TRUMP PARDONS “AMERICA’S MOST RACIST SHERIFF” JOE!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-pardon-joe-arpaio_us_599da366e4b0a296083b9758

Ryan J, Reilly reports on HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump on Friday pardoned a notorious former Arizona sheriff who willfully violated a federal judge’s order by unlawfully detaining individuals his officers claimed might be in the country illegally.
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had previously proclaimed himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” was convicted of criminal contempt last month for violating a 2011 order that barred Arpaio and his office from detaining individuals solely based on suspicions about their legal status. Arpaio, 85, was scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.
“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement late Friday. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, the first of his presidency, amounts to a tacit endorsement of Arpaio’s discriminatory tactics and reads as a favor to a political ally. The media-savvy former sheriff, known for parading inmates around in pink underwear, supported the former reality TV star’s presidential campaign and spoke at the Republican National Convention last summer. Both men were prominent promoters of the racist conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
Arpaio, who served as sheriff from 1993 through 2016, had long been accused of discriminatory practices against Latinos. A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division concluded there was reasonable cause to believe that Arpaio and his office engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful policing and racial profiling. Arpaio’s officers called Latinos “wetbacks,” “Mexican bitches,” “fucking Mexicans” and “stupid Mexicans,” the Justice Department found, and Latino drivers were four to nine times as likely to be stopped by his officers as non-Latino drivers were. A lawsuit filed by the Justice Department was settled in 2015.
“With his pardon of Arpaio, Trump has chosen lawlessness over justice, division over unity, hurt over healing,” Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement Friday. “Once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and have been struck down by the courts. His pardon of Arpaio is a presidential endorsement of racism.”

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Trump’s actions speak for themselves!

PWS

08-25-17

HUFFPOST: Inside Gonzoland — Sessions Accepts Award From “Crazy Eddie” At The DOJ!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeff-sessions-police-union-award-nypd_us_5915e292e4b00f308cf4f571

Ryan J. Reilly reports:

“WASHINGTON ― At the end of one of the most consequential weeks in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice ― a week that featured dramatic testimony from a former acting U.S. attorney general previously dismissed by the president, a week dominated by the commander-in-chief’s shock firing of the FBI director ― Attorney General Jeff Sessions walked into the room where the Justice Department makes news.

But it wasn’t Sessions who spoke first in the conference room on the seventh floor of the Justice Department’s hulking headquarters building along Pennsylvania Avenue. Nor was it someone in a leadership position at Justice. Nor was it a U.S. attorney, another federal prosecutor, an FBI official or any other federal law enforcement official authorized to speak on behalf of the DOJ.

The man standing behind the seal of the Justice Department had no affiliation with the nation’s federal law enforcement organization. He’s a controversial police union president, and he was there to give the 84th attorney general of the United States an award and declare Sessions an honorary member of his New York City police union.

RYAN J REILLY / HUFFPOST
Union president Edward Mullins gives Attorney General Jeff Sessions an award.

Police Sgt. Edward Mullins Jr. is the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City. Standing before the cameras and reporters on Friday, Mullins said his police union was honoring Sessions because, “in a time when politicians and the top brass in police departments do not always have the courage to put the interests of non-citizens and officer safety ahead of political correctness and calculated re-election ploys,” the attorney general was committed to “having the backs” of cops in New York and beyond.

Mullins, a member of the city’s police force since 1982, is a polarizing figure in New York. The Village Voice calls him “a noisy troll” and “a shrill contrarian with little regard for the public’s welfare.” Former New York City police Commissioner Bill Bratton called him “Crazy Eddie.” Another website once declared him “the worst person in New York.” He often uses inflammatory language about police-citizen conflicts, once accusing then-President Barack Obama of being anti-cop and supporting the idea of a police boycott of a Beyonce tour following her 2016 Super Bowl performance.

After the murder of two New York City police officers in 2014, Mullins pinned their deaths on the mayor. “Mayor de Blasio, the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands,” he said.

In 2015, when the city of New York reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner ― the Staten Island man who died after NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a prohibited chokehold during an arrest ― Mullins called the settlement “obscene.”

In 2016, after current NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said officers had made a mistake when they shot a 66-year-old mentally ill woman armed with a baseball bat, Mullins stormed out of the meeting.

Speaking at Justice Department headquarters on Friday, Sessions said he respected Mullins. “I have long expressed my admiration for the successes you have achieved, Ed, you and your members,” the attorney general said.”

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Gives us some insight into where “Gonzo-Apocalypto” gets some of his ideas!

