after his death and called it accidental. The coroner ruled positional asphyxia as the cause of death. Investigators think Johnson got stuck after he went headfirst down into the center of the standing mat to retrieve a shoe.

Maryanne Gaffney-Kraft, regional medical examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said findings from the crime scene, investigator reports, forensic testing, witness statements, scene photographs and coroner's findings all pointed to accidental death.

The Johnsons hired William Anderson, former deputy chief of the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner's Office in Florida, to conduct an independent autopsy. Anderson told USA TODAY Sports that Johnson suffered a single blow or pressure to the head or neck and that he did not find the typical signs of positional asphyxia, including fluid accumulating in the lungs, in his autopsy.

ACC spring football prospectus: Turnover at Florida State

"There is no evidence he was beaten," Anderson said. "It was probably just a single pressure application."

The lawsuit also alleges that the Bell brothers acted on a "command" from their father, who is an FBI agent, and that law enforcement made a "deliberate and malicious effort" to withhold evidence of their son's death from the family. The sheriff's department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and its pathologist are among the law enforcement entities named in the suit.

Brice Ladson, the Bell family's attorney, did not respond to requests to speak to them. James Elliott, an attorney representing 18 sheriff's office employees, said in court papers that the Johnsons and their attorney "cannot reasonably believe a court will accept these asserted claims," which he called frivolous and groundless.

Chevene B. King represents the Johnson family and filed on their behalf a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit that names 39 defendants.

Chevene B. King Jr., an attorney in Albany, Ga., who filed the suit, said by phone that the Johnsons were not available to comment. When asked for the primary evidence linking Bell to the death of Johnson, King referred to a "video" but declined to be more specific.

Touchton says she thinks King is referring to school surveillance footage that the Johnson family alleges was altered.

Nora Eakin, the parent of a student at Lowndes High School and a teacher's assistant, said she has talked to other parents about the tone and atmosphere of the grand jury proceedings and
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Madison, Wisc. – Video footage shows family members and attorneys being denied access to the two roommates of Tony Robinson, by a Madison police officer and a Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation agent after they were taken into police custody.

Robinson’s roommates Anthony and Javier Limon were not home at the time of the shooting. However, they were taken in for questioning by police and allegedly questioned for hours without an attorney present shortly after Robinson was shot and killed in their Madison home.

Attorney Everett Mitchell said that Anthony had called him from the station and informed him that he needed an attorney. Mitchell then drove to the police station and informed a Madison police officer that Anthony had called him and requested to see him, according to Buzzfeed News.
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Kenneth Johnson and Jacquelyn Johnson filed the wrongful death lawsuit, contending the sons of FBI agent Rick Bell were involved in KJ’s death at Lowndes High School and that local law officers and school officials covered it up as an accident.

The Johnsons’ suit was filed in DeKalb County, asking for $100 million in damages from 38 defendants. The Bells countersued, seeking $1 million for comments about them in media statements, news stories and social media posts. They asked that both legal actions be tried in Lowndes County, where all the defendants live and the death occurred.

Dekalb County Superior Court Judge Alan Harvey signed an order Tuesday, transferring the case to Lowndes County. The Johnsons have 20 days to pay costs associated with Georgia Uniform Transfer Rules or the case will be automatically dismissed, according to the order.

Kendrick Johnson’s body was found upside down in a vertically stored gym mat at Lowndes High School in January of 2013. A state autopsy ruled the 17-year-old’s death a freak accident. The Johnsons insist their son died of foul play.
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Kenneth Starr's actual report on Vincent Foster has been withheld from the public to allow time for "other parties" to include clarifications and facts, in accodance with the IC laws.

One such "party" is John H. Clarke, attorney for Patrick Knowlton in his lawsuit against the FBI for harassment.

The following letter is Clarke's request to include the data from the Knowlton lawsuit into the final report on Vincent Foster. This data includes trhe harassment itself, the alterations of the fd-302a, and the silver/black gun raised in this website.

In a later filing, not yet present on this page, Clarke has requested that the report of Dr. Donald Haut, the M.E. who confirmed the existence of a bullet wound on Foster's neck, also be included with the release of Kenneth Starr's final report on Foster. (It should be noted that there are no legal grounds for refusal to include such materials).

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"Don't believe a word you hear. It was not suicide. It couldn't have been." -Assistant Attorney General Webster Hubbell, 7/20/93, cited in Esquire, 11/93.
Back To The Top.

Back To The Political Page.

Back To The Foster Page.

Back To The Knowlton Page.
Mail to: What Really Happened

On Fri, Mar 20, 2015 6:05 PM EDT Ed wrote:

>Begin forwarded message:From: National Security Archive
>Date: March 20, 2015 3:56:17 PM EDT
>Subject: The CIA and Signals Intelligence
>Reply-To: National Security Archive
>The CIA and Signals Intelligence
>Formerly Top-Secret Multi-Volume History Details Spy Agency's Conflicts with NSA and Military over SIGINT Role
>Additional Declassified Documents Describe CIA Domestic and Foreign SIGINT Activity
>CIA Role Often Put It in Direct Competition with NSA, but Recent Cooperation Made Possible Controversial Exploits Uncovered by Edward Snowden
>National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 506
>Compiled and edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson
>Posted March 20, 2015
>For more information contact:
>202/994-7000, nsarchiv@gwu.edu
>Washington, DC, Posted March 20, 2015 -- For decades the Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a major signals intelligence (SIGINT) effort that often placed it in competition with other members of the Intelligence Community, according to a significant collection of declassified documentation posted today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org). As described in a previously Top-Secret multi-volume history of the CIA's role from 1947-1970 -- obtained by the Archive through the Freedom of Information Act -- the CIA regularly struggled with not only Soviet counterintelligence and international upheavals like the Iranian revolution but overlapping missions and domestic budgetary battles with the National Security Agency (NSA) and other entities during the height of the Cold War.
>Among the CIA's successes described in the documents that make up today's posting was the creation of the RHYOLITE geosynchronous satellite program which allowed continuous coverage of missile telemetry and targets in Eurasia. Agency operatives were also able to tap into radio-telephone communications of Communist leaders as they rode in limousines around Moscow, to track Soviet missile launches from two secret stations inside the Shah's Iran, and to intercept Warsaw Pact communications from a tunnel dug under East Berlin.
>These achievements were not without bureaucratic costs. The RHYOLITE program raised hackles at both the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which oversaw much of U.S. satellite intelligence activity, and the NSA, whose personnel initially found themselves cut out of the program. Overseas, the Soviet limo bugging ended after a news report disclosed it and may also have led to the execution of the Soviet agent who installed the listening devices. After the Shah fled Iran during the 1979 revolution, the founders of the Islamic Republic quickly seized the two sensitive US monitoring sites, handing a major loss to American intelligence.
>These and other aspects of the CIA's long involvement with SIGINT are described in over forty documents obtained by Archive Senior Fellow Jeffrey Richelson through Freedom of Information Act requests, archival research, and other websites.
>Check out today's posting at the National Security Archive - http://www.nsarchive.org/NSAEBB/NSAEBB506/
>Find us on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/NSArchive
>Unredacted, the Archive blog - http://nsarchive.wordpress.com/
>THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.
>PRIVACY NOTICE The National Security Archive does not and will never share the names or e-mail addresses of its subscribers with any other organization. Once a year, we will write you and ask for your financial support. We may also ask you for your ideas for Freedom of Information requests, documentation projects, or other issues that the Archive should take on. We would welcome your input, and any information you care to share with us about your special interests. But we do not sell or rent any information about subscribers to any other party.
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Grand jury to hear case against Louisiana deputy who killed boy, 14

March 22, 2015

HOUMA, La. -- A Terrebonne Parish grand jury will hear the case against a sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a 14-year-old boy in September.

