Category Archives: Department of Justice

Con Artists That Cheated Inmates And Their Families Are Now Inmates

This is one of those cases where after I read it, I was filled with numerous emotions.   I was saddened by knowing there are heartless people who take advantage of the vulnerable.  I was saddened that those financially and emotionally damaged will not recover their losses.   I felt despair because the perpetrators ran their scam for 7 years before they were brought to justice.  I felt anger that the perpetrators would use the federal judicial system to illegally enrich themselves.

I was frightened because based on the charges, had they not used mail and wire in conducting their activity, they might have gotten away with it unless the states where they operated found an appropriate charge.

As Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, describes this case;

“Sentencing reduction fraud schemes that prey on the desperation, vulnerability and trust of federal inmates and their families exploit both the victims and the justice system. Federal partners across the nation will continue to target such schemes and prosecute the offenders.”

That is one reason why I feel this case is important to write about; i.e., there might still be con artists conducting this crime.   The public needs to know about this.

Imagine that you have a relative serving time in federal prison.  Along comes a company that promises they will get the sentence reduced by filing a Rule 35 Motion.  They require payment for their services.

As an average person who knows little to nothing about Federal Rules, would you know how to look it up?  Would you know about “standing” to understand the correct procedures?

In the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 35 allows the court to reduce a defendant’s sentence if the defendant is found to have provided substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.   ONLY GOVERNMENT PROSECUTORS CAN FILE SUCH A MOTION, AND THEY DO IT WITHOUT CHARGE.

On June 29, 2017, 40-year old Alvin James Warrick of Beaumont, Texas was sentenced in Miami, Florida to 235 months in prison.  On the same day, 36-year old Colitha Patrice Bush of Port Arthur, Texas was sentenced in Miami, Florida to 96 months in prison.  They have been ordered to forfeit $4.4 million.  U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard of the Southern District of Florida entered the sentence.

Previously, Warrick and Bush pled guilty to wire and mail fraud conspiracy charges in connection with the scam they operated that targeted federal inmates and their families in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere.

In addition to their sentences for the Southern District of Florida matter, Warrick and Bush were also sentenced in a related case originally brought in the Eastern District of Texas, and subsequently transferred to Florida.

A third person was involved named Roland Bennett Shepherd, 32, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 28 months.  He pled guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in the scam.

The scam was run from 2009 through September 7, 2016.  The perpetrators held themselves out as owners and operators of Private Services, a company that reportedly worked with a network of informants and law enforcement personnel to identify and provide information and third party cooperation that could be credited to federal inmates in Rule 35 proceedings.

They used aliases such as “Peter Candlewood,” “Diane Lane,” and “Diane Rice,” targeting federal inmates and their families by phone, text, email, mail and in-person services.  Read the rest of this entry

Sweeping change at DOJ under Sessions

The Fifth Column

Sweeping change at DOJ under Sessions© Victoria Sarno Jordan

THE HILL

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought sweeping change to the Department of Justice.

In just two months as the nation’s top cop, Sessions has moved quickly to overhaul the policies and priorities set by the Obama administration.

He has rolled back protections for transgender students that allowed children to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity and rescinded plans to phase out the federal government’s use of private prisons.

He called for a review of reform agreements, known as consent decrees, reached with local police departments to address allegations of misconduct. Many of the consent decrees were drafted in response to fating shootings by police.

Sessions has made immigration enforcement a top priority. Late last month he put “sanctuary” cities on notice, announcing that grant money would be withheld from state and local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities and…

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Trump’s Executive Order – 9th Circuit Court of Appeals To Hear Argument On Temporary Injunction – Live Streamed

Because of public interest, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals plans to live stream oral argument on the temporary injunction order entered by the Washington federal court.  It can be accessed at this link.

Oral argument begins at 3 p.m. P.T.  That’s 5 p.m. CST and 6 p.m. on the East Coast.  Some sources are reporting that the live stream will be audio only because the attorneys are appearing by phone.

The 9th Circuit has also opened a website for documents filed in and proceedings held in the State of Washington and State of Minnesota v. Trump.

It began on January 27, 2017 when Trump signed an Executive Order barring citizens from 7 predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days; refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.

The ACLU filed a petition that resulted in a temporary injunction of Trump’s Executive Order that the court granted. Petitions were filed in other federal circuits as well.

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston granted a temporary injunction, but refused to extend it.  It was filed by the ACLU on behalf of 2 University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth professors who returned from an academic conference and were retained at Logan Airport.  The professors are Iranian Muslims and lawful permanent U.S. residents.  They were eventually allowed to re-enter.

