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Archive for the ‘lawsuit’ Category

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CAIR Press Release – BLOGGER ARRESTED FOR CRITICIZING ISLAM!

Well, that’s a bit of a lie. I don’t think any bloggers, journalists, writers, etc. have been arrested at this time simply for criticizing Islam (though several have certainly received death threats resulting from their stance concerning Islam and the teachings of the Qur’an.) Of course, I’m referring to arrests only in the United States, and there have been none at this point (just don’t plan on doing any blogging in Egypt.) However, if CAIR continues to construct the slippery slope they have been fervently building, especially since 9/11, while more and more U.S. politicians arise who are either radical Islamic supporters or dhimmi politicians (legion) who, through their apologia and capitulating tendencies, contribute to that fallacious waterslide, I do not doubt that America may one day soon be witness to Islamic persecution of free speech and those who defy the CAIR mandate by exercising their right to speak out in defiance of politically correct appeasement in all things Muslim.

For now though, The Council on American-Islamic Relations must be content to simply punish the vigilant citizens who by random coincidence happened to have purchased a seat on the same plane with six imams who recklessly acted out intentionally (and I will even say maliciously) in order illicit the response they were obviously hoping for from the other passengers on flight 300–circumspectly uneasy. As a result not only has CAIR pronounced their intentions against US Airways and the Minnesota Metropolitan Airports Commission, but their apparent veridical scheme lies buried deep within the verbiage of the lawsuit itself. They are suing several of the November 20 US Airways flight passengers whose diligence assisted in escorting the Islamic clerics off of the plane.

Yet the suspicions and subsequent actions taken by those passengers and the flight crew were more than appropriate, and I doubt there are many who would react differently if presented a similar situation. Of course, the understandable passenger relfex is exactly the reaction CAIR was most likely hoping for so they could then proceed with a lawsuit that will attempt to annihilate racial/religious profiling for Muslims in airports, et al.

So were the flying imams really racially or religiously discriminated against? Of course not. If those six, presumably mature adult men would have simply boarded the aircraft and taken their assigned seats (they took up positions mirroring the terrorists of the 9/11 attacks), without causing the accompanying choreographed ruckus they ended up perpetrating, then nothing would have happened.

It was not the staff of US Airways or the other passengers who racially and religiously profiled and persecuted the imams; it was the imams themselves who flew their own bigoted colors by purposefully discriminating against themselves with their bizarre and contemptible stunt.

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The Real Target of the 6 Imams’ Discrimination Suit

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 The “flying imams’ ” federal lawsuit, filed this week in Minneapolis, has made headlines around the country. The imams are demanding unspecified damages from US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, both with deep pockets. But their suit includes other defendants, as yet unnamed. These people, unaffiliated with the airline industry or government, are among the imams’ most vulnerable targets.

Recall the November 2006 incident that gave rise to the suit. The imams engaged in a variety of suspicious behaviors while boarding a US Airways flight, according to the airport police report. Some prayed loudly in the gate area, spoke angrily about the United States and Saddam, switched seats and sat in the 9/11 hijackers’ configuration, and unnecessarily requested seatbelt extenders that could be used as weapons, according to witness reports and US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader.

After extensive consultations, the pilot asked authorities to remove the imams for questioning, which they did, releasing them later that day.

“The pilot did what he had to do,” passenger Rita Snelson of Maplewood told the Star Tribune. “I told the airline afterward, ‘Thank you for watching over us.’ ”

The imams’ lawsuit, however, asserts that US Airways and the MAC acted solely out of religious and ethnic discrimination. It includes 17 separate counts.

It also rehearses a catalogue of harms allegedly suffered by the imams, including fear, depression, mental pain and financial injury. They have not only endured exhaustion, humiliation and ridicule, but also have lost sleep and developed anxiety about flying.

Their lawsuit appears to be the latest component in a national campaign to intimidate airlines and government agencies from acting prudently to ensure passenger safety. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is advising the imams, is also calling for congressional hearings and promoting federal legislation to “end racial profiling” in air travel. If the legislation passes, airport personnel who disproportionately question passengers who are Muslim or of Middle Eastern origin could be subject to sanctions.

But the most alarming aspect of the imams’ suit is buried in paragraph 21 of their complaint. It describes “John Doe” defendants whose identity the imams’ attorneys are still investigating. It reads: “Defendants ‘John Does’ were passengers … who contacted U.S. Airways to report the alleged ’suspicious’ behavior of Plaintiffs’ performing their prayer at the airport terminal.”

Paragraph 22 adds: “Plaintiffs will seek leave to amend this Complaint to allege true names, capacities, and circumstances supporting [these defendants’] liability … at such time as Plaintiffs ascertain the same.”

In plain English, the imams plan to sue the “John Does,” too.

Who are these unnamed culprits? The complaint describes them as “an older couple who was sitting [near the imams] and purposely turn[ed] around to watch” as they prayed. “The gentleman (’John Doe’) in the couple … picked up his cellular phone and made a phone call while watching the Plaintiffs pray,” then “moved to a corner” and “kept talking into his cellular phone.”

In retribution for this action, the unnamed couple probably will be dragged into court soon and face the prospect of hiring a lawyer, enduring hostile questioning and paying huge legal bills. The same fate could await other as-yet-unnamed passengers on the US Airways flight who came forward as witnesses.

The imams’ attempt to bully ordinary passengers marks an alarming new front in the war on airline security. Average folks, “John Does” like you and me, initially observed and reported the imams’ suspicious behavior on Nov. 20. Such people are our “first responders” against terrorism. But the imams’ suit may frighten such individuals into silence, as they seek to avoid the nightmare of being labeled bigots and named as defendants.

Ironically, on the day the imams filed their suit, a troubling internal memo came to light at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The memo revealed that our airport is at particular risk of terrorist attack because of its proximity to the Mall of America, its employment of relatively few security officers and other factors. The memo advised heightened vigilance to counter “this very real and deliberate threat.”

The imams may not be the only ones losing sleep and growing more afraid of flying.

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The inevitable has come to pass, and most of us who have been following this epic in the making are none too surprised to witness the imminent and much expected lawsuit arise as a result of obviously justifiable actions taken by US Airways regarding purposely inflammatory and choreographed maneuvers perpetrated by six imams on flight 300 last November, 2006.

I have covered this fairly extensively here and here and here and finally, here.

Commensurate to their modus operandi, the suit has been filed by The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the perpetually enigmatic organization whose dubious past and equivocal ties to known terrorists finds them conducting damage control on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, the resident climate of political correctness and all-encompassing multiculturistic acceptance fogs the minds of most western citizens preventing any sincere investigative spotlight from shining too directly and thoroughly on CAIR’s operations and business practices.

The November 30th spectacle was an effectively practiced performance designed to provoke a response by CAIR in order to concoct an Islamic civil liberties lawsuit designed to gift even more freedoms to Muslims and Muslim communities within the U.S. Due to the aforementioned state of the politically correct quagmire in which we now reside in the United States, I think it very likely the imams and CAIR will come out with a victory in this particular case, despite the cadre of undeniable evidence (and a plane full of defense witnesses who were on flight 300) as to the imam’s play-acting shenanigans before boarding the plane and during their short time on the aircraft itself.

Even in the justice-is-supposedly-blind courtrooms of the United States, no one wants to be labeled a bigot, or god-forbid, an “Islamophobe.”

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Press Release Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

Imams File Civil Rights Suit Against US Airways
Tuesday March 13, 12:45 pm ET

 

Muslim Leaders Says Removal From Flight was Based on Race, Religion

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewsire/ — The Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced that six imams, or Islamic religious leaders, removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis last November have filed a lawsuit against the airline and Minnesota’s Metropolitan Airports Commission alleging that their civil rights were violated.The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, claims US Airways’ alleged discriminatory actions were based on the imams’ “perceived race, religion, color, ethnicity, alienage, ancestry, and/or national origin.” It goes on to state: “Because of Defendants’ discriminatory acts, Plaintiffs were denied the right to make and enforce a contract, subjected to unlawful discrimination by a recipient of federal financial assistance, denied equal treatment in a place of public accommodation, and falsely arrested and detained by law enforcement officers.”

CAIR said the imams’ legal complaint, which cites federal statutes, the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also alleges: “Defendants, with the intent to cause harm to Plaintiffs’ reputation, maliciously, recklessly and without regard to their privacy and integrity, defamed and made false reports against Plaintiffs to justify their illegal action.”

In documents filed with the court by the Law Firm of Omar T. Mohammedi, the six imams refute many of the allegations repeated in the media about the incident.