The panel will begin hearing evidence Tuesday and probably will decide Wednesday whether to indict Preston Norman in the death of Cameron Tillman, First Assistant District
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2 stories

Organization that assassinated Martin Luther King
still investigating....



Sheriff implementing new policies after four jailers arrested for smuggling in drugs
Posted 6:21 pm, March 23, 2015, by Shay Arthur        

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham said policy changes are being put in place after four jailers were arrested last week .

Oldham had stern words regarding the four jailers who were arrested last week in a sting operation by the Tarnished Badge Task Force, which is made up of members from the Sheriff’s Office, Memphis Police Department and FBI.

“We want to make sure, damn sure, we bring them to justice,” Sheriff Oldham said Monday morning.

Anthony Thomas, Marcus Green, Brian Grammer, and Torriano Vaughn were arrested.

According to Edward Stanton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, the jailers were looking to make a quick buck.

“They were simply drug dealers looking to make extra cash by bringing drugs into 201 Poplar,” Stanton said.

Stanton said the jailers would get in contact with a friend of an inmate and meet them somewhere in Memphis. They would then attempt to deliver what they thought was the Oxycontin to inmates, but Stanton said the Oxy was really a placebo pill.

Sheriff Oldham said his department launched an investigation a year ago when they noticed more inmates illegally havi


Matthew Lowry, FBI Agent, Stole Heroin to Get High ... - NBC News
3 days ago - A Washington, D.C., FBI agent was charged Friday with stealing heroin obtained in undercover investigations and using it to get high.Matthew ...
Ex-FBI agent accused of drug tampering, using seized ... - CBS News
3 days ago - Last Updated Mar 20, 2015 11:37 AM EDT. WASHINGTON -- A former FBI agent was charged Friday with 34 counts stemming from allegations ...
Former FBI Agent Charged With Using Heroin Seized In Drug Busts
3 days ago - WASHINGTON, D.C., March 20 (Reuters) - A former FBI agent used heroin seized ... The investigation into Lowry's behavior began after he was found unconscious in his unmarked FBI vehicle on Sept. .... Part of HPMG News ...

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2 stories

bonus story



FBI informant Anthony Brown sues Los Angeles County
Inmate-turned-informant Anthony Brown is suing Los Angeles County, former sheriff Leroy D. Baca, former undersheriff Paul Tanaka and eight deputies for punitive damages.

Inmate-turned-informant Anthony Brown is suing Los Angeles County, former sheriff Leroy D. Baca, former undersheriff Paul Tanaka and eight deputies for punitive damages.
Friday, March 27, 2015

The inmate at the center of a scandal that led to the conviction of seven Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies has filed a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County, former Sheriff Leroy D. Baca, former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, former captain Tom Carey and all seven of the deputies convicted last year on obstruction of justice charges.

Anthony Brown's claims in the new lawsuit echo what he told Eyewitness News in an exclusive jailhouse interview in May 2014.

Brown was feeding information to the FBI about corruption and inmate abuse inside the Men's Central Jail, which is run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"Those cops in L.A. were crooked. (There were) a whole bunch of things going on -- the drug-selling, beating up the inmates, setting up the fights," Brown told Eyewitness News.

His cover was blown in August 2011 when a deputy found a cellphone that had been smuggled to Brown during an FBI sting designed to catch Deputy Gilbert Michel taking a bribe.

Brown was moved around the jail system, his name was changed multiple times and computer records were falsified to make it appear that Brown had been released from LASD custody.

"I was kidnapped, my name was changed," said Brown. "They put me in cars late at night and took me places. I think I had more than a dozen guards on me 24/7."

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages for cruel and unusual punishment, municipal and supervisory liability, failure to provide adequate medical care, retaliation and civil conspiracy.

"As soon as defendants became aware of plaintiff's cooperation with the FBI's investigation, they conspired to retaliate against plaintiff for his participation as an informant and obstruct that investigation intentionally... hiding and/or kidnapping plaintiff in the jail system under fictitious identities, covertly moving him about and throughout LASD's jail system, and unreasonably kept him in isolation without cause," the lawsuit states.

Brown says he was in "dire fear for his life that defendants would carry out a threat on his life or order/allow other jail inmates/gangs to kill plaintiff because defendants told him, 'No witness, no conviction.'"

Greg Thompson, Steve Leavins, Scott Craig, Maricela Long, Mickey Manzo, Gerard Smith and James Sexton were all convicted last year on charges of obstruction of justice in connection with the operation. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 to 41 months


Philip Zimbardo: The psychology of evil - YouTube
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Zimbardo's Prison Study By: Stephanie Garr & Jennifer Devlin.
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2 stories

1.Robert Durst of 'The Jinx' Nixed After FBI Agent No-Shows


New details of Robert Durst's movements emerge

A court hearing for millionaire murder suspect Robert Durst was postponed for one week after FBI agents subpoenaed by the defense failed to show Thursday morning.

Wearing a yellow jumpsuit, the 71-year-old real-estate scion looked on as his lead attorney sparred with the prosecutors about whether the agents who had detained Durst and searched his hotel room two weeks ago were in contempt.

"We needed more time ... to make sure our employees are well prepared to take that stand," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Duane Evans, conceding that the government asked the agents to ignore the subpoenas from Durst's team.

"It doesn't take any time to prepare to tell the truth," Durst lawyer Dick DeGuerin shot back, accusing prosecutors of playing a game of "hide the ball."

The defense wants to grill the agents about whether they searched Durst's room at the J.W. Marriott in New Orleans — and found a gun and marijuana — before a warrant was issued.

They have filed a motion to get those Louisiana charges dropped so they can take Durst to Los Angeles, where he has been charge


Lawyers for Internet Sex Defendants Focus on FBI Agent
R 04/02/2015

An FBI agent who supervised a North Georgia task force that cruised the Internet for would-be sexual predators has been under criminal investigation for nearly two years, federal prosecutors said in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Rome.

While the investigation of FBI Special Agent Kenneth Hillman remains open, prosecutors have barred lawyers for defendants arrested by the task force from taking testimony from Hillman and others about allegations—including possible instances of perjury—that could throw the cases against their clients in doubt.

Those defendants' lawyers say in court papers that Hillman gave a woman with whom he was having an affair, who had no law enforcement experience, access to the operations of the Northwest Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children joint law enforcement task force in Rossville.