It is the order entered by U.S. District Judge James Robart of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington that sprung the Trump administration into action.  That order places a temporary injunction on Trump’s Executive Order nationwide.  Attorneys for the DOJ filed a notice of appeal and motion to stay the temporary injunction.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the stay.  It’s the appeal to the temporary order that is scheduled for hearing today.

Follow-up reports will be posted in the comment section.

 

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Fired By Donald Trump. What It Means For America.

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Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

There’s so much in the news regarding President Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims from 7 countries from entering the United States, that following it is almost like putting a jig saw puzzle together.  There are many, many pieces that make the whole.

On Saturday, a U.S. District Court judge placed a temporary injunction on Trump’s Executive Order.  A hearing is scheduled for next month.  That means that the federal judge is giving the United States (Trump) time to prepare and file a defense as to why the Executive Order is not in violation of the constitution.  It has now been reported that four federal judges have temporarily enjoined the Executive Order.

Earlier this evening, cable news reported that the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, was not going to defend Trump’s Executive Order.  According to the New York Times;

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” Ms. Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers.

Raw and other sources now report that President Donald Trump has “relieved” acting Attorney General Sally Yates of her duties as reported by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Spicer made the announcement via Twitter, writing: “@POTUS has named Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of VA as Acting Attorney General. Sally Yates has been relieved.”

The Danger In Trump’s Firing of Yates

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Department of Justice Investigative Findings Of The Chicago Police Department

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Photo credit (Jose Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The United States Department of Justice completed a probe of the Chicago Police.  Its investigation was conducted over a period of 13 months. They found that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) used biased techniques to investigate officers and a consistent unwillingness to probe or dispute officers’ statements.

The Chicago police force is one of the nation’s largest, with 12,000 officers.

The DOJ also found that the police received insufficient training in de-escalation techniques and poor training on all levels.

The investigation also found Constitutional violations, and violations of federal law by officers in the use of force, racial disparities and other systemic problems.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports;

“The Justice Department and City Hall have hammered out a pact, called a “statement of agreement,” which will detail remedies the city has already or will be taking to address problems that have ruptured relations between police and the people they serve, particularly minority communities.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be out of office on January 20, 2017, and wanted to complete DOJ investigations in Baltimore and Chicago before the new administration takes over.  Read the rest of this entry

Seattle Police Department Won’t Comply With Constitutional Policing Without Wage Hike

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U.S. District Court Judge James Robart

Federal district court judge James Robart is a President George W. Bush appointee.  He is presiding over a case involving a consent decree between the Department of Justice and the City of Seattle.  The decree was reached in 2012, and required the city to remedy unconstitutional practices including illegal stops, unreasonable and deadly use of force, and other practices.

In order to fulfill its legal obligation, Seattle attempted to reach a compromise with the police union this summer, offering a new contract that mixed the requisite reforms with wage hikes. The union overwhelmingly rejected the contract on the grounds that it did not sufficiently reward officers with more money and benefits in exchange for engaging in constitutional policing.

“The court and the citizens of Seattle will not be held hostage for increased payments and benefits … ,” U.S. District Judge James Robart said of contract talks, adding, “I’m sure the entire city of Seattle would march behind me.”

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DOJ Report on Baltimore Police Department. How Unlawful Arrests Are Damaging.

The DOJ released its report on its investigation into the Baltimore Police Department.  You can read the entire 164 page report here.  I’ve also placed a link to the report on the right-side border under “Documents”.

The DOJ ends its report by summarizing its findings;

“For the foregoing reasons, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law. The pattern or practice includes: (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests; (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans; (3) using excessive force; and (4 ) retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally -protected expression. We also identified concern s regarding BPD’s transport of individuals and investigation of sexual assaults. BPD’s failings result from deficient policies, training, oversight, and accountability, and policing strategies that do not engage effectively with the community the Department serves. “

The part I want address concerns stops and arrests that are not prosecuted. Read the rest of this entry

St. Louis Detective and Prosecutor Sentenced By Federal Court

Let’s see if we can figure this out, and why it takes digging into several media sources to get all of the details.  Seriously, my research about this case took me back to July 2014, and online news sources St. Louis Today, Fox news, and the Washington Times.

On July 22, 2014, St. Louis, MO police detective Thomas A. Carroll assaulted handcuffed suspect, Michael Waller.  He didn’t report it to superiors and assisted in filing charges against Waller.

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Thomas A. Carroll (photo by J.B. Forbes)

After 25 years on the job, Carroll was suspended without pay in late July 2014 amid ongoing criminal and internal investigations that is said to have involved the FBI.  Subsequently, Carroll retired.  Internal affairs charged Carroll with failure to follow an order.