For example, in response to claims the imams made political statements before boarding the plane, the complaint states: “At no time did Plaintiffs discuss politics or refer to Saddam Hussein or President Bush.”

According to the complaint: “This civil rights lawsuit is brought to ensure that the promise of equal treatment embodied in federal and state anti- discrimination laws does not become a meaningless guarantee for persons perceived to be Muslim and/or Arab and/or Middle Eastern.”

The imams are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, and a legal injunction to prevent future unlawful discrimination by US Airways.

    To read the full complaint, go to:
http://www.cair.com/pdf/usairwayscomplaint.pdf

“The decades-long movement to advance civil rights in this nation must not be sent into retreat because of post-9/11 fear and stereotyping,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “When anyone’s rights are diminished, the rights of all Americans are threatened.”

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

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Imams sue over removal from plane

The six Muslims were barred from a flight after passengers became alarmed.

Last update: March 12, 2007 – 11:59 PM

Six Muslim imams ordered off a US Airways flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last November have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the airline and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, claiming they were removed from the plane because of their race and religion.

In a 38-page document filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the plaintiffs said they were “horrified and humiliated” after police removed them, under pilot’s orders, from the plane in front of dozens of other passengers Nov. 20 “as if they were criminals.”

Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., said Monday that the company hadn’t seen the suit and couldn’t comment on it. Nevertheless, she defended the actions the airline took that day after several passengers and flight attendants became alarmed by the imams’ behavior.

“This was an unfortunate incident,” Rader said. “But we do not discriminate against our customers or anyone else. The actions we took and the police took and the FBI took, they took based on behaviors that were observed. And they believed that was in the best interests of the safety of that flight. And we absolutely back those judgments.”

Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the Airports Commission, also hadn’t seen the lawsuit, but said, “We believe airport police officers acted appropriately in responding to US Airways’ call for assistance.”

Airline officials have said the men were removed from the plane because of concerns about their loud praying, repeated use of the word “Allah,” seat switching, and several requests for seat belt extenders.

Over the next five hours the men were detained and questioned by federal law enforcement officials. The imams denied that they did or said anything that could be considered threatening, and were later released without charges.

Within days, however, the incident set off a nationwide uproar.

Bloggers and talk-radio hosts buzzed about the need to be vigilant against potential terrorists while civil-rights advocates and Muslim leaders saw the incident as racial profiling or discrimination.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also called for a congressional hearing about ethnic and religious profiling at airports.

Omar Shahin , one of the six plaintiffs named in the suit and president of the North American Imams Federation, declined to comment Monday. Other plaintiffs identified in the suit are Ahmed Shqeirat, Mohamed Ibrahim, Didmar Faja, Mahmoud Sulaiman and Marwan Sadeddin. All but Ibrahim, who lives in California, are Arizona residents.

Omar T. Mohammedi, an attorney from New York City representing the imams, could not be reached for comment.

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR, said CAIR will discuss the suit at a news conference today in Washington, D.C.

Removed and handcuffed

In their suit, the imams seek unspecified compensatory damages from the airline and the MAC, claiming they incurred emotional and economic distress from the incident, which occurred after they boarded the plane the afternoon of Nov. 20.

The men were returning to Phoenix following a three-day North American Imams Federation conference in Bloomington.

The imams — prayer leaders — contend that the airline violated their civil rights by detaining them without probable cause, placing them under false arrest, and then refusing to sell them another ticket when they returned to the airport the next day.

They also contend that the airline failed to train its employees adequately to make them aware of religious practices, and unlawfully handcuffed them when no law enforcement agency requested such action.

The suit said they were told to face a wall and put their hands up so they could be searched and handcuffed. It also said the men were not told why they were removed from the plane.

When one of the imams asked a police officer what was happening, the officer said “I do not know. This is the airline’s call and not our call.”

The men allege that they were humiliated when police used dogs to help sniff out and search their belongings.

The imams were later taken to the Airport Police Precinct, where they allege they were questioned by federal agents — including members of the Secret Service — for five hours without food or drink.

They later flew back to Arizona on another airline without incident.

Passenger accounts differ

Pauline Klemmer, a passenger on the flight that day, said Monday that the imams’ account of what happened is “a total untruth.”

Klemmer said she believes the men deliberately acted out as part of a “repeated attempt” to weaken security and intimidate airline employees.

“They weren’t the victim,” Klemmer said. “If we had been afraid of them because of their race, or them loudly praying prior to them getting on the plane, we would not have gotten on the plane, and we did. They chose to make an obvious big scene.”

Rita Snelson, of Maplewood, who also was on the flight and sitting near several of the imams, agreed.

“I can’t explain it, but it was like they were definitely trying to raise suspicion,” she said. “The pilot did what he had to do, and we’re very honored by that. I told the airline afterward, ‘Thank you for watching over us.’ ”

 

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The following story, commencing this past October of 2006 in the city of Long Beach, California (about 30 miles south of where I live in Los Angeles), with a brutal, racially motivated beating and culminating with the severe travesty of justice that is the sentencing doled out to the perpetrators, is nothing short of shocking for a hate crime of this severity.

Last October 31, three black young women were viciously assaulted by nine trick-or-treating white teenage boys and girls. Prior to the ferocious onslaught, the nine assailants ridiculed the three black teenaged victims by hurling racial epithets, pumpkins, and various fruits at their prey. One white teen even was heard to yell, “I hate blacks!” After the aggressors could find no other vegetables to chuck at the targets, they then proceeded to beat the three black girls into another state of mind. The antagonists used their fists, their feet, and their skateboards during the attack, all while continuing their barrage of racist slurs and aspersions at their black female victims. One girl, with dozens of broken facial bones, nearly lost an eye in the attack. Now she must remain in an upright position for three months, not even allowed to recline in order to sleep at night.

While the trial ended in guilty verdicts for all nine villains, the sentences handed out by Judge Gibson Lee stupefied the victims, their families, the community and the cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles–simple probation. The first conviction constituted a gross injustice as the young boy was handed a laughable sentence of 60 days, house arrest. For the remaining eight pugilists, much of the same–probationary house arrest. To call this an outrage is to put too light a word to it. This is an atrocity.

In the politically correct age in which we live, one might be stunned into wondered astonishment as to how such a travesty as this could come to pass–three young black women nearly beat to death by nine savage white teens.

How? Well, it did and it didn’t. Read the above story again, only this time, replace nine white teens with nine black teens, and three black girls with three white girls. Do you have more clarity now? Do you know why the judge gave such lenient sentences to the offenders? If you do, explain it to me because I still do not understand.

 

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Halloween beating victims, left to right, Lura Schneider, Michelle Smith and Loren Hyman speak to media outside a Long Beach, Calif., courthouse Wednesday Jan. 31, 2007. The three young women were in court Wednesday to give ‘victim impact statements’ to the judge who last week convicted their attackers. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) ,

 

4 Halloween defendants given house arrest, probation

Victim’s attorney disagrees with sentence

By Tracy Manzer, Staff writer

 

LONG BEACH – Four teens were sentenced to probation and house arrest for 60 days for their roles in the Halloween beatings of three young white women attacked by a mob of black youths in Bixby Knolls on Halloween.

An 18-year-old male, his twin sister, 14-year-old sister, and 16-year-old friend have been in custody since their arrest after the beating.

They faced sentences ranging from probation to time in the California Youth Authority, although most involved in juvenile law agree the disposition will be geared more toward rehabilitation than punishment.

Doug Otto, attorney for the three victims, said he disagreed with Judge Gibson Lee’s verdict.

“The judge said he felt bound by case law and statutes to impose the least restrictive sentence,” Otto said after coming out of the courthouse. Otto said Laura, the woman who said she was knocked unconscious by the boy, was particularly upset by the sentencing.

“We disagree strongly, but we respect the law,” Otto said. “This doesn’t feel like justice.”

All nine defendants, eight girls and one boy ages 13 to 18, were convicted of felony assault last week. A girl, 12, was acquitted.

Lee had scheduled the nine convicted teens’ sentencing, or disposition as it is called in juvenile court, over three days, with four Friday, another four on Tuesday and the final youth on Wednesday.

A hate-crime allegation was found to be true in eight of the cases, and an allegation that gross bodily injury was personally inflicted by the accused was found to be true for six of the convicted teens.

In the attack, a group of 20 to 40 black youngsters surrounded and beat the women to the ground as trick-or-treaters gathered in a Bixby Knolls neighborhood.

The hate-crime allegations stemmed from witness reports that several in the group yelled racial slurs during the assault, which occurred at about 9 p.m. Halloween in the 3800 block of Linden Avenue.