The defendants' lawyers also contend that Hillman gave the woman an FBI computer that she used to target, lure and develop suspects on her own, with only indirect supervision from Hillman. They also claim Hillman allowed his alleged paramour to take part in task force searches and to arrest and handcuff defendants. Hillman then attempted to hide the woman's involvement from defense lawyers, from local law enforcement agencies and from a county grand jury, the defendants' lawyers say.

Federal court pleadings and subpoenas for Hillman signed by Senior Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley in Catoosa County identify the woman as Angela Russell. Russell's attorney, Steven Sadow, told the Daily Report, "As the federal investigation is still ongoing, Ms. Russell is not currently in a position to comment on the allegations or other matters raised in this story."

Hillman referred the Daily Report to his attorney, New York lawyer Lawrence Berger, who could not be reached for comment.

The allegations against Hillman spilled into federal court last year when federal prosecutors asked a judge to quash subpoenas of Hillman and his FBI supervisor that had been sought by counsel for defendants arrested by the task force who faced charges in Catoosa County Superior Court. U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy quashed the state subpoenas in December at the request of the U.S. attorney in South Carolina, who took over the investigation of Hillman after the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Georgia, which had originally asked to quash the subpoenas in Catoosa County, recused.

In his order, Murphy ruled that a state court has no jurisdiction to compel the FBI to produce documents subpoenaed by a defendant in a state criminal action when the FBI and the U.S. attorney have refused to authorize production of the information in question.

FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said Hillman has been suspended without pay. He referred questions about the case, including the status of the task force, to the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Carolina. Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn for the Northern District of Georgia did not respond to questions from the Daily Report addressed to his spokesman, who directed questions to the FBI because the office is no longer handling the case. U.S. Attorney William Nettles of South Carolina could not be reached. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Witherspoon in Columbia said he was not authorized to discuss ongoing investigations.

David Dunn, a Catoosa County lawyer representing two defendants accused in the Internet sex stings, said the information that defense lawyers are seeking from Hillman and the FBI is particularly important "in the sense that there is no victim, other than the pretend victim created by police officers posing as someone else."

"If that work, or that pretense, was delegated to an untrained, unsupervised civilian, that's bad," Dunn said. "If they turned around after the fact and pretended that they, themselves, did the work, that's much, much worse. It's a falsehood by the police officers."

McCracken Poston, who represents a defendant arrested by the task force in 2013, wrote in one court filing that suppressing a criminal defendant's right to examine Hillman or his supervisor "violates the defendants' right to a fair trial and the right to present evidence on their behalf and to compel witnesses to testify."

The defendants' rights, he added, "should be more important than the government's interest in concealing the embarrassing actions of a rogue agent."
Trolling the Internet

Poston, Dunn and other defense lawyers had sought the subpoenas in building defenses for their clients, whom they said were caught up in a series of increasingly questionable sting operations that were run by the North Georgia Internet task force. The federally funded task force, which Hillman coordinated, included officers from Ringgold
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Former DEA task force member resigns amid allegations of sexual improprieties with drug defendant

SPRINGFIELD - A Hampden County Sheriff's Department corrections officer has resigned amid allegations of sexual improprieties with a drug defendant in U.S. District Court.
on April 04, 2015 at

SPRINGFIELD - A spokesman for the Hampden County Sheriff's Department confirmed that embattled corrections officer Jessica Athas resigned this week amid a controversy in federal court over whether she crossed the line with an alleged drug dealer she was cultivating as a street informant.

Richard McCarthy, spokesman for the jail, said Athas - a onetime sergeant who had been demoted to a corporal over the accusations - resigned this week but could provide no further details.

Her resignation came within days of a federal judge announcing that he intends to bring Athas into court to find out whether she plans to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-discrimination if she is called as a defense witness in the trial of Sherad Therrien.

Therrien, 24, of Springfield, is charged with multiple counts of selling cocaine and a loaded gun to an undercover FBI informant in 2013 and 2014. Therrien's lawyer, Springfield attorney Jeanne Liddy, has waged an entrapment defense. She argued Athas wooed Therrien into becoming an informant to help her career. Athas was once a member of a Drug Enforcement Administration task force assembled to combat drug and gang activity locally.

Athas and Therrien met while he was incarcerated at the Ludlow jail and Athas was in charge of identifying inmates with gang affiliations and managing their movements there. Liddy has stated in court records that Athas and Therrien exchanged text messages and gifts, plus met privately after Therrien was released. She said their relationship blossomed into a sexual one.

A U.S. prosecutor wrote in a court filing that he found Athas to be untruthful during two interviews with investigators in January.

Kevin Coyle, a lawyer for Athas, has declined comment and last week refused to say whether Athas plans to plead the fifth if called to the witness stand.

Therrien, whom the government says was caught on videotape selling the drugs and guns, is slated for trial in U.S. District Court starting April 13 before Judge Timothy Hill.
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Florida prosecutor says FBI agent’s troubled past doesn’t change
shooting findings

SEPTEMBER 04, 2015
A Florida prosecutor who cleared a Boston FBI agent in the fatal
shooting of a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has ruled that the agent’s
troubled past does not change his 2014 finding that the homicide was

Prosecutor Jeffrey L. Ashton has admitted that he did not know about
prior allegations of misconduct against FBI agent Aaron McFarlane
while he was investigating the 2013 shooting of Ibragim Todashev in
Orlando. After the Globe reported the allegations last year, the
Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida demanded that Ashto
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'm not sure if you follow this blog. it is fantastic (so you probably already know it) but today's post is a must read (it's nothing new, but all put together in one place and so well-written):
Sue Udry
Executive Director
Defending Dissent Foundation
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FBI agent steals millions from crime scene.

See link for full story


Murdered heiress, mystery, missing millions and more

September 19,2015
Nearly 40 years have passed since millionaire recluse Marjorie Jackson was murdered during a robbery of her home in the 6400 block of Spring Mill Road.

After all that time, questions still linger about the fate of some of the $3 million or more the killers got away with back in 1977 — loot that was part of an unbelievable cache Jackson kept hidden around her home after withdrawing about $8.6 million from the bank in the months before her murder.

“We’ve always thought there was at least $1.6 million that was never accounted for,” said retired Indianapolis police captain Steve Koers, a nephew of Jackson and co-executor of her estate.
“There could be a lot more than that out there. You just don’t know. But the $1.6 million, we know, because of the serial numbers and the amounts she withdrew from the bank.”
Now, an 81-year-old investigative reporter in Arizona has a hunch where at least some of the missing money went. And he thinks the FBI may be hiding key information to protect the reputations of the agency and a deceased former agent he suspects may have kept some of the loot after arresting one of the suspects.
The scenario laid out by Don Devereux is a doozie, for sure. Some will argue it’s nothing more than a wild notion. Others will see it as the fitting explanation for a fantastical case that has seemingly defied plausibility at every turn.
Central to Devereux’s claim are public records, including real estate and financial documents, as well as an FBI file detailing the Phoenix field office’s role in the apprehension of the man later convicted of killing Jackson.
Among the FBI records he obtained last year through a Freedom of Information Act request is a notice that the file was “partially destroyed” in 1993 — something Devereux said he has never encountered in more than 50 previous FOIA requests to the FBI. The agency so far has not provided any explanation for why that part of the file was destroyed, or what the missing documents may have contained.
Devereux said he can’t help but wonder if those missing pages contained information about the possibility of missing money in the Jackson case and whether the bureau believed one of its agents might be involved.
If his theory seems far-fetched, remember this: So was the tangled series of events that culminated in the summer of 1977 when a pair of FBI agents from Phoenix reported digging up $1.7 million buried under five feet of sand in the desert north of Phoenix.
The crime
The killing of Jackson, because of her eccentric lifestyle and the vast amount of money involved, attracted international attention.
It was reported at the time as — and may still be — the largest cash heist from a residential burglary in U.S. history.