Michael Waller was charged on July 23, 2014 with receiving stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card, along with an escape charge relative to resisting arrest.  He was allegedly in possession of a stolen credit card that belonged to Carroll’s daughter.  His booking photo shows that he had a black-eye.

Two St. Louis prosecutors, Bliss Worrell and Katherine Dierdorf, were forced to leave their jobs because of their knowledge of events, and the circumstances related to charging Waller.  There was investigation that Carroll was giving prosecutors unauthorized ride-alongs that included allowing them to use his taser on suspects.  The same day that Worrell and Dierdorf left their jobs, the charges against Waller were dismissed. Read the rest of this entry

Investigation Into The Death of Kendrick Johnson – DOJ’s Announcement of No Charges

(I’m writing this on 3 hours of sleep, so please forgive any typographical errors.)

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Kendrick Johnson

In January 2013, 17-year old Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a gym mat in the Lowndes High School gym in Georgia. The US Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia opened an investigation in October of 2013.

This afternoon, DOJ offices announced that they will not file criminal charges in the death of Kendrick Johnson due to “insufficient evidence” to prove that anyone “willfully violated Kendrick Johnson’s civil rights” or committed any other crime.

Acting U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon stated;

 “The Department of Justice, in particular the lawyers and investigators who have worked tirelessly on this investigation, express their most sincere condolences to Kendrick Johnson’s parents, family, and friends. We cannot imagine the pain of their loss, or the depths of their sorrow. We regret that we were unable to provide them with more definitive answers about Kendrick’s tragic death.”

In October 2015, the DOJ filed a motion in the civil case that Kendrick’s parents filed for wrongful death.  In their filings, they said that their investigation expanded to include witness tampering and obstruction of justice.  They also advised the Georgia court that the grand jury had convened. Read the rest of this entry

Insurrection in Oregon

Thanks for the history and being candid. I totally agree that this is a dangerous group, and they are playing to other hate-groups that have, since 2008, wanted a civil war in this country to destroy the federal government.

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

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Ammon Bundy (Photo the Oregonian) 

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

It is seldom now that I get this spun up, but I have had it with violent conspiracy theorists using the cover of patriotism to mount an insurrection. Let’s be honest and call what is happening in Oregon what it is. It is armed insurrection and terrorism being perpetrated by extreme right wing, pseudo-Christian, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis. The list of extreme supporters has exploded on the Internet today, and frankly if you actually bother to read something about them even their own materials, they are a violent and dangerous bunch.

Led by Cliven Bundy’s sons Ammon, and Ryan Bundy, and former Army sergeant Ryan Payne who threatened to kill Federal agents during the standoff at the Bundy Ranch in 2014, these people are a threat, not just to society in general, but to the causes that they purport to…

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The Killing of Laquan McDonald

It’s not what Laquan did or did not do. Rather, it is what the Chicago Police Department did after officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan.

Brandon Smith’s introduction on The Guardian, says that he  is a Chicago-based independent journalist who, with the help of whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information Act, has reported on civil rights abuses, privatization of public assets, digital privacy concerns and pollution of land and water.”

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway talk to reporters Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, after a Cook County judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release a video of an officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Nov. 25, in Chicago. The video is said to show the officer shooting McDonald 16 times in October 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

“Independent journalist.” I like that title because it reflects a form of journalism that has almost gone the way of the dinosaur. It would be correct to replace “independent” with “investigative” in this matter, because what Brandon Smith did goes beyond reporting. Without the backing of a publication to finance his endeavors, Brandon Smith did not have to proceed at his own costs. Brandon worked along with another independent journalist, Jamie Kalven, and University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman. Because they are independent journalists, they aren’t often issued press credentials to attend press conferences and such.  In fact, he was not allowed to attend the press conference that discussed the release of video that came about due to his persistence and good work.

Had they not been independent and determined, we would not have the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Without the release of the video, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke would still be on paid desk duty; and his fictionalized report of what happened would be business as usual in cover-ups.

Kalven filed the Freedom of Information request for the video. The City declined his request. Brandon’s battle for release of the video began in May, 2015. In an article published in The Chicago Reader on August 7, 2015, Brandon wrote:

“But I’m not taking no for an answer—particularly in light of Kalven v. Chicago, an Illinois Appellate Court decision last March that established information about police misconduct is public, except in limited circumstances that don’t apply in the case of the McDonald shooting video.”

Read the rest of this entry

ACLU Intervenes In Case Involving Disclosure of Personal Information

ACLUThis morning, Victor Blackwell of CNN, (@VictorCNN), tweeted that the ACLU has submitted a brief in the Kendrick Johnson case. They have taken a friend of the court position pertaining to the disclosure of the identity of 23 Twitter handles and cites First Amendment and privacy.

