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Chicago Police Officer Marco Proano Sentenced To 5 Years for Violating Civil Rights

In August, Chicago police officer Marco Proano was found guilty on two felony federal charges of violating victim’s civil rights.  I reported the trial at this link.

Proano’s sentencing took place on November 20, 2017.  He was looking at 10 years.  Prosecutors asked the judge for 8 years.  On Monday, federal district court Judge Feinerman sentenced the 42-year old Proano to 5 years in prison for his use of unreasonable force in an on-duty shooting that wounded two teenagers four years ago.

Officer Marco Proano fired 16 shots in nine seconds at a stolen Toyota Avalon full of teenagers in Chicago on  December 2013. The shooting was caught on camera, and jurors took less than four hours to find him guilty in August of two civil rights violations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgia Alexakis argued that Proano “could have killed each and every one of those passengers.” Read the rest of this entry

Boynton Beach Officer Mike Brown Found Guilty Of Violating Constitutional Rights of Jeffrey Braswell.

It’s a case of severe beating, then changing reports.

It happened on August 20, 2014 after a 20 mile, high speed chase.  It does not involve the offender/suspect, but a passenger.  Jeffrey Braswell was a passenger in a car that took Boynton Beach police officers on that chase.  When the car was eventually stopped, Mike Brown yelled for the driver and passengers to raise their hands and get out of the car.  However, Jeffrey Braswell had his seat belt fastened and being afraid of lowering his hands, did not exit the car.

Mike Brown decided to take Jeffrey Braswell from the car.  There was nothing wrong with that.  However, after doing so, he beat Jeffrey, including using his gun to strike.

Jeffrey Braswell before he was beaten.

 

Jeffrey Braswell after he was beaten.

Mike Brown was with officers Justin Harris and Ronald Ryan who were federally charged with deprivation of rights.   Jeffrey Braswell, then 25-years old, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of obstruction or resisting arrest without violence and in their initial reports, filed shortly after the incident, they made no mention of punching or kicking him.  About a week later after they found out that the sheriff’s office turned over video to the Chief of Police, each of the officers made a number of changes to their reports. Read the rest of this entry

Guilty Verdict In Federal Case Against Chicago Police Officer Marco Proano

Chicago police Officer Marco Proano, 42, leaves the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on Aug. 28, 2017, after a federal jury convicted Proano of using excessive force in firing 16 shots at a stolen car filled with teenagers in December 2013, wounding two. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

The verdict is unprecedented.  Marco Proano has been convicted in federal court on criminal charges from an on-duty shooting.  Proano was convicted of two felony counts of using excessive force, violating the victims’ civil rights.  He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.  His sentencing is scheduled for November 20, 2017.  Proano’s victims survived, and it has taken almost 4 years for this day to arrive.

On December 22, 2013, Proano spotted a stolen car that was filled with teens on Chicago’s Southside.  One of the teens exited the vehicle and ran.  Another attempted to get out but the door would not open because a cop cruiser had pulled up on the side.  Yet another teen in the backseat, reached over to the front driver’s side and with his hands, pressed on the gas.

Proano opened fire, and continued shooting even after the stolen car ran into a light pole and stopped.  Two of the teens were wounded.

There is dash cam video, but there was also some controversy to make it public,as reported in the below video by Roland Martin.  During a civil case filed by the teens, the court sealed the video.   It took a news publication to get the video to make it public. A lawsuit brought by the two wounded teens was settled by the City of Chicago for $360,000.

Proano’s trial began on August 21, 2017 in U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman’s courtroom.  On August 28, 2017, the jury deliberated 4 hours and returned the verdict of guilty on both counts.  Read the rest of this entry

Proposed Bill In The U.S. Congress Will Make Doxing A Federal Crime

In case you’re unfamiliar with doxing, it is term that describes using the internet to search for and obtain the personal information of others, and to post it publicly on the internet with the intent to threaten, intimidate, harass or incite the commission of a crime of violence against a person or a member of the immediate family of that person.

Some states consider doxing to fall under stalking laws and include an intent to cause the person doxed extreme emotional distress.  In fact, in some prosecuted cases of cyberstalking, the victim’s personal information can be the personal knowledge of the perpetrator who posts it publicly on the internet for a malicious purpose.

The personal information that is publicly posted does not have to be accurate.  In fact, it can be for someone totally different, which can then lead to civil lawsuits for defamation and identity theft. Doxing has become a serious problem in the United States.