Tim Evans/The Star
The home on Spring Mill Road where Marjorie Jackson was killed.
The case remains one of the most fabled crimes in Indiana history thanks to a cast of characters who seem like they jumped out of the script of a Coen brothers movie:
The eccentric grocery chain heiress who kept a table set in anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ, who covered doorknobs and heating vents with aluminum foil and stashed millions of dollars in trash bags, toolboxes, dresser drawers and garbage cans.
A pair of bumbling burglars, one characterized as a small-town hick and the other as a streetwise city hustler.
A sheriff nicknamed “Diamond Don,” who wore a jewel-studded vest and bragged about his past gambling exploits.
Even celebrity lawyer F. Lee Bailey.
Then there were the unbelievable — if they hadn’t been true — details and plot twists:
The crooks’ return to Jackson’s home to cart out even more cash, followed by a bungled attempt to set a fire to cover their tracks.
Their conspicuous spending sprees in the days after the deadly robbery.
The discovery of dozens of neatly wrapped gifts Jackson had left in her home with cards saying they were for “Jesus” and “God,” along with an additional $5 million the thieves had left behind.
A flight to Arizona, where one of the burglars buried at least $1.7 million in the desert — possibly in response to advice from Bailey.
The recovery of that money with the help of a woman who had at least twice married and divorced the suspect.
And, the speculation that millions of dollars from Jackson’s cache still remain unaccounted for all these years later.
Stash of cash
Marjorie Viola O’Connell Jackson’s money came from her husband Chester Jackson, a businessman and shrewd investor who amassed a fortune before his death in 1970.
Chester Jackson’s father, Lafayette Andrew Jackson, founded the Standard Grocery chain that grew to include more than 250 stores in Indianapolis and other cities around the state. Chester Jackson became the company’s president in 1931 after his father was shot and killed during a robbery of the chain’s flagship store in the 400 block of East Washington Street.
Jackson sold the chain in 1947 to the National Tea Co., according to the book “Notorious 92: Indiana’s Most Heinous Murders in All 92 Counties” by Andrew E. Stoner. The account says the sale “allowed (Jackson) to buy $14 million in coal stocks, $5 million in municipal bonds, $1 million in cash and Treasury bills, and other investments.”
“In all,” Stoner wrote, “the Jackson estate was worth more than $25 million.”
Chester Jackson was still married to his first wife when he met Marjorie O’Connell, former Indianapolis Star reporter and editor Dick Cady wrote in his book about the case, “Scavengers: A True Story of Money, Madness and Murder.”
Cady wrote that Marjorie, “who came from a hardscrabble background,” was working at a Murphy’s five-and-dime store in Downtown Indianapolis when they met.
The couple carried on a not-so-secret affair for years before Jackson finally obtained a divorce, according to the book. They were married — the second for both — in 1952. Two years later the couple, who had no children, purchased the home on Spring Mill.
When Chester Jackson died in 1970, Marjorie Jackson inherited an estimated $14 million, depositing most of the money in the Indiana National Bank.
What few knew at the time was that Chester Jackson, who didn’t like the IRS, had for years stashed cash at the couple’s home.
By some accounts, it may have been more than $2 million — but that was only a pittance compared to what was to come.
Marjorie Jackson, who was 60 when her husband died, continued to live at the couple’s home. But as the years went by, she became more reclusive and allowed the property to grow up in tall grass and weeds.