The youngest minor, a 12-year-old girl, was acquitted of the charge.

The Press-Telegram has chosen not to identify by name the victims, accused minors or witnesses in the case out of concern for their safety.

 

Cherrale, the mother of three teens convicted in the Bixby Knolls beating, smiles as she leaves the Long Beach Courthouse on Friday. The Press-Telegram has withheld the names of the convicted teens and their family members because the case has been heard in juvenile court. (Jeff Gritchen / Press-Telegram)

 

 

Four more get probation in beating

Youths’ sentences similar to those handed down to others last week.

By Greg Mellen, Staff writer

LONG BEACH – Four black female minors were sentenced to house arrest, probation and community service on Monday in the beatings of three white women on Halloween.One female defendant, a Cal State Long Beach student and the last of 10 tried in the case, will be sentenced today. Four others received similar sentences Jan. 26, while one, a 12-year-old girl, was acquitted.

A representative of several of the defendants’ families said they will comment after the final sentence is handed down by Long Beach Superior Court Judge Gibson Lee.

District Attorney Andrea Bouas argued for stronger penalties in three of the four sentences on Monday.

The four were convicted Jan. 26 of felony assault on the three victims. A hate-crime enhancement was found true on all four sentenced Monday.

However, Lee handed out the same sentences he had on Friday to four other teens: probation, 60 days of house arrest, 250 hours of community service and classes on anger management and racial tolerance.

Before Lee handed down his sentences to a 13-year-old, two 14-year-olds and a 17-year-old, Bouas recommended that three of the defendants be sentenced to time in California Youth Authority camps.

Bouas said about two defendants, a 17-year-old and her younger sister, that the older had a history of “acting out” and the other may have gang affiliations and a propensity for violence.

Bouas said the 17-year-old, an internationally ranked track athlete, had “a gift” athletically but apparently didn’t appreciate it.

“Why would she risk her gift?” Bouas asked. “Maybe she didn’t value what she has. Sometimes when you have success you don’t recognize the value. Maybe this is the best thing that could have happened to her.”

Bouas also noted the older sister had been struggling academically with a 1.92 grade point average, not including athletics.

“The last chance for her is camp, to get her on track,” Bouas said. “She needs intervention.”

The deputy district attorney also asked the 17-year-old be barred from receiving a driver’s license until she is 21, noting a history of citations for driving without a license, including on the night of the assault.

Bouas said the younger sister showed a “frightening propensity for violence.” Bouas said even when a Good Samaritan intervened, it was the younger sister who continued to kick and seemed prepared to attack the physically imposing Good Samaritan.

Bouas also talked about a MySpace Web page that showed the girl and her 7-year-old brother flashing what she said were gang signs.

Attorney Marc Rothenberg quickly contested the assertion that the hand signals were gang-related, insisting it was merely a “thumbs up.”

“I hope I don’t get shot for giving someone a thumbs up,” Rothenberg said, eliciting laughter from the court audience.

Bouas said the younger sister “has a gift but flirts with danger” and worried the younger brother would be “contaminated” by his older sibling.

Lee, addressing gang affiliations, warned the teens: “A word to the wise. Gang activity while on probation is a straight ticket to CYA.”

Much of the information Bouas related was disallowed from the court case, but was permissible during sentencing.

Lee ruled that the court lacked power to impose the license restriction but said that the Department of Motor Vehicles would be advised.

Like the four teens sentenced Friday – an 18-year-old male, his twin sister, 16-year-old younger sister and his 16-year-old girlfriend – the defendants Monday were ordered to pay restitution.

The Press-Telegram does not identify the victims and their families out of concern for their safety and has withheld the names of the convicted teens because the case has been heard in juvenile court.

The nine defendants were convicted Jan. 26 of felony assault on the three victims, who were taunted with racial slurs and pelted with fruit and pumpkins before being beaten to the ground by a mob of youths trick-or-treating on the 3800 block of Linden Avenue.

The 18-year-old twins and their 16-year-old friend sentenced Friday were also found guilty of the special circumstances of hate crime and the personal infliction of gross bodily injury.

While on probation, the teens cannot leave their homes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. During house arrest, they cannot leave for anything other than school, not even track practice. All four are competitive athletes.

They cannot contact the victims or associate with known gang members and are barred from socializing with their fellow convicted friends – although Lee noted the teens who are related obviously will have contact.

Probation can be until a minor is 21, authorities said, although it rarely lasts that long if the youths abide by the court’s restrictions and stay out of trouble.

After Lee handed down his rulings, parents of the defendants quietly gathered in a hallway outside the courtroom and signed papers to secure the release of their children. One hopeful adult had two paper lunch sacks with the names of two of the girls scribbled on the sides.

While a contingent of media waited for the families of the defendants at the front of the courthouse, the families left via a side door.

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Halloween beating victim Laura Schneider reacts while speaking to media outside a Long Beach, Calif., courthouse Wednesday Jan. 31, 2007. Schneider, Michelle Smith and Loren Hyman were in court Wednesday to give ‘victim impact statements’ to the judge who last week convicted their attackers. Behind Schneider are unidentified family members. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

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In relation to Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the below article from The Monitor is quite telling. It appears a former border patrol agent by the name of David Sipe, who had been found guilty of excessive force against an illegal alien and sentenced to prison back in 2001, has now been acquitted of that charge due to information and documentation that was being withheld by the prosecution for years.

HmmmSound familiar?

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Border patrol agent acquitted in excessive force case
January 27,2007

Monitor Staff Writer

BROWNSVILLE — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent was acquitted Friday of using excessive force to arrest an illegal immigrant in a retrial of a 2001 case.

A federal jury said David Sipe was not guilty of using excessive force against Jose Guevarra on April 5, 2000. The case was first tried in front of Judge Ricardo Hinojosa in McAllen’s U.S. District Court in 2001. At the time, a jury found Sipe guilty after a five-day trial.

But while preparing for sentencing in the 2001 case, Sipe’s attorney, Jack Lamar Wolfe, found evidence the U.S. Attorney’s Office had withheld information requested before the trial.

Wolfe cited in a motion for a new trial that prosecutors had not revealed at least four pieces of information:

l A government witness’ criminal background

l Testimony favorable to Sipe by one of his former co-workers

l Additional benefits given to witnesses, like Social Security cards and reimbursements

l Pictures of the victim re-enacting the arrest for investigators

Hinojosa granted the request for a new trial on April 11, 2003.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the decision for a new trial on Nov. 19, 2004.

Sipe and Wolfe started preparing for a new trial, but Sipe applied for a change of venue in November last year. The case was subsequently moved to Brownsville’s U.S. District Court.

 

Verdict Reversal for Ex-Border Patrol Agent

David Sipe is a once convicted criminal who can honestly say he “didn’t do it.”

“Relief. Relief. After 7 years, it’s gone. It’s over.”

The ex-border patrol agent gets a 2001 guilty verdict overturned in his retrial for civil rights violations against a smuggler. The incident dates back to April of 2000 in Penitas.

“He was striking me in the side… he was very close to my weapon… and I had to do what I could to control the situation as fast as I could.”

Fearing for his life, David subdues the smuggler by hitting him with his flashlight. It results in staples to the smugglers head. A border patrol investigation is launched and deems his actions inappropriate– even illegal.

“I don’t know how they’re able to do that… but I don’t think that’s fair.”

Neither did a jury who overturns his conviction from the first trial against him.

David says the government, who he faithfully worked under for nearly 4 years, turns its back on him while rolling out the red carpet, as he puts it, for the illegals turned witnesses.

“They got to stay here and work in our country.”

The smuggler even gets a government settlement.

“80 thousand dollars… he now has his own ranch in Mexico.’

As for David– he doesn’t collect a thing. In fact, his life and family gets ripped apart.

“My house foreclosed on after having to file bankruptcy, my children having to live through this… of course my wife divorcing me.”

Through it all, he says, justice is served. And while most about David is forever changed one thing returns and it’s most important thing to him of all.

“I have my freedom back. I’m a man of honor again.”

What lead to this morning’s “not guilty” verdict reversal against the former border patrol agent? Turns out his attorney says the prosecution in the first trial supressed evidence and lied about benefits given to “Alien” witnesses.

Attorney Jack Wolfe explains.

“They with-held evidence about their witnesses who had prior convictions…they didn’t tell us… they were supposed to tell us. In fact, they told us that they had no witnesses with convictions.”

A new trial was granted and David Sipe’s conviction was thrown out. As a result, Sipe is a free man and fighting to get his job back.