There is a current federal statute for protecting individuals performing certain official duties from having their personal information and that of their families made publicly available.  The statute is 18 U.S.C. § 119.  It makes it a federal crime to make publicly available the Social Security number, home address, home phone number, mobile phone number, personal email, or home fax number of, and identifiable to, restricted personnel.

The federal statute defines restricted personnel as a grand or petit juror, witness, officer in or of any court of the United States, or an officer who may be, or was, serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate; an informant or witness in a Federal criminal investigation or prosecution; or a State or local officer or employee whose restricted personal information is made publicly available because of the participation in, or assistance provided to, a Federal criminal investigation by that officer or employee.  Family members are also protected under the statute.

I’ve often wondered why our federal government does not seem to believe that all citizens want the same protection and the right to be let alone.  Maybe that will change soon. Read the rest of this entry

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

sally-yates

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

Read the rest of this entry

Baton Rouge Settles Case With Black Lives Matter Protesters

arrests-in-baton-rouge

Activist Deray McKesson arrested in Baton Rouge. AP Photo/Max Becherer

In response to the killing of Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Police arrested 92 protesters.  East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office would not prosecute the protesters.  However, those arrested incurred bond, administrative fees and court costs in order to be released.  To have those arrests expunged requires more money.

Activist DeRay McKesson was among those arrested.

A federal class-action lawsuit was filed alleging that the militarized police were aggressive in their response to protesters and used “unconstitutional tactics” to infringe upon the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly.  Fewer than 10 percent of the protesters in the class-action lawsuit were from out of town. Read the rest of this entry

What Happens When the Miami-Dade Corrections Dept Doesn’t Think You Look Like A Woman

Pichardo de Veloz.

Fior Pichardo de Veloz

Fior Pichardo de Veloz is a lawyer.  She is also a local elected official in the Dominican Republic.   In November 2013, she flew into the Miami International Airport in Florida to witness the birth of her grandchild.  She was taken into custody on a federal, 1988 warrant for a drug charge in a case that she thought had been resolved.

That was two years ago, and on September 13, 2016, Fior filed a lawsuit in federal court; not because of the mix-up with the warrant, but because a nurse at the Miami-Dade jail assumed that Fior had been born male and had her placed in a general holding cell with 40 men.

According to her lawyers, Fior was initially placed into a jail cell as a woman, but a nurse alleged to evaluating her for exhibiting “non-traditional male characteristics.”  The nurse alleged that she determined Fior had male reproductive organs and she was then sent to Metro West Detention Center, a male-only facility.  Read the rest of this entry

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.”

thomas-jackson

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

Federal Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order Against Use of Tear Gas

dubbin_ferguson_teargasOn Thursday, Federal Judge Carol E. Jackson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, entered a temporary restraining order against defendants Chief Jon Belmar of the St. Louis County Police, Chief D. Samuel Dotson III of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police and Capt. Ronald S. Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Judge Jackson ordered that tear gas cannot be used to disperse legal gatherings and that the police must give clear warnings before deploying tear gas. The judge also ruled that the police must take steps to minimize the effect on those following orders and ensure that people have a “safe egress from the area.”

The matter was filed by six plaintiffs who also asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order requiring the police to wear “clearly visible personal identification” when responding to protests, and for the police to adhere to the law when deciding whether a protest constitutes illegal assembly.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 6, 2015.

Fake Arrest Warrant Scam

scam-alert-picSome people  told me about this. One person said that the caller intimidated him by repeating his first name implying that he knew him personally. Another person told me that the caller knew where he worked.

No one seems to know how people are targeted, but now the U.S. Marshals are involved.

It is a scam that consists of contacting individuals and telling them that a federal warrant has been issued for their arrest. The perpetrator then asks to verify personal information and money to avoid arrest. Read the rest of this entry

Utah Man Arrested For Hate Crime

Robert Keller

Robert Keller

70-year old Robert Keller of Utah was arrested because a an African-American socialized with Whites, and it was more than Keller could stand.

Keller wrote a letter to KUTV saying that he would slice the throat of the young man.   Keller explained;

“I said, ‘What is going to happen down the road, when the black kid starts chasing these girls?  What I seen set me off, when he was walking down the street with a white gal.”

Last year, Keller wrote a note leaving it at the clubhouse of the complex that said;

“If I catch that [n-word] around my daughter, I’ll kill the ass h— and then come find what stupid person brought him here in the first place.”  

The letter was submitted with the probable cause statement from the police officer. Read the rest of this entry

Senate Confirms First-Ever Native American Woman As Federal Judge

Congratulations to the Honorable Diane Humetewa!