The Star file photo
Sgt. David Paschall of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department counts $236,000, more
Neighbors, quoted in news stories after her murder, said the widow talked to the birds and animals, practiced bizarre religious rituals, spouted racial epithets and even claimed to grow money out of the ground. She had two new Cadillacs in her garage, including one that she never even bothered to license.
In 1976, after a bank employee embezzled $700,000, Jackson began withdrawing her savings. She would show up at the bank and demand $500,0000 to $1 million at a time, taking the stacks of $100 bills home in a suitcase or grocery bags.
Over the course of about four months, Jackson withdrew everything she had in the bank. The total was nearly $8 million.
She hid the money all around her home — in closets, toolboxes, garbage cans and vacuum cleaner bags. The money was interspersed with an odd collection of gifts, from wash cloths to cakes to expensive jewelry, scattered around the house. The neatly wrapped packages had tags that read: “To Jesus Christ from Marjorie Jackson” and “To God from Marjorie.”
Indianapolis attorney Robert “Tommy” Thompson, who worked for the prosecutor’s office at the time, said bank officials, police, a judge and the prosecutor all tried to convince Jackson that keeping so much money at home was a risk. It could, they told Jackson, put her life in danger.
She told them to mind their own business.
Several months before she was murdered, two teens burglarized Jackson’s home. They got away with about $800,000, but she refused to prosecute them — even after one of the thieves confessed to a grand jury.
Thompson visited Jackson after that theft and found himself staring down the barrel of a pistol. It was one of the coldest days of the year, Thompson recalled, and Jackson greeted him and several lawmen in the driveway of her home dressed only in a nightgown.
Jackson denied any money was taken in the recent break-in at her home. When Thompson said one of the crooks admitted to stealing nearly $800,000, Jackson insisted the man was lying.
“Get off my property,” she instructed Thompson and the others.
The next time Thompson saw Marjorie Jackson was about four months later. This time, she was lying dead in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor.
The curious case of the robbery and killing of Jackson began to unfold on May 2, 1977, when an unlikely duo — Howard “Billy Joe” Willard, 38, Mooresville, and Manuel Lee Robinson, 29, Indianapolis — broke into Jackson’s home. The pair left with about $1 million in cash.
They were, according to Indianapolis attorney John M. Schwartz, a fascinating odd couple.
“You had Robinson, a hip, inner-city black,” Schwartz, who was the deputy prosecutor assigned to Robinson’s case, said in a 1987 story marking the 10th anniversary of the robbery and murder. “And then you had Willard, who I think was just an ignorant hillbilly.”
Schwartz, in an interview for this story, said he has mellowed a bit over the years in his assessment of Willard, calling him “a somewhat unsophisticated guy with a rural background.”
Emboldened by the ease of the first burglary — and the lure of the horde of cash they had left behind — the pair returned to Jackson’s home two days later. This time, they were confronted by the widow, and Willard shot her in the stomach with a .22 rifle.
Jackson bled to death — surrounded by the scores of gifts, as well as the fine china and cutlery she laid out in her dining room for her anticipated feast with Jesus.
The burglars tried to set the home on fire, but the small blazed smoldered for hours before it was discovered and firefighters were called. Jackson’s body was discovered after the fire was extinguished.
And despite Willard and Robinson making a return trip to the home, hauling out bags of cash — mostly $100 bills — police found they had left millions behind.
Exactly how much money Jackson had hidden, and how much of that money Willard and Robinson got away with, could never be confirmed, said Schwartz, the deputy prosecutor.
By some estimates, he said, there may have been as much as $15 million stashed at Jackson’s home. More than $5 million was recovered after the fire, Schwartz said, and Willard and Robinson were believed to have taken at least $2 million to $3 million each.
“No one ever really knew how much money she had there,” Schwartz said. “The big open question has always been: Is there more money out there, and where might it be?”
Paid cash for cars
It didn’t take police long to identify and arrest Willard and Robinson in Jackson’s murder.
The men got caught, Schwartz said, because they “were spending money like water” in the days and weeks after the robbery.
Robinson’s public defender, Arnold Baratz, said his client and Willard committed a crime almost impossible to solve, then left a trail nearly impossible to miss.
“If they hadn’t set fire to the house,” he said, “(the killing) might not have been detected for months and months because she was such a recluse.”
The tips that helped break the case came from Indianapolis car dealers. Salesmen became suspicious and alerted police after the men purchased new cars, paying cash. While that wasn’t unheard of at the time, what happened next was: They came back to buy other cars, and again paid in cash.
After Robinson was arrested, $1.6 million was found in a suitcase hidden under a bed at his apartment at 20th and Central. He claimed a man had given him the money to keep but denied knowing the person’s name.
As investigators pressed Robinson about the absurdity of his claim, he eventually said he had the man’s telephone number. It turned out to be the number for the Mooresville home of Willard’s ex-wife and current girlfriend.
Willard and the woman had fled by the time police came to their home but were caught in Arizona. Again, it was their lavish spending that got the couple in trouble. They had paid about $50,000 in cash to buy two used RVs.
Willard was brought back to Indiana, convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died in June 1987 after collapsing while jogging at the Indiana Reformatory.
His partner, Robinson, was acquitted on the murder charge but was convicted of burglary and arson. He was released from prison in 1988 but was arrested again in 1990 and sent back to prison for 10 years.
Robinson, who was last thought to be living in Florida, told Cady he believed law enforcement officials had kept about $450,000 of the cash he got in the Jackson robberies, according to Cady’s 2011 book.
Baratz, Robinson’s public defender, said his client had insisted from the start that he still had some of the loot stashed.
“He always claimed,” Baratz said, “that the police never got all of his money.”
Buried treasure
It was Willard’s ex-wife who led two FBI agents to a spot not far off of I-17 north of Phoenix where they reported finding $1.7 million in cash.
The recovered money had been hidden in two boxes buried in the desert.
At Willard’s trial, according to Cady’s book, the woman testified that celebrity attorney Bailey advised Willard to divide up the money and bury it in several locations to protect the couple from thugs wanting to get their hands on the stash.
That testimony, Cady wrote, prompted Bailey to issue a statement.
“I told him (Willard) I would represent him only if he would surrender and return the money,” the statement said. “ ... I suggested for the safety of the child (who was traveling with them) he place the money somewhere for safe keeping while I negotiated his surrender and not keep the money in the camper.”
According to Devereux’s theory, one of the FBI agents may have found much more cash than they reported — and spirited it off to a Swiss bank account.
The FBI file indicates the recovered money came from only one location. Devereux said it is possible the agent skimmed some money from that find, or went back into the desert later and dug up money from other locations where Willard may have buried it.
Years later, after the investigator had retired, Devereux suspects the money was transferred back to the agent from the Swiss bank account, coming through a Caribbean tax haven, and then used to purchase valuable real estate in Phoenix.
Devereux has property and other financial records in the former agent’s name that show money transferred from Switzerland to the Netherlands Antilles was used to purchase property in the agent’s name. That property was then transferred back to an off-shore holding company he suspects was associated with a trust established by the now-deceased agent.
“The crucial question,” Devereux wrote in a letter to the FBI in April, “... should be whether the ultimate source of those funds was the money still ostensibly missing from the Jackson robbery/homicide.”
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FBI agent faces discipline for alleged polygraph countermeasures
The unnamed career FBI agent could lose their job for allegedly gaming the widely discredited, unscientific polygraph tests that are the US government's equivalent to witch-ducking stools.
Retired FBI scientist, supervisory special agent, and polygraph critic Dr. Drew Richardson published his (eye-wateringly detailed and especially damning) memo to the FBI in support of the agent:

6. In a general sense, no physiological lie response has ever been identified within the human body. Furthermore, I believe probable-lie control question test (PL-CQT) polygraphy, a group of polygraph exam formats widely known by the general public as the so-called “lie detector” test and which are commonly used in FBI polygraph examinations, have little to no value as a diagnostic instrument for determining truth and falsehood. I believe this to be the case for a variety of reasons, one overriding one to be subsequently discussed.

Previous surveys of the members of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Fellows of the American Psychological Association’s Division I (General Psychology) would indicate that my previously-stated general opinion regarding CQT polygraph testing is shared by a large majority of scientists with relevant scientific backgrounds. If, on average, the polygraph examinee is found to have greater responses to relevant questions, he is found to be deceptive, and is found to be non-deceptive, if again, on average, the responses are greater for control questions. These consequences could include (in a criminal matter) further investigation, prosecution, conviction, imprisonment, loss of family, friends, money, reputation, etc. In an administrative and/or screening setting, an inquiry subsequent to a false positive polygraph result might include loss or denial of employment, loss of income, reputation, and general embarrassment amongst many possible consequences and outcomes. Again this has absolutely nothing to do with lying, but with an innocent examinee being concerned about the consequences of being branded a liar; these consequences are those aforementioned and which are clearly associated with the relevant question issues and not the “stealing while in high school” type of control/comparison questions.

This is perfectly consistent with the autonomic nervous system (ANS) physiology being measured by a polygraph examiner and a variable that cannot be reasonably controlled for by that examiner. Peer-reviewed research published in the scientific literature has suggested that the false positive rate (falsely accusing an innocent examinee of being deceptive) could
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Saudi Arabia Prepares to Execute Teenager via “Crucifixion” for Political Dissent
Michael Krieger | Posted Monday Sep 21, 2015 at 10:50 am

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Jason’s death causes us so much pain, says sister

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A sister of an Irishman who died after an attack in the US has spoken publically of her loss for the first time since the incident, saying his death would leave footprints across their lives forever.

Jason Corbett, was found with fatal head injuries at the home he shared in the North Carolina with his second wife, Molly Martens Corbett and his two children from a first marriage.

After his death on August 2, there was a legal battle as his wife tried to keep Jack, 11, and Sarah, 9, whom she had been an au pair to after their mother’s death, with her in the US.

Tracey Lynch, Jason’s sister, wanted to bring the children back to Limerick in line with her brother’s wishes. They are now living with their aunt and her husband David, who are the children’s legal guardians. The police probe into Jason’s death is expected to conclude next month.
READ NEXT First trainees at Waterford Crystal in almost 30 years

Ms Martens Corbett, along with her father Tom, a retired FBI agent, are persons of interest in Jason’s violent death. It is believed that he was hit with a baseball bat at his home.