PWS

05-12-17

HUFFPOST: How White Nationalist “Know Nothing” Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions Tanked Needed Police Reform In Chicago Without Even BOTHERING TO READ The DOJ’s 160 Page Report!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/doj-police-reform-jeff-sessions-chicago_us_58f50a77e4b0da2ff86254cf?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000 report on HuffPost:

Ryan J. Reilly & Kim Bellware report in HuffPost:

“CHICAGO ― In the final months of the Obama administration, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division scrambled to complete its biggest-ever investigation of a city police department: a 13-month probe of Chicago’s 12,000-strong police force that wrapped up just a week before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

For more than a year, the division’s lawyers reviewed thousands of Chicago Police Department documents, visited all 22 police districts, went on 60 ride-alongs, reviewed 170 police shooting files, examined over 425 incidents of less-lethal force, interviewed 340 department members and talked to about 1,000 Chicago residents.

Their final report, issued Jan. 13, recognized the tough job officers had in Chicago as they dealt with spiking gun violence, and praised the “diligent efforts and brave actions of countless” officers. But a “breach in trust” eroded Chicago’s ability to prevent crime, because officers were able to escape accountability when they broke the law, the report found. Because “trust and effectiveness in combating violent crime are inextricably intertwined,” the report found “broad, fundamental reform” was needed in Chicago.

Without a formal legal agreement to reform — known as a consent decree — and independent monitoring, the report concluded, reform efforts in Chicago were “not likely to be successful.”

JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, disagrees. In recent weeks, Sessions has expressed deep skepticism about the role of the federal government in fixing broken police departments, leaving serious doubts about the ultimate outcome of the Justice Department’s work in Chicago.

Sessions wants the Justice Department to serve as the “leading advocate for law enforcement in America.” While admitting he hadn’t read the full Chicago report, he called it “anecdotal” and “not so scientifically based.” Earlier this month in Baltimore, a Justice Department lawyer said Sessions had “grave concerns” about an agreement previously reached between that city and the Obama administration. A federal judge signed off on the deal over Sessions’ objections.

In an interview with a conservative radio host this month, Sessions seemed to suggest that Justice Department investigations and consent decrees were resulting in “big crime increases.” In an op-ed for USA Today last week, Sessions wrote that consent decrees could amount to “harmful federal intrusion” that could “cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals.” There’s too much focus on “a small number of police who are bad actors,” Sessions wrote, and “too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.”

Chicago has a serious violent crime problem. Last year was the deadliest in the city in two decades, with 762 homicides. But supporters of police reform like Jonathan Smith, a former official in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said that Sessions was “simply wrong” to suggest that crime goes up as a result of reform (or, in Chicago’s case, an investigation). DOJ investigations can increase community confidence in police departments and make people safer, Smith argued.

JIM YOUNG / REUTERS
A protester takes part in a weekly nighttime peace march through the streets of a South Side Chicago neighborhood on September 16, 2016.

Lorie Fridell, a criminologist and police bias expert from whom the Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force solicited information for its report released last year, said DOJ investigations not only help to usher in badly need reforms to the specific departments probed, but other departments also rely on the reports to determine if their own departments are meeting constitutional standards.

“I think it’s very unfortunate the DOJ is no longer going to prioritize police reform,” Fridell said. ”The future of police reform is therefore going to have to come from the ground up. It’s going to be important for concerned individuals to demand high-quality policing.”

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Read the complete HuffPost article at the above link. And, for those of you who would like to be better informed than AG “Gonzo Apocalypto” about the need for serious police reform in Chicago, you can read the complete DOJ Civil Rights Division report here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/925846/download.

Sen. Liz Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, and others who opposed Sessions’s nomination to be AG, and told the truth about his white nationalist views (which he tried to conceal/downplay during his confirmation hearing, in addition to lying under oath about his Russian contacts) were right!

PWS

04-29-17

HuffPost: Sessions Reinstates Dangerous Private Prisons — Health & Safety of Inmates Takes Back Seat to Expediency And Profits For Private Prison Industry!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/doj-private-prisons-sessions_us_58af529ce4b0a8a9b780669a

Ryan J. Reilly a Ben Walsh report:

“WASHINGTON ― Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday withdrew an Obama-era Justice Department memo that set a goal of reducing and ultimately ending the Justice Department’s use of private prisons.

In a one-page memo to the acting head of the Bureau of Prisons, Sessions wrote that the August 2016 memo by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates “changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.”

A Justice Department spokesman said Sessions’ memo “directs the Bureau of Prisons to return to its previous approach to the use of private prisons,” which would “restore BOP’s flexibility to manage the federal prison inmate population based on capacity needs.”