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It is becoming more apparent with each passing day that former border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean have been maliciously prosecuted by the United States government with U.S. District Attorney, Johnny Sutton as the primary malevolent force behind the unlawful suit and subsequent illegal detention of the two ex-agents in separate federal penitentiaries.

If, after having read this piece I posted last week, you are still unconvinced as to the evident innocence of Ramos and Compean, then you will likely remain obtusely stolid in your blind adherence to that belief–a belief that is crumbling as more passionate individuals than yourselves become involved, investigating, questioning, and bringing to light additional information for a case that was rotten to begin with. Your confidence in your government, in President Bush–a man who is purposefully opening our borders to illegals, and detrimentally expanding upon NAFTA through the Security & Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) in order to eventually create a North American Union–is alarming.

Yet there exist a large portion of the population who either know nothing about the plight of Ramos and Compean, or they callously and ignorantly side with officials who are on a massive PR push right now in order to deflect accusations of deception and wrong-doing on their part. To those who are savvy, it is obvious such people as Johnny Sutton and Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner are spinning and deceiving and hiding in order to obscure that fact that Ramos and Compean were railroaded by the government.

More comments from readers in this blog post

They shot an unarmed suspect (who they didn’t know was an illegal) in the back.
They tried to cover it up by picking up shell casings
They abandoned the shot man in the wilderness
They filed a false report about it.

Doing their jobs? Doesn’t sound like it.

and…

Looks like the President won’t be pardoning any criminals soon…

White House spokesman Tony Snow last week would not comment specifically on pardon proceedings, but he said the facts presented in court showed that Ramos and Compean tried to cover up what occurred.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton issued a statement in response to allegations the agents were prosecuted for “just doing their job,” saying “nothing could be further from the truth.”

“These agents shot someone who they knew to be unarmed and running away,” Sutton said. “They destroyed evidence, covered up a crime scene and then filed false reports about what happened. It is shocking that there are people who believe it is OK for agents to shoot an unarmed suspect who is running away.”

and finally, this last ignorant and cold comment…

If the President of the United States won’t even consider a pardon, why should I care about them?

While these are most likely comments from the same person, it is apparent that this person(s) has done very little investigation into the case of the border agents. Rather, he/she has relied upon the repetetive ramblings of Johnny Sutton to formulate his/her rash and uninformed beliefs in this matter.

But it is incumbent upon us, as those who proclaim the innocence of Ramos and Compean, to prove that innocence. There is no burden of proof upon those who believe they are guilty, as the commenter(s) above presume as truth due to the outcome of the original trial and the talking points of Sutton. However, and with confidence, I will say that due to people like Sara Carter of the The Daily Bulletin, Jerome Corsi, contributor for World Net Daily, and John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the John and Ken Show on KFI, the political prisoners Ramos and Compean will be vindicated and released while people like Johnny Sutton will be brought up on charges and punished.

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Memo casts doubt on agency’s assertions

Homeland Security won’t release papers on border agents’ case

By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer

The Department of Homeland Security’s assertions that two El Paso Border Patrol agents knowingly shot an unarmed suspect appear to be countered by the department’s own documents, the Daily Bulletin has learned.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told the Daily Bulletin on Wednesday that Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner has refused to deliver documents confirming his office’s claims that Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean admitted they “were out to shoot Mexicans,” and knowingly shot Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a drug smuggler, in a border incident nearly two years ago.McCaul and three other House members met with Skinner on Sept. 26, 2006, to discuss the agents’ case.

The Daily Bulletin obtained a confidential Office of Inspector General memo from an interview Compean gave to investigators on March 18, 2005.

The memo, dated April 4, 2005, supports the agent’s claim that he believed his life was in danger when he tried to apprehend the Mexican drug smuggler on Feb. 17, 2005.Special Agent Christopher Sanchez of the Inspector General’s office stated in the memo that Compean believed Aldrete-Davila was carrying a weapon when Compean fired at him. Sanchez was the main DHS investigator on the case.

“Compean said that Aldrete-Davila continued to look back over his shoulder towards Compean as Aldrete-Davila ran away from him,” Sanchez wrote. “Compean said that he began to shoot at Aldrete-Davila because of the shiny object he thought he saw in Aldrete-Davila’s left hand … Compean explained that he thought that the shiny object might be a gun and that Aldrete-Davila was going to shoot him because he kept looking back at him as he ran away … .”

According to McCaul and the other congressmen who met with Skinner – Reps. John Culberson, Kenny Marchant and Ted Poe, all Republicans who represent Texas – the inspector general told them during their meeting last fall that Ramos and Compean had confessed to knowingly shooting at an unarmed suspect.

The Daily Bulletin made five phone calls for comment to the Office of Inspector General on Thursday, and left the same number of messages again on Friday. None of the calls were returned.

“According to the inspector general, they had evidence that the agents said they were out to shoot Mexicans,” Poe said. “I found that hard to believe and asked if I could see that evidence. They never gave us what was promised.”

McCaul, a former federal prosecutor in Texas, said the Inspector General’s office has refused to provide any evidence thus far to support its claims.

He and his colleagues are now demanding that Skinner turn over documents related to the case or face a subpoena or contempt of Congress.

“I want to weigh the facts and the evidence in this case,” McCaul said. “Either it is total arrogance or gross incompetence on the part of the Inspector General’s office. If what (the DHS) told us was a lie, or if they misrepresented the facts on this case to members of Congress, we are going to hold them accountable.”

Full transcripts from Ramos and Compean’s trial last spring still have not been made available to Congress or the public. According to McCaul, repeated requests for the transcripts since November have been answered with excuses.

Ramos and Compean shot Aldrete-Davila on Feb. 17, 2005, after a foot chase along the Texas-Mexico border. Aldrete-Davila, who was struck in the buttocks, had fled a van the agents were pursuing; the van later turned out to be holding more than 700 pounds of marijuana. The smuggler was given immunity by the U.S. Attorney’s office and full medical treatment for his injuries to testify against the agents.

The agents were convicted of several charges related to the shooting, notably assault with a deadly weapon. Ramos received an 11-year prison sentence, Compean 12 years.

Aldrete-Davila is suing the U.S. Border Patrol for $5 million for his injuries.

Ramos said he testified during the trial that he saw Aldrete-Davila with something “shiny” in his hand, and told the Daily Bulletin he thought it was a gun.

According to the memorandum, seven other agents were on the scene at the time of the shooting, including two supervisors whom Ramos and Compean both stated knew about the incident.

No other agents at the scene that day were prosecuted, and some were given immunity to testify against Ramos and Compean.

Agents and supervisors are required to file a written report if they participate in or know of an incident, according to TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents nearly 11,000 Border Patrol agents.

“The steadfast refusal of the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to provide relevant information to Congress and the public about why Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos were prosecuted causes people to wonder what they are trying to hide,” Bonner said.

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Ballistics data don’t support
charge against border agents

Investigator: U.S. attorney twisted evidence to fit case – ‘guilty of malicious prosecution’


Posted: January 28, 2007
10:45 p.m. Eastern

 

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Ballistics reports, used in the trial of Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos, one of two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting fleeing drug dealer Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, do not support the prosecution’s claim the bullet was fired from Ramos’ gun, according to documents provided to WND from Andy Ramirez, chairman of the Friends of the Border Patrol. Despite the conclusion of a laboratory criminalist that he could not conclusively link the bullet removed from Aldrete-Davila with Ramos’ service weapon, a Department of Homeland Security agent swore, in an affidavit of complaint filed against Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, that Aldrete-Davila was hit by a round fired by Ramos.


Andy Ramirez

“Johnny Sutton and his assistants are guilty of malicious prosecution,” Ramirez charged to WND. “The prosecutors lied to the jury and he twisted evidence to make it fit his case. And when he couldn’t twist the evidence, the government demanded that the court seal evidence which would have been exculpatory to the defense.”

Nearly two years after the conclusion of the trial, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has yet to release a transcript of the trial.

WND asked Ramirez if he was aware of the seriousness of his charges.

“I am very aware and I am accusing Mr. Sutton of a felony,” Ramirez told WND, “but I am basing my conclusion on the evidence I have examined in this case and the refusal by the government to provide evidence to substantiate its claim to the Congress and the American people.”

“Back on Sept. 26, 2006, officials from the DHS Office of Inspector General made serious allegations against both agents Ramos and Compean to four members of Congress from the Texas delegation,” Ramirez said. “The Inspector General has subsequently refused to provide their evidence to substantiate their claims to Congress. So I am also accusing the DHS Office of Inspector General of making false statements to Congress in order to prevent a congressional inquiry. I am asking the U.S. Congress to subpoena all documents pertaining to this case including the full transcripts, sealed testimony, and the sealed indictment against Aldrete-Davila in order to get to the truth of this case once and for all.”