The Fifth Column

The Senate confirmed Diane Humetewa to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, making her the first-ever Native American woman to serve on the federal bench. | Arizona State University

Am I happy the Senate finally confirmed a Native American  Judge?  Indeed I am.  I just have one more thing to say: It’s about damn time…

The Huffington Post

The Senate quietly made history on Wednesday night when it confirmed Diane Humetewa as a federal judge — the first Native American woman to ever hold such a post.

Humetewa was confirmed 96-0 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. She is a former U.S. attorney in Arizona and a member of the Hopi tribe. She is now the first active member of a Native American tribe to serve on the federal bench and only the third Native American in history to do so.

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Claim of Confession Probed In Kendrick Johnson Death

CNN reports that a Lowndes County, Georgia, assistant district attorney has ordered a communications company to hand over internet records.  Investigators received an anonymous email claiming an ex-schoolmate reportedly confessed to killing Kendrick Johnson.

Kendrick Johnson2

Kendrick Johnson

Chief Assistant District Attorney Bradfield Shealy issued the subpoena to Mediacom Communications Corporation on January 28. They were ordered to provide the Lowndes County grand jury with subscriber information associated with the e-mail sent through the Lowndes County sheriff’s office’s website or submit the documents to the district attorney’s office or Lt. Jones before February 26.

Through a state Open Records Act, CNN now has the email and the subpoena from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

The anonymous email is dated January 27th.  The sender does 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 one person implicated in the email.

Read the rest of this entry

Sybrina, Tracy, and Attorney Crump Met With Federal Investigators

 

Tracy Martin

Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin

August 1, 2013

The Miami Herald reports that the parents of Trayvon Martin and lawyer Benjamin Crump met with Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents at the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami Wednesday to discuss the status of a criminal civil-rights investigation into the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin last year.  Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s criminal civil-rights section and FBI agents met with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin to bring the family up to speed.

“The federal investigation, which was opened while George Zimmerman faced prosecution for the death of the 17-year-old, gained renewed interest last month after Zimmerman was acquitted in state court of Martin’s killing in a Sanford gated community.”

Racial profiling was not an issue in the charging affidavit, nor was it an issue in George Zimmerman’s trial.

Petition for Investigation – Did George Zimmerman Violate Trayvon Martin’s Civil Rights?

Citizens Petition The White House, Asking That George Zimmerman Be Investigated for Violating Trayvon Martin’s Civil Rights. By Lonnie Starr

Petition for investigation of George Zimmerman for violations of Trayvon Martin’s Civil Rights

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December 04, 2012

Lonnie Starr announces the November 25, 2012, posting of a We The People petition to the White House. Lonnie Starr wrote the petition asking that George Zimmerman be investigated for civil rights violation in his killing of Trayvon Martin.

On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman called the non-emergency police phone number, reporting that Trayvon Martin looked “suspicious.” The recording of that call was released to the media and provides evidence that George Zimmerman got out of his vehicle to follow Trayvon Martin. About 80 seconds after George Zimmerman ended his non-emergency police call, residents called 911 reporting screams for help and then a gun shot. George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in the heart, killing him. Trayvon Martin was 17 years old, and unarmed. He was staying with his father in the community where he was killed.

“This petition is necessary because George Zimmerman impersonated or took on the authority of law enforcement when he voluntarily exited his vehicle with a loaded gun and followed Trayvon Martin,” says Xena, a blogger with Blackbutterfly7.wordpress.com. “After the dispatcher told Zimmerman that the police did not need him to follow, Zimmerman did not ask for directives. He acted as a deputized authority independently deciding what actions he would take, and his actions resulted in killing an unarmed, 17 year old. After shooting Trayvon in the heart, Zimmerman frisked Trayvon’s body, again, doing acts of deputized law enforcement.”

George Zimmerman has not been charged with committing a federal hate-crime. “His supporters seem to think that is exactly what Zimmerman did,” says Xena. “There are several websites filled with racially bigoted comments that applaud George Zimmerman’s actions while denigrating the African American race.”

“This petition is unique and creative. In this way, the petition is a very important social document and perhaps a sign of the times, “says Malisha, another internet blogger. “It says that our society wants a way to criticize the act and to say that it violates their standards.”

Lonnie Starr, Xena, and Malisha, met on Frederick Leatherman’s Law Blog where Leatherman, a former death penalty and felony criminal-defense attorney in state and federal courts, writes on law and legal procedure.

The petition can be read and signed at http://wh.gov/IXcy.

Contact : Frederick Leatherman, Esq.
http://frederickleatherman.com (email available on site)
Twitter: Frederick Leatherman @masoninblue

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