u. s. department of justice

3

Freddie Gray died 2 years ago today — and Baltimore is still seeking police reform

  • It’s been two years since Freddie Gray died from injuries he sustained while in custody of the Baltimore Police Department. 
  • But in the Charm City, “still ain’t shit change,” Black Lives Matter movement activists tweeted Wednesday.
  • Even if little appears to have changed on the police force or in the ways officers treat city residents, there has been some movement. 
  • In April 2015, the state’s attorney’s office charged six officers in connection to the neck and back injuries Gray sustained, which led to his death, during a rough ride in a police van on April 12, 2015, after days of protests and civil unrest in the majority-black city.
  • Although those officers were acquitted in trials or had charges dropped against them, the U.S. Department of Justice investigated police abuse and sued the city into a police reform agreement known as a consent decree. And now, it’s up to city leaders to follow through on those reforms, civil rights leaders said.
  • “To this day, no officers have been held responsible in a court of law for the conduct that led to Mr. Gray’s death, and it’s likely none ever will,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement released Wednesday.
  •  "The only justice we can hope for now is the meaningful policing reform that the residents of Baltimore so deeply deserve.“ Read more (4/19/17)

follow @the-movemnt

2 more arrested for allegedly performing female genital mutilation on minors in Michigan

  • The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that two people have been arrested and charged by criminal complaint for “alleged participation in a conspiracy that involved performing female genital mutilations on minors.”
  • Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife Farida Attar, 50, reportedly worked with Jumana Nagarwala, a Detroit physician who was arrested April 12 and charged with illegally performing FGM on minors, including girls as young as 6 years old. Read more (4/21/17)
cnbc.com
Lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the Constitution just expanded
A nonprofit watchdog expanded a lawsuit accusing President Trump of letting his businesses accept payments from foreign governments.
By CNBC

A nonprofit watchdog expanded a lawsuit accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by letting his hotels and restaurants accept payments from foreign governments.

The amended complaint filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan adds a restaurant trade group, whose members include nationally known chefs Tom Colicchio and Alice Waters, and a hotel events booker in Washington, D.C. as plaintiffs.

It is intended to address concern over whether the watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was itself harmed by Trump and had standing to sue at all.

Trump is expected to respond by April 21, and had said the original lawsuit filed on Jan. 23 had no merit.

Spokesmen for the U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

The amended complaint said Trump violates the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, which bars him from accepting various gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval, by maintaining ownership over his business empire despite ceding day-to-day control to his sons, Eric and Donald Jr.

A Detroit Emergency Room physician was charged by complaint for performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on minor females.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Detroit Field Office made the announcement.

Jumana Nagarwala, M.D., of Northville, Michigan, is charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan. According to the complaint, some of the minor victims allegedly traveled interstate to have Nagarwala perform the procedure. The complaint alleges that Nagarwala performed FGM on girls who were approximately 6 to 8 years old. This is believed to be the first case brought under 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes FGM. Nagarwala was arrested and is scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit this afternoon.

“According to the complaint, despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”

“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”

“The allegations detailed in today’s criminal complaint are disturbing,” said Special Agent in Charge David Gelios. “The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners, are committed to doing whatever necessary to bring an end to this barbaric practice and to ensure no additional children fall victim to this procedure.”

“The allegations against the defendant in this investigation are made even more deplorable, given the defendant’s position as a trusted medical professional in the community,” said Special Agent in Charge Francis. “My sincere hope is that these charges will give support to those who have allegedly suffered both physically and emotionally.”

A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI’s Detroit Division and HSI investigated the case with support of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan and the FBI’s International Human Rights Unit, Criminal Investigative Division. Deputy Chief Sara Woodward of the Eastern District of Michigan and Fraud Section Assistant Chief Nick Surmacz and Trial Attorneys Amy Markopoulos and Malisa Dubal are prosecuting the case.

The FBI’s Detroit Field Division has set up a tip line for anyone who has information pertaining to the illegal practice of FGM or Dr. Jumana Nagarwala. Please call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984) or file an e-tip at FBI.GOV/FGM.

From Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs

Supposedly she has been doing this for 12 years. If proven guilty of these barbaric acts, may she receive the full punishment allowed under our legal system.

washingtonpost.com
FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page
By https://www.facebook.com/ellennakashimapost/

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

washingtonpost.com
FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page
The Justice Department and the FBI convinced a judge of probable cause to believe Page was suspected of acting on Russia’s behalf.
By https://www.facebook.com/ellennakashimapost/

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

6

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is a branch of law enforcement within the U.S. Department of Justice that is responsible for transporting federal prisoners, serving federal arrest warrants, executing manhunts for wanted fugitives, and enforcing the decree of federal courts. They are also responsible for protecting witnesses who are testifying in federal court, and individuals who are protected under federal witness protection. Additionally, they are tasked with managing assets that are seized from federal offenders. They are a separate entity from state law enforcement and act under the authority of the federal government of the United States. Essentially, they are the police force of the federal government.

The Marshals were created in 1789 by the first American president, George Washington, to execute warrants and to act as officers of the court, making it the oldest law enforcement agency in the United States. In their early years, Marshals were responsible for recruiting and swearing in deputies to act as local law enforcement for new territories, and were authorized to swear in a posse to assist them with manhunts. They were also charged with organizing trials and paying juries, as well as hiring bailiffs and criers. (A “crier” was an officer of the court whose duty was to vocalize developments of the case to the public, by standing outside the courthouse and ringing a bell, reading from a parchment.)  In the old west days, Marshals were the sole agency in the enforcement of law, and quite often a small group of Marshals or even a solitary Marshal was responsible for maintaining order for vast territories of land. Notable Marshals from the Old West Era include Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Dallas Stoudenmire.

