Posts Tagged ‘Law Enforcement’
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
James “Whitey” Bulger at 23 in 1953
James “Whitey” Bulger was captured yesterday by the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force, along with his girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth Greig. Bulger was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film The Departed in 2006 and Showtime’s Brotherhood, and his capture crosses him off the FBI’s Ten Mosted Wanted list.
Whitey’s girlfriend Catherine was also a wanted fugitive, and the FBI launched a media campaign focusing on Catherine to canvass for tips. The campaign was successful–Tuesday evening they received a tip that led the task force to an apartment in Santa Monica. After staking out the apartment and spotting the fugitives, the task force used a “ruse” to lure Whitey from the building. They then entered to arrest Catherine.
Whitey was wanted for 19 counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, narcotics distribution and money-laundering, crimes committed during his time as head of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston. He was on the Most Wanted list since 1999 and a fugitive since 1995. He was also featured on America’s Most Wanted a number of times.
For more on his capture, click here.
Read our entry about the FBI’s Most Wanted, and a recent addition to the list
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
Osama Bin Laden, a name that strikes fear in to American hearts and the hearts of our allies, is dead. A man that has been haunting the spirit of our nation for the last decade was killed in mere minutes by a team of American Navy SEALS, inside of his custom built hideout in Abbottobad Pakistan. Three other males were killed in the raid, one of them being Bin Laden’s son who has not been named at this time. Bin Laden was shot in the head when he and his bodyguards resisted forces. Officials say that one woman was also killed when she was used as a human shield for one of the males. No Americans were harmed, but in a matter of moments after President Obama’s speech, the State Department issued an alert, warning US embassies of the possibility of anti-American violence.
Despite the fact that the operation went seamlessly, the Bin Laden raid was not an easy one. His compound was surrounded by 8 feet of barbed wire. There were also additional 7 foot security walls within the compound. So what factors contributed to Bin Laden’s defeat you may ask? US officials say that inside information was an integral part of the operation’s success. The Bin Laden family was also the only family that burned trash, and the only million dollar home that was without phone or internet connections; a giveaway that the compound was ideal to hide someone of great significance. Administration said that the raid was kept so secretive that no foreign officials were told in advance, and very few within the US government were privy to prior knowledge of the history that was about to unfold a world away.
On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 lives were lost in the worst attacks of terrorism on American soil. On May 1, 2011, the man responsible for this horrific amount of innocent bloodshed was finally brought to justice. Bin Laden’s capture sent throngs of cheering Americans in to the streets in both Times Square, and in front of the White House. Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93, issued a heartfelt statement saying, “This is important news for us, and for the world. It cannot ease our pain, or bring back our loved ones. It does bring a measure of comfort that the mastermind of the September 11th tragedy and the face of global terror can no longer spread his evil”.
Please check back soon for updates on the forensic discoveries relating to Bin Laden’s capture and killing. For more information, please click here or here.
Read about the role of forensicsin Bin Laden’s defeat
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
Timothy’s McVeigh’s mugshot
On April 19th 1995, a rented Ryder truck containing 5000 lbs. of ammonium nitrate fertilizer parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. At 9:02 a.m. the bomb detonated, ripping through the north side of the building killing 168 innocent people, including 19 small children as well as injuring an additional 700. Approximately 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius sustained damaged, and it is estimated to have caused at least $652 million in total damages.
Ninety minutes after the attack, Timothy McVeigh was pulled over by the highway patrol and arrested on a firearms charge. Shortly thereafter, McVeigh was linked to the attack; a friend, Terry Nichols, assisted him. Their motivation: revenge against the Federal Government for the Waco tragedy that occurred two years prior. While all the deaths were tragic and senseless, it is hard to comprehend the intentional killing of children. In an attempt to justify his actions, McVeigh later stated, “I didn’t define the rules of engagement in this conflict. The rules, if not written down, are defined by the aggressor. It was brutal, no holds barred. Women and kids were killed at Waco and Ruby Ridge. You put back in [the government’s] faces exactly what they’re giving out.” McVeigh was later convicted of murder and conspiracy and was put to death on June 11, 2001. Nichols was found guilty for his role in the bombing and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prior to the arrests of McVeigh and Nichols, the FBI had three theories as to who could have carried out the attack. And while international terrorism was one of them, not once was it thought to be the responsibility of homegrown terrorists. Up until the September 11th attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing was considered to be the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil in U.S. history.