It’s actually the civil case filed by Kendrick’s parents for wrongful death.   The Bell family responded with a counter-suit, alleging defamation. In their counter-claim, they allege that Kendrick’s mom used “authorized agents” to defame them on social media.

On November 2, 2015, I wrote in a post that people had been notified by Twitter that their account information had been subpoenaed in the Johnson v. Bell case.   The Department of Justice filed a motion to intervene and a motion to stay discovery for 180 days pending completion of their investigation. The DOJ has extended their investigation into witness tampering and obstruction. The court denied the DOJ’s motions.

Also reported in that post is that a person who is a known internet harasser and extortionist tweeted to several individuals that their Twitter account information had been subpoenaed, and he did so days before Twitter notified those individuals. It’s the same person that one of our (as of Nov. 23, 2015, form writer) Santiago, has a restraining order against and is currently in court in a contempt proceeding, alleging violation of that restraining order. Read the rest of this entry

DOJ Settles With Cleveland Over Police Conduct

The Justice Department has reached a settlement with the city of Cleveland over the conduct of its police officers, according to a Justice official, the latest case in which the Obama administration has investigated excessive use of force and the violation of constitutional rights by a local department.

The settlement, amid the growing national debate about American policing, is expected to be announced early this week, the official said. It comes just days after a judge acquitted a Cleveland police officer for his role in the fatal shooting of two unarmed people in a car in 2012 after officers thought the sound of the car backfiring was gunshots.

The Justice Department in December issued a scathing report that accused the Cleveland Police Department of illegally using deadly force against citizens. The Justice Department’s civil rights division found that the Cleveland police engaged in a “pattern or practice” of unnecessary force — including shooting residents, striking them in the head and spraying them with chemicals.

In one incident, an officer used a stun gun on “a suicidal, deaf man who committed no crime, posed minimal risk to officers and may not have understood officers’ commands.”

The police were also accused of repeatedly punching in the face a handcuffed 13-year-old boy who had been arrested for shoplifting.

The Cleveland report was released the month after a 12-year-old African American boy, Tamir Rice, was fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer. Cleveland officers had responded to a 911 call that reported a person pointing a gun. It turned out to be a toy pistol.

A Justice Department spokeswoman would not comment on the settlement, which was first reported on the Web site of the New York Times.

When last year’s report about Cleveland was released, then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. traveled to the city to announce the findings and said the Justice Department and the city had agreed to establish an independent monitor who would oversee police reforms. The changes will include better training and better supervision of officers, Holder said.

There have been more than 20 investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in the past 5 years. The investigations have resulted in 15 agreements with law enforcement agencies, including New Orleans and Albuquerque.  The Justice Department recently opened an investigation of the Baltimore police department.

UPDATE

Here is the consent decree that the Cleveland police department entered into with the government.

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On a separate matter, I will be off and on today — probably offline more than on.  Tomorrow, I might reblog some articles and unless something comes up that is really interesting, that might be the case for several days until I catch-up on some personal matters and begin feeling better.

Remember to keep the Golden Rule. 

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Vows to Investigate John Crawford’s Shooting Death in Walmart

I certainly hope that the DOJ looks into the man who made the 911 call, because it could be pretext to violate John’s civil rights because of his race.

GOOD BLACK NEWS

John Crawford's parents met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch (Photo: John Crawford’s parents met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on May 19, 2015 (Photo: WLWT TV)

Loretta Lynch will investigate the death of John Crawford III, 22, who was shot last summer as he held an air rifle inside a Walmart in Ohio, according to WLWT TV.

Lynch, who was confirmed as the U.S. Attorney earlier this month, met with Crawford’s family Tuesday during a visit to Cincinnati to discuss police reform, reports the television news station.

Crawford’s parents tell the station that Lynch met with them for about 15 minutes, and pledged to investigate the shooting, which drew protests over the killing of young Black men by police around the country.

The family has filed a suit against the city of Beavercreek, the two Beavercreek officers involved, the police chief, and Walmart Stores Inc., charging negligence and violation of Crawford’s civil rights.

The officer who shot Crawford claims…

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Police Sergeant and Dispatcher Arrested On Federal Charges

Newtown, Connecticut is now added to cities where staff on its police force have been charged with committing crimes.

(Eventually, all the bad might just be rooted out and we can build trust.)

The investigation was called “Operation Juice Box.” It involved a ring of people who received shipments of steroids from China, and also conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. It took almost 2 months and involved wire and electronic surveillance. Federal law enforcement officers seized hundreds of vials of steroids, about 600 grams of raw testosterone powder, 350 grams of powder cocaine, and 4 long guns.