Sutton told WND that as far as he in concerned, the issue was settled at the trial. Both defendants and their attorneys stipulated the bullet that struck the drug smuggler came from Ramos’ gun.

Ramirez argues the border agents did not have the best legal assistance, due to a lack of funds.

WND previously reported Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, has accused DHS of stonewalling on the release of documents. Despite persistent requests to hand over promised internal reports, McCaul told WND Congress had not yet received the materials.

In the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with the Texas Republican delegation, the Inspector General’s office claimed it had substantiating investigative reports that could back up their criminal charges against Ramos and Compean. Among the charges made by IG was that Ramos and Compean had stated Feb.17, 2005, the day of the Aldrete-Davila shooting, they “wanted to shoot a Mexican.”


Monica Ramos embraces her husband, former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)

WND also reported Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, last week filed a Freedom of Information Act request against the DHS Inspector General’s office to obtain those investigative reports. Poe took this action after DHS informed the Texas Republican delegation the documents would not be turned over to them because the Democrats were now in control of Congress and McCaul was no longer chairman of the Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Ramirez has worked on the Ramos and Compean matter for nearly two years, investigating the facts of case and interviewing Ramos, Compean, their families and others knowledgeable about the proceedings. He shared two documents with WND that, he says, undermine the prosecution’s case against Ramos.

In an affidavit filed by DHS March 15, 2005, with the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas, special agent Christopher R. Sanchez swore the following:

Ballistics testing confirms a government-issued weapon belonging to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos, a 96D Beretta .40 caliber automatic pistol, serial number BER067069M, fired a bullet (a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson jacketed hollow point) which hit the victim in the left buttocks while he was attempting to flee to Mexico.

The second document, a ballistics report completed by the Texas Department of Public Safety, interests Ramirez both because of the agency that did the testing and the results of the test.

“For some unexplained reason, U.S. Attorney Sutton had the ballistics test performed by the Texas Department of Public Safety in El Paso, rather than by the FBI,” he said. “This was a federal issue that should have gone to the FBI and only to the FBI. The Texas Department of Public Safety had no business running a ballistics report on a federal case. The FBI handles all shooting incidents, whether it involves assaults or otherwise, concerning federal agents. DPS should have refused the case and demanded that the bullet be picked up by the FBI for analysis.

“If you ask the Texas DHS how many shooting cases they handle involving federal agents, they would have said, ‘None’. Then, if you asked the FBI how many shooting cases they handle involving federal agents, they would have said, ‘All of them.’ Yet that isn’t how it went in this case. Nothing was done by the rules.”

The results of the ballistics tests were reported in a letter written by Joseph J. J. Correa, a Criminalist IV with the Texas DPS El Paso Laboratory, March 18, 2005, and addressed to Brian D. Carter of DHS in El Paso.

The letter states Correa examined one fired copper-jacketed bullet presented to him by Carter on March 17, 2005. The letter identifies the victim shot by the bullet as “Osvaldo Aldrete.”

In the letter, Correa notes that he was asked to determine the manufacture of the firearm that fired the submitted bullet.

Correa could not positively identify Ramos’s weapon as the one that fired the submitted bullet. His report concludes:

The copper-jacketed bullet was fired from a barrel having six lands and grooves inclined to the right. The manufacturer of the firearm that fired the copper-jacketed bullet is unknown, but could include commonly encountered models of .40 S&W caliber FN/Browning, Beretta, Heckler & Koch, and Ruger pistols.

Correa’s report gives no indication the bullet submitted for analysis was disfigured or in fragments, despite having been supposedly extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s body after reportedly doing massive damage to his groin area and hitting bone.

“The problem was that the ballistics report did not match the bullet to Ramos’ gun,” Ramirez said. “The ballistics report said the bullet could have been fired by any one of four different makes of gun. So, the affidavit of complaint against Ramos and Compean made a statement that was not substantiated by the ballistics report. That is a big problem for the prosecution. Their evidence does not support their accusation.”

The arrest warrant issued for agent Ramos, a copy of which Ramirez also supplied WND, attests Ramos was charged with, “Intentionally assaulting a Mexican national, one O.A.D., resulting in serious bodily injury.” This conclusion is not supported by the ballistics letter written by Texas DPS specialist Correa.

WND has not investigated documents from the prosecutors which would establish the chain of evidence between the time the bullet was extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s groin and the time Carter of DHS presented it to Correa for analysis.

“How do we know that the prosecutors didn’t simply fire a round from Ramos’ gun into gel?” Ramirez asks. “That could explain the nearly pristine bullet the prosecutors presented for ballistics analysis.”

The failure of the prosecution ballistics reports to link the bullet with agent Ramos’ weapon directly challenges a claim made by Sutton to WND in an exclusive interview. In that interview, Sutton claimed that agent Ramos hit Aldrete-Davila:

WND: So, Compean shot 14 times and missed everybody, but Ramos shot one time and hit the drug dealer in the buttocks?

Sutton: That’s correct.

WND: Is Ramos that much better a shot than Compean?

Sutton: Ramos is a marksman.

WND has further learned the bullet was not extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s body until DHS special agent Christopher R. Sanchez brought him back from Mexico, at some unspecified time after the February 17, 2005 incident in which Aldrete-Davila was supposedly wounded by agent Ramos’ fire.

A doctor in Mexico had inserted a catheter to reverse the damage done to Aldrete-Davila’s urethra, but did not extract the bullet.

The bullet was extracted by a U.S. Army doctor, at government expense. According to the physician, the bullet entered Aldrete-Davila’s left buttock from the left side, traversed his groin, damaged the urethra, hitting bone in the process, and lodged in his right thigh. The bullet was extracted from Aldrete-Davila’s right groin and he received reconstructive surgery for the damage done to his groin and urethra and a catheter was reinserted.

WND has obtained the post-operative release form for the U.S. operation. That document specifies that Aldrete-Davila was released to the custody of DHS special agent Christopher Sanchez. WND has not been able to obtain evidence regarding where Sanchez took Aldrete-Davila next, or why.

The Army doctor’s description of the wound directly contradicts U.S. Attorney Sutton’s repeated claim that agents Ramos and Compean shot Aldrete-Davila in the back.

The doctor clearly stated that the wound he observed was consistent with Aldrete-Davila turning to assume a “bladed position” with his left arm extended back toward the officers. This corroborates agent Ramos and Compean’s claim they observed Aldrete-Davila turning back toward them while fleeing, extending his arm and holding an object in his hand that they took to be a weapon.

Aldrete-Davila is left-handed, consistent with the bullet entering his left buttock laterally as he fled and turned back toward the officers, possibly pointing a weapon at them.

“The doper after the surgery was transferred back to the personal custody of DHS special agent Sanchez,” Ramirez said. “So Christopher Sanchez has both the doper and the bullet. Aldrete-Davila was not transferred to a hotel, escorted by federal marshals. Aldrete-Davila wasn’t escorted from Mexico by the Mexican government. Everything involving Aldrete-Davila was left to the personal custody of Christopher Sanchez. Anything could have happened and who would know?”

WND is left to ask the following questions, which the Texas DPS ballistics analysis does not resolve:

  • How did Aldrete-Davila continue running far enough to cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico after he had been hit by a round that passed through his left buttock from the side and damaged his urethra before lodging in his right thigh?

  • How do we know that the bullet extracted from Aldrete-Davila could not have been fired into him during an unrelated incident in Mexico subsequent to Feb. 17, 2005, by a weapon among those of the type described in Correa’s report?

Conceivably, agents Ramos and Compean did not hit fleeing drug smuggler Aldrete-Davila on Feb. 17, 2005, despite firing multiple rounds at him.

“Johnny Sutton and his office have intentionally distorted and misrepresented the facts in this case,” Ramirez charged. “There’s something clearly wrong in the federal prosecutor’s office in El Paso. The Ramos and Compean case is a witch hunt. Every law enforcement agent on the border from Border Patrol agents to ICE agents to deputy sheriffs and sheriffs have gotten the message.”

What’s the message, WND asked?

“The message is simple,” Ramirez replied. “Enforce our drug laws aggressively on the border and you risk going to jail, not the drug dealers. We have a drug war going on along the Texas border and the U.S. government has backed off to the benefit of the drug lords.

Ramirez ended the interview with WND by noting: “After the Ramos and Compean case, no U.S. law enforcement officer on the border will ever again draw a weapon against a Mexican illegal transporting drugs without worrying that effort to enforce our laws may place him in jail, not the doper.”