While the mental, emotional, and physical effects of such an event can last a lifetime, immediate pieces of legislation were enacted in order to prevent any similar attacks. Two of the most notable were the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and the Victim Allocution Clarification Act of 1997. Smaller, but just as effective changes could also be seen in building codes, security measures, engineering improvements, and something even as simple as creating a new type of fertilizer that will not detonate when mixed with fuel oil.
While nothing can erase the tragedy and resulting loss of lives on April 19th, 1995, we can pause and reflect upon those 168 innocent people who lost their lives 16 years ago today, as well as their families, friends and associates, many of whom still grieve today.
We follow in tradition and take 168 seconds of silence to honor them.
Read about the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the man who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
Brittany Norwood was first looked at as a brave survivor after a brutal and “random” attack at the Lululemon Yoga store in Bethesda, MD. She has now been charged in the slaying of her co-worker. Norwood, 27, was charged in the March 11th death of her co-worker Jayna T. Murray, who was beaten and stabbed to death. Norwood had claimed that two men in ski masks had followed she and Murray in to the store, raping and beating both of them. Norwood was found beaten up and bruised inside the yoga store, but Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said that no evidence of sexual assault had been found, and that the bruises seemed to be self-inflicted. It was also later discovered that the only bloody shoeprints inside the store other than Norwood’s, were made by a pair of shoes that were for sale inside the store. Norwood planted them to support her story; a story that had local residents living in fear of being “randomly” murdered in a wealthy DC suburb.
Crime writer Christopher Beam reminds us how rare random murder actually is in saying, “Only 15 percent of homicides reported every year are committed by someone who doesn’t know the victim”. This information was gathered by the Bureau of Justice. Beam explains that there are several reasons why so many of us have the, “it could happen to anyone” mentality. He attributes part of this fear to a report done by the FBI in the 90’s, stating that half of homicides were committed by strangers. Criminology professors say that this report is flawed, and that part of this information was based on assumption because police reports did not establish a relationship between the victim and the killer, one way or another. Beam states that politicians also like to push “randomness” because it gives everyone a stake in the problem, and gives individuals the sense that they cannot protect themselves. The media also perpetuates this mentality, according to Beam, as murder seldom makes headlines unless it is “unusual” in some way.
To read more about the Lululemon case or Beam’s ideas on random crime, please click here or here.
Read about the outcome of the case here
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
When speaking on the first amendment, Chief Justice John Roberts says that it protects, “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate”. The Supreme Court has ruled that Westboro Baptist Church’s picketing of soldier’s funerals is to be protected under the first amendment. Host of call-in radio talk program, Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon, says that laying a loved one to rest is not a “public issue”, but a private act.
How far is too far? The first amendment prevents Congress from creating a law that eliminates freedom of speech, but not all speech should be protected. “Fighting words” and hate speech are examples of this. Even if the Westboro Church didn’t spew hatred with their famous picketing slogans including, “God Hates Dead Soldiers”, the location of their outbursts cannot be justified. Throughout history, the Supreme Court has placed restrictions on the content of some speech (i.e. The Klu Klux Klan and other famous hate groups). If individuals are unable to protest on private property, shouldn’t a private event like the mourning of a fallen hero be protected as well?
This has nothing to do with, “stifling public debate”, but everything to do with a family’s right to lay their loved one to rest without the frightening and hateful messages that the Westboro Baptist Church promotes.
Maryland Congressman, Dutch Ruppersberger, is planning to introduce a bill on Tuesday that will serve to protect families targeted by the Westboro Church. His bill states that no one can protest a military funeral five hours before or after the service. In this bill, protestors must also be 2,500 feet away from the funeral.
To read more about this, please click here or here.
Check out our coverage of other Supreme Court Cases