BOP currently has 12 private prison contracts that hold around 21,000 inmates. Yates had said that private prisons compared “poorly” to BOP prisons. Her memo followed a damning report from the Justice Department’s inspector general which found that privately run facilities were more dangerous than those run by BOP.

The two largest private prison companies have told investors that they have room to accommodate increased use of their prisons by federal or state and local authorities. On an earnings call with stock analysts this week, executives at GEO Group emphasized that their company has a total of 5,000 spots in its prisons that are presently either unused or underutilized.

GEO senior vice President David Donahue put it fairly bluntly, telling analysts that their idle and underutilized cells are “immediately available and meet ICE’s national detention standards.”

CoreCivic, formerly known as CCA, told investors on Feb. 17 that the company has nine idle prisons that can hold a total of 8,700 people. Those prisons are ready to accept inmates on short notice. “All of our idle facilities are modern and well maintained, and can be made available to potential state and federal partners without much, if any capital investment or the lead-time required for new construction,” CEO Damon Hininger said.

Indeed, Haninger said that CoreCivic was already holding more detained immigrants for the federal government than they anticipated. “Our financial performance in the fourth quarter of 2016 was well above our initial forecast due, in large part, to heightened utilization by ICE across the portfolio,” he said.

And, Haninger said, the Trump administration’s actions could boost financial performance even further. “When coupled with the above average rate crossings along the Southwest border, these executive orders appear likely to significantly increase the need for safe, humane and appropriate detention bed capacity that we have available in our existing real-estate portfolio,” he said. “We are well positioned,” to get more business from ICE, Haninger said.

David C. Fathi, who directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, said that giving for-profit companies control of prisons is “a recipe for abuse and neglect.” He said the Sessions memo was a further sign the U.S. “may be headed for a new federal prison boom” under the Trump administration.”

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The disaster of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General continues to unfold. Contrary to what he told Senators during his contentious confirmation hearings, he’s the same old tone-deaf, insensitive, hard-liner he’s always been. There will be wrongful death suits in Sessions’s future naming him personally. While these so-called “Bivens actions” are usually a steep uphill climb for plaintiffs, given that Sessions acted with knowledge of both the Inspector General’s highly negative findings and his predecessor’s resulting action to curb private prison use, there could be a case there. I hope he took out personal liability insurance and got the highest amount of coverage. He might need it before his tenure is up.

And, as for the inmates and civil immigration detainees who are going to be kept in substandard conditions, I guess it’s just “tough noogies” as far as Sessions is concerned.

PWS

 

HuffPost: AG Sessions Faces First Crisis — And It Isn’t Immigration!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sessions-flynn-trump-investigation-russia_us_58a3ac76e4b03df370db99e1?q74cewg9me0q6ko6r&&

Jessica Schulberg & Ryan J. Reilly Report on HuffPost:

“WASHINGTON ― Less than a week on the job as U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions faces a potentially explosive situation: He was a top adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but he’s now overseeing the agency investigating members of that campaign.

The FBI, which falls under the umbrella of Sessions’ Justice Department, is leading a multi-agency probe of possible connections between Trump associates and the Russian government. Law enforcement and intelligence officials have phone records and intercepted calls that show members of Trump’s campaign repeatedly communicated with senior Russian intelligence officials in the months before the election, the New York Times reported Tuesday. Sessions has ties to at least two of the people who are reportedly under investigation.

The FBI is also separately examining intercepted communications between the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who served with Sessions as a member of the Trump campaign’s national security advisory council. The FBI interviewed Flynn days into the Trump presidency, according to The New York Times, and reportedly had concerns about whether he was entirely forthcoming. Lying to the FBI is a felony. If the FBI investigation into Flynn’s conduct turns up wrongdoing, Sessions could be responsible for signing off on the prosecution.

Flynn, who resigned as national security adviser on Monday, denies intentionally mischaracterizing his conversations with the Russian ambassador. The incident, he said in his resignation letter, was due to the “fast pace of events.”

Investigators are also reportedly looking into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whom Sessions has known since the 1970s and communicated with frequently during the campaign. Manafort said in an email that he has never been contacted by the FBI and that he has never had any connection to Putin or the Russian government. He gave a similar statement to The New York Times but added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”

Former foreign policy adviser Carter Page and Republican operative Roger Stone are also under scrutiny, The New York Times reported.

The FBI applied for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year to monitor several members of the Trump team as part of its investigation, The Guardian reported in January. If the FBI wanted to request another FISA warrant to monitor those individuals, it would likely have to get approval from Sessions.”

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PWS

02/15/17