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Six officers have been charged in Freddie Gray's death. The van driver was charged with second-degree "depraved heart" murder. The charges against the others include involuntary manslaughter, assault and false imprisonment and misconduct in office.
In a news conference, the state’s attorney in Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, described repeated mistreatment of Mr. Gray. Time and again, she said, officers abused him, arresting him without grounds and violating police procedure by putting him in handcuffs and leg restraints in the van without putting a seatbelt on him.
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A South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man. The shooting was captured on video. The man was running away and the officer fired 8 shots, striking him in the back.
The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he had feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man, Walter L. Scott, 50, fled.
...“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mayor Keith Summey said during the news conference. “And if you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”
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A former DEA and Secret Service agent have been charged in Baltimore with stealing bitcoins while working undercover on the Silk Road investigation.
The former agents are Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service.
Mr. Force is being charged with wire fraud, theft of government property and money laundering; and Mr. Bridges is being charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to an affidavit filed in the United States District Court in San Francisco.
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Via Politico, the Office of Inspector General has issued a report on sexual misconduct allegations against agents in four law enforcement agencies in the Department of Justice, including the DEA, FBI, ATF and Marshals Service.
The full report is here. It's over 100 pages long, so I've summarized the more salacious parts below: [More...]
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Defending any criminal case is hard enogh, even when your prosecutor plays it straight.What happens when they lie? Prosecutors have immunity for most things, including withholding evidence, faking opinions and reports.They rarely, if ever, even get a slap on the wrist.
Glenn writes about a California case called " the California case of "The People v. Efrain Velasco-Palacios." In the course of plea bargaining, the prosecutor came up with a translated document, to which he attached a false confession. Eventually, the DA copped to what he did, and the client's charges were dropped. The prosecutor's punishment? None. He's still prosecuting cases in the same office. [More...]
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Denver civil rights attorney David Lane, who represented the family, had this to say:
"The death of Christopher Lopez was easily preventable and was caused by a mentality that the lives of prisoners are worthless. Hopefully, this settlement sends a message not just to Colorado prison authorities but to prison and jail authorities all over the country that the human beings they incarcerate must be treated like human beings."
Three guards were fired, five were disciplined and the Colorado Department of Corrections said:
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Two workers, one of whom agreed to be interviewed, say they witnessed the shooting of Michael Brown. They didn't see the confrontation at Officer Wilson's vehicle, but according to the description of the one who is now speaking out, they did see what happened thereafter.
His account largely matches those who reported that Wilson chased Brown on foot away from the car after the initial gunshot and fired at least one more shot in the direction of Brown as he was fleeing; that Brown stopped, turned around and put his hands up; and that the officer killed Brown in a barrage of gunfire.
The worker said Brown stopped to talk to him around 11:00 am. Later, the worker heard a shot: [More...]
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Several news outlets are reporting Eric Holder will announce the Justice Department's civil rights division will launch an investigation into actions of Ferguson police.
A 1994 federal law gave the civil rights division the authority to probe whether police departments are engaging in a “pattern or practice” of violating constitutional rights or federal rights. The law was enacted after the videotaped beating of African American motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.
...Federal investigators look at patterns of excessive force, complaints against officers, and department training to help officers avoid racial profiling and unnecessary use of force.
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Florida Judge John Murphy got angry when a public defender refused to waive speedy trial. He told the defender if he wanted to fight, to go into the hallway and he'd beat his as*. The public defender didn't think he meant he'd physically beat him, and went into the hallway to continue the verbal dispute. The judge smacked him. The camera doesn't catch the hallway brawl, but you can hear it.
Judge Murphy has been relieved of his duties and will undergo anger management. The public defender's office will file a bar complaint against the judge.
The public defender who got whooped has declined to press charges. [More...]
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Remember the lawsuit filed by a group of contract translators for the DEA who translated Spanish wiretaps over polygraph examinations?
The DEA has settled with the translators, and agreed to pay 14 contractors $500,000. [More...]
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In a very powerful opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright has dismissed the charges against three defendants in an ATF reverse sting case, finding the sting constituted outrageous government conduct.
The opinion is here.
The time has come to remind the Executive Branch that the Constitution charges it with law enforcement—not crime creation. A reverse-sting operation like this one transcends the bounds of due process and makes the Government “the oppressor of its people.” ...In this case, the Constitution will not tolerate subjecting an individual to prosecution for an imaginary crime subject to a very real punishment — a punishment which rests entirely on ATF agents’ whims. Since it is the Court’s sworn duty to uphold the Constitution, the Court GRANTS Dunlap’s Motion to Dismiss the Indictment.
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A woman named Nicole Peterson Speelman in Capetown, South Africa recorded this two minute video clip yesterday and posted it to her Facebook page. A man is pulled out of his car, stripped naked, and then for no apparent reason, kicked and beaten by police, before being put in a van. Truly disgraceful police conduct. (Click on the "full screen" button for a much better view.)
At the end of the video you can hear Ms. Speelman, who apparently took the video from her office nearby, screaming at the cops, asking why they were beating the man. One cop starts to walk in the direction of her voice, and the video ends. A FB friend asked her whether the officer came after her. Her reply:
Yes he came upstairs banged on our door he came to arrest me for sreaming out the window but all of us asked him why did he do that to the man so he said he was just trying to get him in the van and he arrested my collogue for police interference and the charges was later dropped. [More...]
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A chemist with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Pensacola who conducted drug tests in 2,600 cases in 35 counties around the state has been relieved of duty after it was determined some of the drug samples in his cases were tampered with. The chemist allegedly swapped out some of the prescription pills with over the counter pills. Hundreds of drug convictions are now imperiled.
Head-scratching comment from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:
"This situation simply underlines the extent of the problem our country faces with prescription drug abuse."
Really? A police chemist falsifies evidence and the blame lies not with him but with those using the medication?
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Larger version here.
This is an amazing story. 72 former NYC cops and 8 former fireman are among 106 people charged in New York state court for a massive social security fraud scam that robbed the Government of an estimated $400 million. The amounts paid to these defendants was over $20 million. You can read the Indictment here.
The scheme was allegedly spearheaded by a former FBI agent who is former prosecutor (in the rackets unit, no less, of the Nassau County DA's office.) He and the other three organizers allegedly collected $28,000 per applicant.
Keep in mind, the Indictment is merely a charge, and all of them are presumed innocent. Their lawyers say they did nothing wrong.
The DA says many of the defendants falsely claimed they were disabled due to PTSD from the 9/11 attacks.
What did them in? Their Facebook pages, showing photos of them doing activities they claimed they were too disabled to do. And recorded undercover telephone calls. [More...]
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Former MA state chemist Annie Dookhan was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison today for falsifying lab tests.
Dookhan’s falsification of drug tests, in an attempt to look like a highly productive employee, prompted the release of hundreds of convicts, raised questions about thousands of cases, and forced the state to spend millions to address the problems
I reported the details of her fraud, and the implications here.
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