Between 1850-1855, Marshals were tasked with enforcing the recovery and arrest of fugitive slaves, who upon capture were returned to their “owners” under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The act was nullified in 1855 after the Wisconsin Supreme Court, (the only state to do so) declared the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional under Habeas Corpus.

Between 1920-1933, Marshals were tasked with the enforcement of the prohibition of alcohol.

In the 1960’s, Marshals were a presence in the front lines of the civil rights movement, and provided protection for black schoolchildren and college students integrating into public schools. In September of 1962, President John F. Kennedy ordered 127 Marshals to escort James Meredith to register at the University of Mississippi. Famed American painter Norman Rockwell depicted the Marshals protection of Ruby Bridges in his famous painting “The Problem We All Live With”.


Since 1975, Marshals have been additionally tasked with responsibility for providing law enforcement for United States Air Force Missiles, and among U.S. scientific outposts in Antarctica. They provide protection for American Athletes at Olympic Games, and for abortion clinics as required by federal law. Marshals may also act as law enforcement in courthouse security for high profile cases. Dylann Roof, Convicted and sentenced to death for the Charleston Church shooting, was escorted from the Cleveland County courthouse in Charleston, South Carolina, to the United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute, by Federal Marshals.

npr.org
Justice Department To Review All Civil Rights Agreements On Police Conduct
The order by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the bid to reassess an agreement in Baltimore may signal that the Trump administration plans to scale back investigations and reopen past deals.

The leader of the U.S. Justice Department has ordered federal authorities to emphasize building partnerships with local law enforcement over hard-nosed investigations of them, asking a federal judge in Baltimore to delay a hearing this week on a deal to overhaul the city’s troubled police force and casting a cloud over a host of other federal consent decrees that target unconstitutional law enforcement practices.

The new directive by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the bid to reconsider an agreement in Baltimore are the strongest signs yet that the Trump administration not only plans to scale back the number of new investigations it launches into unconstitutional policing, excessive force and other law enforcement misconduct allegations but also the likelihood it will seek to reopen agreements the Obama civil rights unit had already negotiated.

[…]

But police reform advocates and former Justice Department investigators said the extraordinary change of course by the Trump administration is missing the point. Most of the two dozen police investigations the Obama administration pursued under a law passed after the brutal beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles uncovered patterns of brutality and racial discrimination, problems the DOJ attributed to sweeping, systemic problems in local law enforcement agencies, not a few bad apples on the force.

“The request for a delay is alarming and signals a retreat from the Justice Department’s commitment to civil rights and public safety in Baltimore,” said Vanita Gupta, who ran the civil rights division under President Obama until January. Gupta added that the Baltimore agreement had been the product of extensive input from the city, residents, the police department and a law enforcement union “in order to address serious constitutional violations that had undermined public trust and public safety in the city.”

Twitter dropped its lawsuit after the US government withdrew its demand to unmask those behind anti-Trump account

(Alex Brandon/AP)
SAN FRANCISCO - Twitter on Friday dropped a lawsuit it had filed a day earlier against the U.S. government, saying in court papers that the government had withdrawn a summons for information about an account critical of President Donald Trump.

A lawyer for the social media company, Mark Flanagan, wrote in court papers that a U.S. Justice Department lawyer told Twitter about the withdrawal of the summons on Friday and that the demand “no longer has any force or effect.”

It was not immediately clear why the government had withdrawn the summons or whether it had closed an investigation it said it was conducting. The Justice Department, which defends federal agencies in court, declined to comment. The Department of Homeland Security, which issued the summons, had no immediate comment.

Twitter cited freedom of speech as a basis for not turning over records about the account, @ALT_uscis. The people behind the account have not disclosed their identities, but the use of “ALT” with a government agency acronym has led many to assume government employees are behind such tweets.

(A screenshot of the Twitter account the US government was seeking to unmaskTwitter)

The lawsuit said the account “claims to be” the work of at least one federal immigration employee.

The acronym U.S. CIS refers to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the account describes itself as “immigration resistance.” Trump has vowed to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and has promised to deport millions of illegal immigrants.

Following Trump’s inauguration in January, anonymous Twitter feeds that borrowed the names and logos of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies appeared to challenge the president’s views on climate change and other issues. They called themselves “alt” accounts.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment beyond the court papers.

The lawsuit gave Twitter a chance to assume a favorite role as a defender of free speech, offering a respite for a company that has struggled recently to expand its audience, excite investors or attract new revenue streams.

On Thursday, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in a statement that the summons was a waste of resources to try to uncover an anonymous critic, and he called on the Homeland Security inspector general to investigate who directed the “witch hunt.”

How it all started:

When it first filed its lawsuit on Thursday, Twitter said the account in question, @ALT_USCIS, had been known to “express public criticism of the department and the current administration,” but that Twitter and its users were protected under the First Amendment.

The US government, Twitter said in the complaint, “may not compel Twitter to disclose information regarding the real identities of these users without first demonstrating that some criminal or civil offense has been committed, that unmasking the users’ identity is the least restrictive means for investigating that offense, that the demand for this information is not motivated by a desire to suppress free speech, and that the interests of pursuing that investigation outweigh the important First Amendment rights of Twitter and its users.”

Twitter argued that the “defendants have not come close to making any of those showings.”

“To unmask an anonymous speaker online, the government must have a strong justification,” Twitter said in the complaint. “But in this case, the government has given no reason at all, leading to concerns that it is simply trying to stifle dissent.”

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)



More From Business Insider