On Aug. 17, 2006, Ramirez gave sworn testimony on the Ramos and Compean case to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, a copy of which is posted on his website.

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Last week, I went back and forth several times with a commenter who offered the below statements (and my responses) to this piece I posted back on October 24, 2006. It is indicative of and mirrors the argument that U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton used as one of the central assertions to convict former border patrol agents, and currently interred federal inmates, Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean.

First reader comment:

The officers shot at a man they knew was unarmed and had committed no wrong doing that they knew about at that point other than refusing to stop his van and then fleeing back toward the Mexican border. The officers knew he was without a weapon and that there was absolutely no threat to their lives. The man held up his hands in surrender yet he was fired at. Not only that but they attempted to cover up their mistakes and failed to report the incident; a clear case of obstruction of justice. How could anyone reasonably call these men heroes?

My response:

The central issue I have with your comment is your statement that Ramos and Compean knew the illegal alien didn’t have a weapon. How do you know that? They claim they thought he had a gun in their testimony.

The lawyers for the illegal would like you to believe that the officers shot wily-nily knowing he didn’t have a gun, but they can’t prove what someone believes, in this case, whether the officer in question believed the alien had a weapon and was going to use it against him. Testimony during the trial stated the officers believed the alien might have had a weapon in his hand, and that he was turning to use it. What would you do in that situation? Wait to see if what he had expelled a bullet in your direction? I would not.

His response to my response:

They said that they believed he had a gun but other than their testimony that he appeared to be reaching back for a weapon, absolutely nothing indicated that he was armed. The evidence suggests that the officers knew there was no gun: [U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton] …questioned the agents’ claim that they thought the smuggler had a gun. “The evidence reflects something completely different,” he said. “The agents did not take cover and did not tell other agents to Get down. Someone has a gun.’” If they truly thought he had a gun they would have properly responded by hitting the ground or taking cover.

The fact that agents attempted to collect all of the shells fired and did not report the incident gives further creedence to the idea that they knew they had acted rashly because the man was unarmed.

I’m just shocked that so many people are defending these guys. Not only did these men make a mistake but they attempted to cover it up as well and filed a false report.

Their sentence, by federal law, must be 10 years at least. I would hope that they could at least be kept in partial isolation away from other prisoners to avoid harm coming to them in that manner, but frankly, they don’t deserve a full pardon. Their actions were beyond incompetent; they were deliberately deceitful.

And my final response to his response to my response to his comment:

Your statement is an almost identical quote of Sutton’s interview last week on a San Diego radio station. Of course, the concept that ‘absolutely nothing indicated that he [Davila] was armed’ is what the prosecution wanted everyone to believe as part of their case, but you simply cannot tell the border agent that the alien did not have a gun if he, the agent, felt otherwise. Period.

I do not discount the fact that the agents acted improperly by collecting shells and filing false paperwork, but any amount of jail time for a paperwork violation is preposterous. At the most, these men should simply have lost their jobs for their dishonesty (sort of like what should have happened to President Bush for lying to the American people in order to get us into Iraq–unfortunately, Bush is still our President.) The fact of the matter remains that Davila did not ship that particular van-load of drugs because of the efforts of Ramos and Compean. Thank god for their diligence.

The only part of my last response I would change is the statement that Ramos and Compean at most should have lost their jobs due to their perceived cover-up by collecting shells and not filling a proper report. I now believe they should only have been given possible suspensions. Even losing their jobs is too harsh a punishment for the supposed crime they committed, as will be discussed by Jerome Corsi more eloquently and in more detail via the World Net Daily story below.

Stampeding forward on “conspiracy” violations, as Sutton has explained ad nauseum in dozens of interviews–at the root, the agents picking up shells, and not filing proper paperwork–has been discovered, in actuality, a falsehood. Ramos and Compean did in fact provide an oral report to their commanding officer. The border patrol manual states agents are not required to de facto file physical paperwork as long as they provide an accurate oral report of the incident in question, which is what Ramos and Compean did, even disclosing the shooting of Davila. Unfortunately, their supervising officer did not submit a written report based upon the statements provided to him by the two border agents. Too bad for them.

So all those who view Johnny Sutton as the beacon of truth and justice in the case against Ramos and Compean should here realize that Sutton himself is the one who is lying, at least concerning the accusations of false reporting and false paperwork. The agents conducted themselves properly in this matter according to border patrol policies. Sutton, on the other hand, seems to have conducted himself rather inappropriately. The fact that Sutton in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security are stonewalling the release of investigative documents that could markedly assist Ramos and Compean in their case is quite telling–they are hiding something

But what about the shooting of illegal alien drug-smuggler Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila? Isn’t that the axial reason for putting Ramos and Compean behind bars? Yes. Didn’t they act malapropos by firing their gun and shooting Davila? No.

The former agents did not act unreasonably nor did they mishandle the confrontation with the illegal alien drug-smuggler by discharging their weapons at him and subsquently striking him in the ass. The law used to try Ramos and Compean was apparently either misconstrued by Sutton and his team, or it was intentionally perverted in order to ensure two men and their families would be destroyed–guaranteed maximum jail time for the former agents. The border agents were charged with 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) which states the following:

Whoever, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime which provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which he may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, be sentenced to imprisonment for five years, and if the firearm is a short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or semiautomatic assault weapon, to imprisonment for ten years, and if the firearm is a machinegun, or a destructive device, or is equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, to imprisonment for thirty years. In the case of his second or subsequent conviction under this subsection, such person shall be sentenced to imprisonment for twenty years, and if the firearm is a machinegun, or a destructive device, or is equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, to life imprisonment without release. (FOOTNOTE 1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall not place on probation or suspend the sentence of any person convicted of a violation of this subsection, nor shall the term of imprisonment imposed under this subsection run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment including that imposed for the crime of violence or drug trafficking crime in which the firearm was used or carried.

This statute was erroneously used to convict Ramos and Compean for discharging their weapons against the illegal alien drug-smuggler, Davila. While this statute applies to criminals who use weapons whilst committing a crime, it only applies to officers of the law if they use their service weapons in the process of committing a crime (robbery, rape, murder, etc.) Since Ramos and Compean were simply performing their job with no extraneous outrageous actions on their part, 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) cannot be applied to their particular case, and Sutton’s continued, parrot-like ramblings that the law applies equally all the time is false.

Regardless, we are at day nine of the Ramos/Compean political imprisonment. Their straight-to-jail railroading to me, is a clear message from Bush and his administration (of whom Sutton was a member, including the White House transitional team, when Bush was governor of Texas, even though Bush has claimed he doesn’t know Sutton.) The President wants to eradicate any willingness on border agents to do their job. He has ensured that Ramos and Compean would be the poster-boys for the border patrol–do your job and you will see serious jail time, but let the illegals flow over the border unfettered, and you will be fine.

If this comes back on Sutton though, which could happen, he could see some serious charges brought against him.

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WND Exclusive Commentary


Wrong law used to convict Border agents


Posted: January 22, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
What crime is committed when two Border Patrol agents shoot in the buttocks a fleeing drug smuggler who has abandoned a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana?

Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., has on record a letter written to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Oct.11, 2006, charging that Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean were charged under a statute that did not apply to the facts of the case. As previously reported by WND, the interview I conducted on Friday, Jan. 17, 2007 with the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, adds strong support to Rep. Jones’s contention.

Jones notes that Ramos and Compean were convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c). This statute was written to increase the penalties when a violent criminal, such as a drug trafficker or a rapist, carries or uses a weapon during the commission of the crime. Law enforcement officers, including Border Patrol agents, are issued weapons by the Border Patrol to carry in the normal pursuit of their duties.

Ironically, Ramos and Compean were trying to apprehend an escaping suspect who was a drug smuggler. How is it that a law meant to punish armed drug smugglers is applied to prosecute the two Border Patrol agents who attempted to apprehend a person U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton properly characterizes as a drug-dealing ”dirt-bag?”

Jones notes that 18 U.S.C. Section 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) has only been applied to law enforcement officers who themselves commit heinous crimes, such as sexual assault, outside the scope of their official duties. As Jones writes, ”Ramos and Compean were within the scope of their official duties when they fired at an illegal drug smuggler they believe to be armed and dangerous.”

Besides, Sutton never argues that Ramos and Compean were committing a crime they aggravated by discharging weapons. Sutton’s contention is that Ramos and Compean’s crime was that they discharged weapons at all. This is a distinct fact situation from the one 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) was passed to involve.