A message from Ms Lynch was posted on the Facebook page Bring Justice for Jason after her brother’s month’s mind Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Janesboro, Limerick.

In the Facebook posting, Ms Lynch said: “Eight weeks ago today our world was torn apart when my brother Jason was killed in his own home in North Carolina. He was not ill, he did not have an accident, we did not get to say goodbye. I watch my elderly mam and dad bewildered and in so much pain, more than
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see link for full story


Courthouse News Service
Monday, October 05, 2015Last Update: 8:07 AM PT
The Right to Competent, not Perfect, Counsel

WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday obliterated relief for a Maryland police officer who shot his young mistress in the head at point-blank range.
When James Kulbicki killed Gina Marie Neuslein in 1993, the pair were ensnarled in a paternity suit and faced a court appearance in the coming days on unpaid child support.
Kulbicki was married to another woman and he was 14 years older than Neuslein. They had been seeing each other on and off for about two years, and Kulbicki admitted at his murder trial to being the father of Neuslein's 18-month-old child.
The former police officer made headway in his bid for postconviction relief when he complained that his defense attorneys were ineffective for failing to question the legitimacy of certain forensic evidence.
At Kulbicki's trial in 1995, an FBI agent testified about Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis, or CBLA, telling the court that the composition of elements in the molten lead of a bullet fragment found in Kulbicki's truck matched the composition of lead in a bullet fragment removed from Neuslein's brain.
One could "expect" such similarity if "examining two pieces of the same bullet," Special Agent Ernest Peele testified. He said the bullet taken from Kulbicki's gun was not an "exact" match to the bullet fragments, but that the bullets probably came from the same package.
CBLA fell out of favor, however, in the years after Kulbicki's conviction. Kulbicki seized on this when the Court of Appeals of Maryland declared CBLA evidence inadmissible for the first time in 2006, finding that it was not generally accepted by the scientific community.
The Maryland Court of Appeals vacated Kulbicki's conviction in 2013 on that basis alone.
The U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed Monday, finding no support for the "conclusion that Kulbicki's defense attorneys were constitutionally required to predict the demise of CBLA."
"At the time of Kulbicki's trial in 1995, the validity of CBLA was widely accepted, and courts regularly admitted CBLA evidence until 2003," the unsigned decision states.
The justices saw no deficient performance by Kulbicki's defense team in "dedicating their time and focus to elements of the defense that did not involve poking methodological holes in a then-uncontroversial mode of ballistics analysis."
Though Kulbicki complained about his attorneys' failure to find the 1991 report Peele had co-authored - a document that "presaged the flaws in CBLA evidence" - the justices on Monday saw "no reason to believe that a diligent search would even have discovered the supposedly crucial report."
"Given the uncontroversial nature of CBLA at the time of Kulbicki's trial, the effect of the judgment below is to demand that lawyers go 'looking for a needle in a haystack,' even when they have 'reason to doubt
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Police Corruption

Police corruption happens. This is a matter of fact. If police chiefs and politicians care it can be reduced. When bent coppers are frightened of honest ones it is as good as it is ever going to get. A lot of these links point to American sources. Can this number of reports all be wrong? I have not read all

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« * Dugway’s “Chief, Life Sciences Division” and the “Requesting Investigator” both likely would know the disposition of the 340 ml. virulent Ames shipped June 27, 2001 that USAMRIID cannot track
* I have asked Bruce Ivins’ superior by email today to explain the justification for the missing 340 ml. of virulent b. anthracis Ames shipped from Dugway to USAMRIID on June 27, 2001

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 25, 2015


This entry was posted on October 25, 2015 at 11:17 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Tagged: *** Dr. Bruce Ivins, dugway, june 27, USAMRIID, virulent ames anthrax. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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couple of stories about FBI agents/CIA agents working with local
police to bring heroin and cocaine into our communities plus
bonus story



Welcome to the official website of retired DEA Agent Celerino "Cele" Castillo III. Cele Castillo served for 12 years in the Drug Enforcement Administration where he built cases against organized drug rings in Manhattan, raided jungle cocaine labs in the amazon, conducted aerial eradication operations in Guatemala, and assembled and trained anti-narcotics units in several countries.

The eerie climax of agent Castillo's career with the DEA took place in El Salvador. One day, he received a cable from a fellow agent. He was told to investigate possible drug smuggling by Nicaraguan Contras operating from the Ilopango Air Force Base.

Castillo quickly discovered that the Contra pilots were, indeed, smuggling narcotics back into the United States - using the same pilots, planes and hangers that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, under the direction of Lt. Col. Oliver North, used to maintain their covert supply operation to the Contra



The Big White Lie: The Deep Cover Operation That Exposed the CIA Sabotage of the Drug War Paperback – October 8, 2012
by Michael Levine (Author), Laura Kavanau-Levine (Contributor)

Read more



Bonus story


The FBI Director’s Troubling Comments on the ‘Ferguson Effect’

James Comey worries that a spike in crime in some cities is caused by police who are afraid to do their jobs because of public scrutiny.
A protestor films riot police in Cleveland.
October 26 2015

The Ferguson effect is the Bigfoot of American criminal justice: Fervently believed to be real by some, doubted by many others, reportedly glimpsed here and there, but never yet attested to by any hard evidence.

On Friday, FBI Director James Comey professed himself at least open to believing that the phenomenon—the idea that scrutiny of police since the death of Michael Brown in August 2014 has emboldened criminals and made police reluctant to effectively fight crime—is real. While there are plenty of experts who disagree, what makes Comey’s comments so rattling is that if there is an observable Ferguson effect, it may suggest that many law-enforcement agencies have come to rely on abusive or questionable practices, rather than developing other crime-control strategies that could be successful even under public scrutiny.

“The question that has been asked of me, is whether these kinds of things are changing police behavior all over the country,” Comey said during a speech at the University of Chicago Law School. “And the answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know whether this explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year. And that wind is surely changing behavior.”

As Comey acknowledged, there’s no clear proof of a connection. There have been anecdotal stories that argue that criminals are getting bolder—in Baltimore, for example, where violent crime spiked after Freddie Gray’s death in police custody in April—but as Ta-Nehisi Coates has pointed out, most arguments for the Ferguson effect come down to coincidence and hand-waving. Here’s what Comey said Friday:

I’ve been part of a lot of thoughtful conversations with law enforcement, elected officials, academics, and community members in recent weeks. I’ve heard a lot of theories—reasonable theories.

Maybe it’s the return of violent offenders after serving jail terms. Maybe it’s cheap heroin or synthetic drugs. Maybe after we busted up the large gangs, smaller groups are now fighting for turf. Maybe it’s a change in the justice system’s approach to bail or charging or sentencing. Maybe something has changed with respect to the availability of guns.

These are all useful suggestions, but to my mind none of them explain both the map and the calendar in disparate cities over the last 10 months.