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Sgt. Steven Santucci

Sgt. Steven Santucci, 38, of the Newtown police department, allegedly received steroid shipments from China and had been doing so since 2011. He manufactured and distributed wholesale quantities of steroids.

Along with Santucci, others arrested include Jason Chickos, 46, a dispatcher with the Newtown police department, and Jeffrey Gentile, 33, a Judicial Marshal with the State of Connecticut. Five others were also arrested, including 2 charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

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One Person Charged In The Investigation Of The Death Of Kendrick Johnson

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Kendrick Johnson would have graduated high school this year.

It’s rather insignificant because it doesn’t lead to identifying who killed 17-year old Kendrick Johnson, but it’s significant in the sense that there are consequences for people who break the law.

You might remember about the anonymous email purporting to have overheard a confession in the killing of 17-year old Kendrick Johnson. We reported it in March 2014.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous email dated January 27, 2014. The sender did not suggest that he or she witnessed the confession. Rather, the sender claims to have been given that information by someone who purportedly is aware of the confession by a person implicated in the email. Read the rest of this entry

Recent News On Ferguson and St. Louis

Federal Probe Into St. Louis Police Department

St. Louis CBS Local News reports that as many as 25 St. Louis City police officers are under investigation for being hired to protect drug dealers. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says the involved officers are no longer on active duty as the investigation continues.

The Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Circuit Attorney are all involved in the investigation that began in December. The investigation began when an off-duty police officer was shot in North St. Louis. The off-duty officer returned fire and the man he shot later turned up dead in a burning car.

In a press release by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, they state that they are unable to discuss details or findings before the investigation has concluded.

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Ferguson Municipal Judge Resigns

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Justice Department – Ferguson Police Department Routinely Violates Constitution and Federal Law.

USA Today reports;

“A Justice Department review has found that the troubled Ferguson Police Department engaged in a pattern of racially biased enforcement during suspect stops and used unreasonable force against a disproportionate number of African American suspects, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the findings.”

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Ferguson Chief of Police Thomas Jackson

The results of the investigation were detailed in a meeting between Ferguson and Justice Department officials on Tuesday. The full report should be released by tomorrow.

The Black population in Ferguson is 67%. However, the Justice Department conducted an investigation that covered 3 years, and found that 85% of people involved in vehicle stops were Black; 90% who received tickets were Black, and 93% of those arrested were Black. Were they all guilty? No. The Justice Department found that police in Ferguson routinely made arrests without probable cause. Blacks were twice as likely to be searched during vehicle stops but less likely to be found in possession of contraband. Read the rest of this entry

Three Years – Remembering Trayvon Martin

Racerrodig asked that I open a thread so people can share remembrance and their thoughts on how we heard about the death of Trayvon Martin. He also suggested that we discuss how it affects us and what we do to make relations better. Thank you, Racerodig, for your willingness to share with others.

130711_POL_TrayvonRallies.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeIt’s not often that I write opinion or editorial pieces, but today I’m compelled to do so in remembering Trayvon. The announcement by the Department of Justice was not limited to not charging George Zimmerman with violating Trayvon’s civil rights. The announcement included more, and I would like to address that.

In its written announcement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote:

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy.  It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface.  We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”

Many of us have experienced that anyone who participates in the necessary dialogue is targeted for destruction by a small group of individuals who believe there is a conspiracy which they call the “BGI.” No one has been destroyed however, and all of their efforts have not stopped the necessary dialogue. The best dialogue I’ve witnessed has taken place on this blog respectfully, and between diverse people.   Some of us even have diverse spiritual beliefs, but all of them are based on doing no harm, respecting life, and promoting equality for all regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, age.   Read the rest of this entry

No Federal Civil Right Violation Charges Against George Zimmerman

Hat tip to Butterflydreamer2.

Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, said that he hopes the decision will mark the start of a new chapter in George Zimmerman’s life.

Trayvon’s parents said they are disappointed but thanked the Justice Department for their investigation.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the investigation concluded that circumstances of the case did not meet the high standard required to prove a federal hate crime.

The timing raises suspicion of the investigation and result. The federal grand jury met last year and their session ended in December. Had the federal grand jury not returned an indictment, the DOJ should have announced that much sooner than now. Zimmerman did have an attorney; Don West, who is a federal criminal defense attorney. Apparently, Zimmerman was anticipating an indictment. The question is, did the federal grand jury return an indictment, but the DOJ decide that in spite of that, they will not prosecute? Read the rest of this entry

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