Consider this exchange from my interview with Sutton:

WND: But one of the things here is that the law was passed, as I understand it, to basically punish criminals who in the process of committing crimes also fire weapons. The law was never intended to punish law enforcement officers who may have fired their weapons inappropriately when somebody else was committing a crime.

Sutton: The law applies to everyone. And there is no exception for law enforcement officers made.

Sutton misses the point. Sure, 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) applies to law enforcement officers, but only when law enforcement officers themselves smuggle drugs or commit rapes and carry a firearm in the commission of those crimes. 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) was never written to define the rights and responsibilities of officers who carry weapons in the normal course of their law enforcement duties and decide to discharge those weapons at fleeing drug dealers.

Again, let’s examine the next exchange in the interview with Sutton:

WND: But the original intent of that law, as I understand it, was to increase the punishment for criminals who when perpetrating their crimes discharge weapons. Is that not correct?

Sutton: I can’t speak to what the Congressional intent was. All I can speak to is what the law says and the law says what it says, and it doesn’t make any exception for law enforcement officers. It says that if you commit a crime of violence and you use a firearm during a crime of violence, it’s ten year mandatory minimum stacked on top of what time you already have. No exception is made for law enforcement officers. The judge applied the law and if people want to change the law, then you can talk to their representatives.

What crime were Ramos and Compean committing, during which they decided to fire their weapons? Surely, Sutton does not consider it a crime for Border Patrol agents to stop and seek to arrest a person they suspect of smuggling drugs across the border.

As Jones rightly concludes, ”The application of Section 924(c) in this case is overly broad, setting a dangerous precedent of application to law enforcement officers trying to act within the scope of their official duties.” Jones is correct. On appeal, the convictions should be dismissed because the prosecutor charged these Border Patrol agents under a law whose scope was clearly misapplied.

The real issue in this case should have been whether Ramos and Compean had justification for discharging their weapons in this situation. The applicable law would seem to first involve the INS Firearms Policy. In that policy, there appears to be the following.

Section 7(A). Discharging a firearm shall be done only with the intent of stopping a person or animal from continuing the threatening behavior which justifies the use of deadly force. When deadly force is justified, an officer may use any level of force necessary up to and including deadly force.

Section 7(B). Firearms may be discharged under the following circumstances:

(1) When the officer reasonably believes that the person at whom the firearm is to be discharged possesses the means, the intent, and the opportunity of causing death or grievous bodily harm upon the officer or another person.

Again, my interview with Sutton was informative. In explaining why agent Compean discharged 14 rounds and failed to hit the fleeing suspect, Sutton explained that agent Compean was experiencing a heightened physiological reaction that is commonly identified as a normal physical response to a perceived sense of imminent danger:

WND: So, Compean shot 14 times and missed everybody, but Ramos shot one time and hit the drug dealer in the buttocks?

Sutton: That’s correct.

WND: Is Ramos that much better a shot than Compean?

Sutton: Ramos is a marksman.

WND: And Compean doesn’t seem very competent?

Sutton: Well, get your adrenalin pumping some day and go to the target range one day and try to hit the target. It’s sometimes harder than you think.

If the Border Patrol agents experienced adrenalin pumping, it is reasonable to conclude that they felt the drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, was armed and dangerous. The pumping adrenalin that Sutton admits impaired the aim of agent Compean should be prima facie evidence that agent Compean was experiencing an emotional response that could reasonably be associated with fear that the fleeing suspect yet possessed a weapon.

Moreover, in the interview, Sutton repeats almost as a litany a series of faults he has with the Border Patrol agents’ conduct, including Sutton’s conclusion that since Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila had his arms up at one point in the exchange, evidently wanting to surrender, the suspect must have been unarmed. Yet, when agent Compean slips in the mud, Aldrete-Davila takes off trying to escape. Simply because Aldrete-Davila did not fire a weapon back at the agents does not allow us to conclude that he did not have a concealed weapon at the time.

Maybe Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila had a concealed weapon he decided not to use, thinking that he only had a brief window where he could flee the scene and it would be better to keep running than to stop so he could shoot back at the agents.

Maybe Aldrete-Davila judged that if he had stayed to engage in a gun battle with the Border Patrol, he might have been himself killed or injured in the gun fire.

Certainly, Aldrete-Davila had reason to fear he was going to prison if he got apprehended. Sutton himself accepts this conclusion as evidenced by the interview:

Question: Why did Aldrete-Davila run?

Sutton: I’m sure he ran because he didn’t want to go to jail. He’s like all these other dirt-bag drug dealers; they don’t want to get caught. We catch them every day and they know that when we catch them, they’re going to go to prison.

How much time in the dirt and bush on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande did Aldrete-Davila feel he had before other Border Patrol agents would have an increased opportunity to apprehend him? Maybe it was simply better to keep running than to take the time to shot back at the agents.

An additional indisputable conclusion we must finalize is this: Since Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila managed to run away and escape back into Mexico across the border and was never apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol, truthfully nobody will ever know if he did or did not have a concealed weapon on him at the time.

From that conclusion follows this corollary: Because Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila got away, there is no argument the government can make that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Aldrete-Davila was unarmed.

If Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean had properly been prosecuted under the relevant provisions of the INS Firearms Policy, the issue before the jury would have been limited to an investigation of the reasonableness of their firing at a fleeing suspect they had reason to believe was an armed drug dealer. Let’s face it – how many drug dealers smuggle drugs unarmed?

The trial testimony shows that electronic sensors had warned Compean that Aldrete-Davila’s van had crossed the Rio Grande illegally and was headed into the United States. Why was Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila driving a suspicious van on a route the Border Patrol agents knew from previous experience was a route routinely used by drug smugglers along our largely wide-open border with Mexico?

Next, why did Aldrete-Davila turn his vehicle around after Border Patrol Agent Oscar Juarez began pursuing him if his goal wasn’t to try to escape back to Mexico on the dirt farm roads that headed back to the river?

How many job-seeking illegal aliens drive their cars into the U.S., only to turn and lead a wild pursuit along back roads in a desperate attempt to get across the Rio Grande before they’re arrested?

Instead of presuming that Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean were guilty of criminal behavior, as the indictment suggested, the inquiry at the trial should have focused on how reasonable their assumption was that they were pursuing an armed and dangerous drug smuggler who had tried to escape first in his van, then on foot.

Clearly, this was not the case where experienced Border Patrol agents such as Ramos and Compean would have thought they were dealing with an obviously unarmed Mexican who crossed the Rio Grande illegally only because he wanted to get work to feed his starving family. Yet, from the trial record, this preposterous theory was what the government wanted the jury to presuppose. The government dared to suggest to the jury with a straight face that Aldrete-Davila might have been a harmless, unarmed Mexican who crossed the Rio Grande merely to find work. Moreover, the prosecution proposed that in running from the vicious Border Patrol, all Aldrete-Davila wanted to do was to go back home to his poor family. As ridiculous as these assertions seem, there are statements in the trial where the prosecutors asserted exactly this, virtually word for word. Too bad for the prosecutors that Aldrete-Davila just happened to run away from and leave behind a van with the 743 pounds of dope packed inside, instead of newspapers with ”Help Wanted” ads circled.

The U.S. Army doctor who removed the bullet testified at the trial that the drug smuggler was not shot from behind, but that he removed the bullet from the side, with the bullet piercing the left side of his left buttock and traveled to his right groin. The doctor stated that Aldrete-Davila was in a running position when he was shot, consistent with pointing back toward the agents with his left arm and hand when the bullet hit him in the rear end. This is consistent with the testimony of the agents that they saw Aldrete-Davila pointing something back at them which they believed to be a gun.

Moreover, why would Ramos or Compean have any reason to believe Aldrete-Davila was hit by any of their shots? From the testimony at the trial, Aldrete-Davila got across the Rio Grande and disappeared into the tall, thick brush along the river. A short time later, Border Patrol agents observed Aldrete-Davila running across the dry river bed where he jumped into a waiting vehicle with two other suspects.

Yet, from the get-go, Sutton cleverly reframed the issue to bias the trial in the government’s favor. This was the point of charging Ramos and Compean inappropriately under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c). The statute presumes those charged, namely Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean, were involved in the commission of a crime when they fired their weapons. This is totally inaccurate and misleading given the facts of the case. Yet, the presumption of 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) – that criminal behavior was already being conducted by the accused – appears precisely suited to the impression Sutton wanted to create. The criminals here, according to Sutton, are the law enforcement officers. Every presumption Sutton made was sympathetic to the drug dealer in this case.

If any criminal action were ever to be brought in this issue, an unbiased prosecutor would have brought charges accusing the Border Patrol defendants of discharging their weapons inappropriately under the provisions of the INS Firearms Policy, not for violating 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c). The suggestion in the indictment itself was that the Border Patrol agents were somehow already criminals when they fired their weapons.