A major obstacle to assessing the recent spike is that social scientists struggle to explain fluctuations in the crime rate even when there is copious data to work with. As Inimai Chettiar explained in a deep dive in February, the huge downward trend in crime in the U.S. in the last two decades remains largely unexplained. There’s a raft of theories, none of which effectively explains the drop by itself, and all of which in aggregate still leave most of the decline unaccounted for. Any explanation for the recent rise is likely to be even more speculative, but giving credence to the Ferguson effect risks cutting the police-reform push off at the knees. Comey has not been blind to the importance of scrutinizing the police. During a speech in February, he called for better collection of data about police use of force, angrily denouncing the lack so far. He again spoke of the need for some scrutiny on Friday.

“Part of that behavior change is to be welcomed, as we continue to have important discussions about police conduct and de-escalation and the use of deadly force,” Comey said. “Those are essential discussions and law enforcement will get better as a result.”

But he added: “We can’t lose sight of the fact that there really are bad people standing on the street with guns. The young men dying on street corners all across this country are not committing suicide or being shot by the cops. They are being killed, police chiefs tell me, by other young men with guns.”
Related Story

'It's Time for Good Cops to Do Something About Bad Cops'

The implication of this argument is far more worrisome. (Though whether Comey should trust what those police chiefs are saying in the absence of the data he called for is another question.) The police-reform push and the Black Lives Matter movement arose in response to some clearly troubling
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Zachary Hammond shooting: officer who killed teen avoids criminal charges

Court clears Lieutenant Mark Tiller of Seneca police, who said he killed Zachary Hammond because the 19-year-old drove a car at the officer
Dashcam video has been released of the shooting of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond in South Carolina earlier this year.


Tuesday 27 October 2015 14.21 EDT
Last modified on Tuesday 27 October 2015 15.09 EDT

A police officer in South Carolina will not face criminal charges for shooting dead a young man who was driving away from a drug deal sting operation, prosecutors said on Tuesday, even as new video footage challenged his account of what happened.

Lieutenant Mark Tiller of Seneca police, who said he killed Zachary Hammond because the 19-year-old drove a car at the officer and his patrol vehicle, was cleared despite a dashboard recording showing that Hammond was shot from the side as he passed.

Tenth circuit solicitor Chrissy Adams said that while the video was “troublesome” and “raised questions”, evidence from an inquiry by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (Sled) supported Tiller’s claim that he believed he was about to be run over, meaning “deadly force was justified”.
Family of South Carolina teenager shot by police files lawsuit
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“Zachary Hammond failed to comply with Lt Tiller’s orders and as a result he lost his life,” said Adams, in a letter to Sled investigators. “When Hammond made the conscious decision to flee a lawful stop he set in motion this tragic chain of events.”

The Department of Justice is reviewing the case for potential federal charges, which are not expected.

Adams disclosed in her letter that an attempted drug deal that led to Hammond’s death took place only because Hammond’s female passenger, Tori Morton, accidentally sent a text message from Hammond’s phone to a state trooper whose number was one digit different from her intended buyer’s.

Police told the trooper to play along and set up a meeting to buy marijuana and cocaine later that day in the parking lot of a local Hardee’s restaurant. After arriving and buying ice cream at McDonald’s, Hammond and Morton parked their Honda Civic beside an undercover police officer. “i think im beside u lol,” Morton said in a final text message, which
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US declines to pay damages to Homeland Security supervisor wounded in gov't office shooting
Gov't: No damages for US official injured in office shooting


WASHINGTON A Homeland Security Department employee, Kevin Kozak, rarely sleeps through the night and when he does, he sometimes wakes in a sweat. During the days, he can't forget — flashing back to the smoke-filled room where a disgruntled federal agent fired 23 times at him inside a government office building, shattering his hand and left leg.
Article continues below
FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2012 file photo, a Homeland Security police car is shown parked outside the Long Beach, Calif., Federal Courthouse in Long Beach, Calif. On Feb. 16 an ICE agent opened fire on a supervisor, and then was shot and killed by another agent. The supervisor...
FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2012 file photo, a Homeland Security police car is shown parked outside the Long Beach, Calif., Federal Courthouse in Long Beach, Calif. On Feb. 16 an ICE agent opened fire on... (Associated Press)
This FBI photo acquired by the Associated Press shows the shooting scene at a Long Beach, Calif., Federal Courthouse in Long Beach, Calif. On Feb. 16 an ICE agent opened fire on a supervisor, and then was shot and killed by another agent. The Homeland Security Department missed clear warning...
This FBI photo acquired by the Associated Press shows the shooting scene at a Long Beach, Calif., Federal Courthouse in Long Beach, Calif. On Feb. 16 an ICE agent opened fire on a supervisor, and then...
In this photo taken Oct. 25, 2015, Kevin Kozak is seen near his home in Southern California. Kozak is still struggling with debilitating injuries from the Feb. 16, 2012 gun battle in his office. He underwent seven surgeries to repair his hand, which was in 150 pieces and may yet...
In this photo taken Oct. 25, 2015, Kevin Kozak is seen near his home in Southern California. Kozak is still struggling with debilitating injuries from the Feb. 16, 2012 gun battle in his office. He underwent... (Associated Press)
In this photo taken Oct. 25, 2015, Kevin Kozak shows his hand near his home in Southern California. Kozak is still struggling with debilitating injuries from the Feb. 16, 2012 gun battle in his office. He underwent seven surgeries to repair his hand, which was in 150 pieces and may...
In this photo taken Oct. 25, 2015, Kevin Kozak shows his hand near his home in Southern California. Kozak is still struggling with debilitating injuries from the Feb. 16, 2012 gun battle in his office.... (Associated Press)
This photo provided by Kevin Kozak shows a drawing by his son Teo after Kozak was shot inside a government office building in California in 2012. Kozak said his son and daughter are the main reason he fought to survive the shooting attack. He said they have suffered irreparable harm...
This photo provided by Kevin Kozak shows a drawing by his son Teo after Kozak was shot inside a government office building in California in 2012. Kozak said his son and daughter are the main reason he... (Associated Press)
This photo provided by Kelly Kozak, taken March 19, 2011, shows Kevin Kozak with his daughter in their Southern California home. Kozak, injured in a shooting by a federal agent inside a government office building says he can’t seek damages in the case because he is a government employee. (Kelly...
This photo provided by Kelly Kozak, taken March 19, 2011, shows Kevin Kozak with his daughter in their Southern California home. Kozak, injured in a shooting by a federal agent inside a government office... (Associated Press)
This photo provided by Kelly Kozak, taken March 19, 2011, shows Kevin Kozak with his son Teo in their Southern California home. Kozak, injured in a shooting by a federal agent inside a government office building says he can’t seek damages in the case because he is a government employee....
This photo provided by Kelly Kozak, taken March 19, 2011, shows Kevin Kozak with his son Teo in their Southern California home. Kozak, injured in a shooting by a federal agent inside a government office...
"They're called daymares," he said. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Kozak described the February 2012 shooting that unfolded inside the Long Beach offices of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, which he said left him permanently disabled.

The Associated Press reported this week a new government investigation concluded that the Homeland Security Department had missed clear warning signs of supervisory agent Ezequiel "Zeke" Garcia's descent toward violence and could have intervened before he started the deadly gun battle that left him dead.

Kozak spent seven months in a wheelchair and two years in physical therapy, re-learning how to walk. Doctors say if the pain continues to worsen, he may have to lose his leg.

The Homeland Security Department had briefly revoked Garcia's authority to carry a gun, badge and credentials in August 2011, six months before the shootings, because he told his Los Angeles supervisor, John Rocha, that he had been taking Vicodin over the previous eight months for back pain. The agency returned Garcia's gun after a cursory review — even though Rocha objected because he worried Garcia was suicidal or might hurt others.

Rocha said he was overruled and didn't formally document his concerns over fears Garcia might sue him. More than three years after the shootings, the government hasn't changed its rules to make it harder for federal agents to get their guns back in such cases.

The gov
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Report: 1,000 police have lost their badges for sexual misconduct. Reality: The problem's much bigger than that.


November 1, 2015, 3:30 p.m.

The Associated Press has published a huge investigation into sexual misconduct by police officers, revealing that from 2008 to 2014, 1,000 officers across the country were stripped of their badges (and with them, their certification to work as police in the state) for sex-related misconduct. More than half of the officers — 550 — lost their certification due to sexual assault; another 440 were decertified for other sexual misconduct, which ranged from possessing child pornography or sexting with underage civilians to having (consensual) sex on the job.

What's more alarming is that there's no way that the AP investigation uncovered all — or even most — of the sexual misconduct that police officers engaged in over that period. There are a lot of steps between an officer engaging in misconduct and the officer losing his state certification. Every step presents an opportunity for fellow officers, the police department, prosecutors, or the certification board itself to protect an officer before he's forced to turn in his badge.

Sexual assault is always underreported — and that's especially true when the perpetrator is a police officer

A thousand officers getting fired might sound like a lot, but, of course, it's a pretty small fraction of the number of law enforcement officers in America. Look at it this way: If only 550 officers actually committed sexual assault between 2008 and 2014, the annual sexual assault crime rate among all police would be something like 20 per 100,000 — far lower than the rate for the general population. (According to the FBI, the crime rate for rape alone was 36.6 per 100,000 in 2014.)

But the AP isn't reporting that 1,000 officers committed sexual misconduct between 2008 and 2014 — only that 1,000 of them lost their badges over it. So there are two different questions: How often do police officers engage in misconduct? and When a police officer engages in misconduct, how often does he lose his badge over it?

When misconduct by police officers makes it into the news, it's often related to sex. The AP cites a study of news articles about police misconduct by a professor at Bowling Green State University; it found that sex-related cases were the third most common reason for officers to get arrested "behind violence and profit-motivated crimes." A separate analysis of news articles conducted by David Packman for the National Police Misconduct Reporting Project in 2009 and 2010 found that sex-related misconduct was the second most likely reason for a police officer to make it into the news — after excessive force.

That's extremely surprising. Because sexual assault is generally less likely to come to the attention of police than other crimes.
victims don't report crime to police

Police can only investigate and count crimes that they know about. With the exception of homicide, where there's literally a dead body to be explained away, cops will almost never find out a crime was committed if no one reports it to them. This can skew crime data in plenty of ways, as I've explained, but — as you can see in the chart above — it's a particularly big problem with sexual assault, whose victims are far less likely to go to the police than victims of other types of crimes.

And the reasons that sexual assault is underreported to begin with get compounded when the assailant is a police officer. If a victim doesn't believe that there's any point in reporting her assault because no one will believe her word against her assailant's, or because there's no evidence, or because she's worried her assailant will retaliate — that's probably all the more likely when the person she'd be reporting the assault to is the coworker of the person who committed the assault.
Police departments have opportunities to protect officers from getting in legal trouble over misconduct

Reporting misconduct is only the beginning. It takes a lot more than that to get a police officer stripped of his badge.

A quarter of the nation's police officers are employed in states that don't have any way to decertify a police officer, including California, New York, and New Jersey. But even when states have decertification boards, they rarely have enough power to go after police officers who are being protected by prosecutors or by their departments.

According to the AP's breakdown of state policies for decertifying police officers, only one state — Utah — requires police departments to tell the state certification board every time a complaint is made against a police officer. In the vast majority of states, an officer is only put at risk of losing his certification after he's already been held accountable for the misconduct by someone else.

In many states, law enforcement agencies are only obligated to report misconduct to the state board after an officer is arrested, or in some cases convicted, for a crime. In many states, the agency has to report any ti
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don't you just love the title...


Tarnished idealism
Sheriff under a cloud

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Having had several days to more thoughtfully consider the ongoing state police investigation into Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck, I have some additional thoughts to share.

First, I sincerely hope it proves untrue that the second-term sheriff allegedly ordered his female deputy, Lt. Robin Holt, to illegally backdate the start date for Cradduck's newly hired friend, Gabriel Cox. That act would have enabled Cox to gain an extra week's pay.

I also hope that Cox's claim that she was demoted after refusing to comply with the alleged order, and for cooperating on the investigation, is not proven. Instead of complying, she says she took her concerns to her superior, Capt. Jeremy Guyll, who supported her and contacted the Arkansas State Police.

Cox and Guyll--who says he, too, was demoted afterwards--each filed grievances, claiming shelter beneath the state's whistle-blower act.

Although Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett has been sworn to investigate and prosecute Cradduck should facts dictate, it remained unclear as of deadline last week just what Barrett is investigating.

Nonetheless, I feel certain the allegations most likely include the alleged backdating incident and circumstances swirling around Cox's hiring.

Moreover, District 5 Justice of the Peace Kevin Harrison, who has said he's considered himself a friend of Cradduck's, says he asked the FBI months ago to investigate various actions by the sheriff after a number of deputies had made Harrison aware of their concerns about the way the office was being managed.
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FBI asked to investigate officer-involved fight at Ole Miss football game
Posted 3:43 pm, November 23, 2015, by Michael Quander and Eryn Taylor

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December 1 2015

Public records reveal Adams County deputies' past


-- It has been one month since 62-year-old rancher Jack Yantis was killed during an altercation with Adams County Sheriff's deputies.

It started when a car hit one of Yantis' bulls on Highway 95 and what happened next is the subject of an investigation by Idaho State Police and the FBI.

Adams County Sheriff vehicle
Monday we learned the names of the two deputies involved in the shooting
And today we are learning a little bit more about the history of all three men involved.
Idaho Police Officers Standard and Training Academy records show that before coming to Adams County, Cody Roland, 38, had worked for five other Idaho law enforcement agencies in his 15-year career. Those include the Valley and Canyon County sheriff's offices and the Gooding, Wilder and Parma police departments.
Deputy Brian Wood, 31, worked as a patrol officer for the McCall Police Department before coming to Adams County. Idaho POST records show that he was terminated from that job on Nov. 30, 2011.
Deputies named in Council rancher's shooting
Earlier that same month, court documents show that Rodney Whaley, 79, filed a federal lawsuit against Wood and the McCall Police Department, claiming that Wood used excessive force and violated his civil rights during a traffic stop. The lawsuit states that Wood's actions put the man in the hospital.
The case was settled six months later, and Wood was hired in Adams County in the summer of 2013. POST says that Adams County would've known of Wood's past when they hired him.
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