By charging the agents under an inappropriate statute, prosecutor Sutton focused the inquiry on the supposed criminal behavior of the agents, rather than on the narrow issue of whether the Border Patrol agents had reasonable cause to believe the fleeing suspect was a drug-smuggling criminal who most likely did have a concealed weapon on his person.

There is a long and involved body of law that has evolved over decades concerning whether law enforcement agents are justified in discharging their weapons at fleeing suspects. The limits of credibility are stretched in this case to believe that Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean acted in a criminally inappropriate manner, especially when the fleeing perpetrator (described now by the prosecutor as ”scum”) was found to have driven a van with 743 pounds of marijuana across our border with Mexico.

There is nothing in this case, except the subtle presumption framed by the indictment, to suggest that Aldrete-Davila was anything but a criminal perpetrator. How can anyone fail to notice that the U.S. Attorney’s office has in this case managed to transform a drug-smuggling perpetrator into the victim?

We should also note that one reason the prison terms of 11 and 12 years served up to Ramos and Compean respectively seem excessively harsh is because 10 years is the mandatory prison term attached to violations of 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c), as my interview with Sutton also made clear. This is the added penalty which the legislators who wrote 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) felt anyone already committing a serious crime, such as drug smuggling or rape, should have to pay as an add-on for the additional offense of carrying or discharging a firearm in the omission of the drug smuggling offense or rape. In other words, the excessive jail terms given Ramos and Compean is additional evidence that prosecutor Sutton brought the indictments under an inappropriate statute.

Sutton had the option of investigating in Mexico to find the perpetrator, even if the evidence on the scene was minimal. Again, a section of the interview with Sutton is relevant.

Question: People are going to say that 700 pounds of marijuana is a serious offense.

Sutton: Absolutely. This is what my office is dedicated to. We think smuggling drugs into this country is a serious crime. We prosecute those cases every day. We are one of the highest producing U.S. Attorneys offices in the United States, if not the highest for drug prosecutions. We are very aggressive. We prosecute drug smugglers every day. I’d much prefer to be having that discussion, but unfortunately, the criminal behavior of these two agents brought us to this point.

Earlier in the interview, Sutton had mentioned in passing during the interview that Department of Homeland Security investigators were involved with Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila’s family. We are separately told that Homeland Security’s Christopher Sanchez was in Mexico investigating Aldrete-Davila when the U.S. Attorney’s office decided it was best to give him immunity. What was that all about?

Clearly, the drug cartels knew who Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila was. Where did Aldrete-Davila get the drugs in the first place? We can imagine that a different prosecutor who was totally focused on stopping drug trafficking from Mexico could have used the facts of this case to begin a sweeping investigation into the Mexican drug traffic. But U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton chose not to go that route.

That Sutton was drawn to the presumption that the Border Patrol agents in this case were the bad guys weighs heavily upon the credibility of the Bush administration to be serious about protecting U.S. citizens by securing our border. We strongly believe that with Ramos and Compean in prison, U.S. Attorney Sutton has given Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila the upper hand in suing the Border Patrol for $4 million for violating his civil rights.

If Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a drug smuggling ”dirt bag” from Mexico, ends up being rewarded $4 million while Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean are in federal prison, we believe President George W. Bush will once and for all lose the sympathy and credibility of the American people on the issue of border security.

We will then rightly conclude that George W. Bush has always had only one intention and that is to do anything necessary to force another ”guest-worker amnesty” down the throat of the American people. This is the bill the Bush administration supported in the 109th Congress and it is the bill we suspect the Bush administration will force once more in the 110th Congress.

Meanwhile, the clever attorneys for Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila will be preparing to collect by calling the U.S. Attorney’s office forward to testify as they pursue their client’s claim for damages against the imprisoned Border Patrol agents.

US Attorney Johnny Sutton

Johnny Sutton

 

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

 

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In response to glory-hole Tony Snow‘s comment concerning former border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, “Border Guards must obey laws, too,” World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah hits the nail on the head with his response: Presidents must obey laws as much as the rest of us. Even more so, it is incumbent upon them to strictly uphold those laws as leaders of a nation, particularly the United States of America, are held to a much higher standard than practically anyone else on the face of the planet.

With millions of illegals entering our country yearly, Bush and his regime are guilty of federal crimes because they not only allow illegal immigrants to flow over our borders nearly unfettered, but our incompetent administration practically invites them with open arms by gifting illegal aliens with more protections under the law and greater benefits than the average American citizen receives. Is it any wonder why true conservatives (no, neo-cons are not true conservatives) are turning their back on this American President? Though one wonders why it took them so long.

I know people who don’t believe illegal immigration harms us. In fact, those same people believe they are a benefit. Hardly. Siphoning welfare, healthcare, and education, costing taxpayers billions in insurance fraud and identity theft, closing down emergency rooms because of detrimental laws and regulations, reducing fair wages and demoralizing American workers–these are only some of the results of the Bush administration not doing the job it should. These are only some the fruits born of the villainous actions committed by our government.

This is what happens when President Bush does not obey American laws.

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between the lines Joseph Farah


WND Exclusive Commentary


Presidents must obey law, too


Posted: January 17, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Asked again at a recent White House press conference whether President Bush would consider a pardon for two Border Patrol agents facing long prison sentences for shooting in the rump a drug dealer they were pursuing, Tony Snow said: “Border guards must obey the law, too.”

Apparently, Snow and the president are appalled about the fact that the agents retrieved spent shells at the scene – a violation of procedure in what was perceived as a cover-up of the incident.

Snow’s reaction in speaking for the president raises some questions in my mind.

Hasn’t the problem with the border and immigration policy in this country been a result of non-enforcement of existing laws, largely by the executive branch of government?

Is the president obeying the laws of the land when he chooses not to enforce them?

How have 20 million aliens entered our country illegally if the president and his predecessor were enforcing border and immigration laws?

Our very national security is threatened by the abject refusal of the White House over a span of six years to obey the law, to enforce the law, to carry out his constitutional duty to protect the citizens of the U.S.

It seems odd – bizarre really – that the White House would focus on a mere technicality in the case of the Border Patrol agents bravely and heroically doing their jobs, while conveniently overlooking the president’s criminal neglect of the duly enacted laws of the land.

The president has been reminding the American people of late that we are at war. Yet, with our own national security concerns at home, Bush hasn’t at all acted like a wartime president.

Indeed, we are at war with people on foreign soil who want to destroy America. And we are at war with people invading this country – some of whom certainly want to destroy this country.

I am sickened by the case against the two Border Patrol agents – Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. On Feb. 17, Alonso, 37, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year, responded to a request for backup from Compean, 28, who had seen a suspicious van near the border town of Fabens, Texas.

Both pursued a suspect, a drug smuggler by the name of Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, who fled across the border to Mexico, but not before the agents saw what they believed to be a gun in his hands and heard shots fired. Both fired in return in an effort to stop his escape.

Instead of being given medals for heroism, the two agents were hit with charges of violating the illegal alien’s civil rights. The illegal alien, with 800 pounds of marijuana in his van, was given full immunity from prosecution to testify against the agents. You the taxpayer even paid his medical expenses for getting shot in the buttocks.

It turns out Border Patrol agents are forbidden from pursuing fleeing suspects.

How about that? How much sense does that make?

Oh, and by the way, the illegal alien drug dealer promptly returned to his drug-running business after the incident and the granting of immunity – this time bringing in an even bigger load of marijuana, for which he was also given immunity for his testimony in the case against the law enforcement agents.

Well, I guess it makes lots of sense if our goal is not really to stop, or even slow down, illegal infiltration of this country.

Won’t you sleep better at night knowing that Border Patrol agents are forbidden from pursuing fleeing suspects?

Won’t al-Qaida and MS-13 be glad to hear about this policy – if they haven’t already?

Why wouldn’t drug smugglers and coyotes continue to take chances with the knowledge that they can simply outrun those charged with protecting our border?

Both Compean and Ramos were found guilty and could each face 10 years in prison.

Are you outraged?

I am.

As Ramos explains: “How are we supposed to follow the Border Patrol strategy of apprehending terrorists or drug smugglers if we are not supposed to pursue fleeing people? Everybody who’s breaking the law flees from us. What are we supposed to do? Do they want us to catch them or not?”

I guess not.

Which act of alleged lawbreaking concerns you more – the one by the Border Patrol agents or the one that continues by the president of the United States as he turns his back on the biggest security threat to this nation at the border?

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