The ongoing federal government shutdown, now the longest in United States history, is undermining the FBI’s ability to protect the country from criminals and terrorists according to a report released this week by the FBI Agents Association. Entitled “Voices from the Field,” the report contains stories from agents across the country that detail the effect of the shutdown on the FBI’s work. Like other federal workers, agents currently are working without pay. The president of the Agents Association, Thomas O’Connor, appeared on the NewsHour on Tuesday to discuss the report. Keep reading for more news.
Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month. As this press release from the NCAOC explains, January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The release details some of the work of the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission, which includes among other things funding research, educating law enforcement, and developing regional response teams. The Commission will be holding regional symposium in Charlotte in February.
Citizen-Times Race Reports. The Asheville Citizen-Times published a number of stories this week that look at issues of race in policing in that city.
Last year, the News Roundup noted developments in the case of Johnnie Rush, a black man who was stopped by APD officers late at night for jaywalking. Rush was crossing a deserted street in the middle of the night when he was stopped. He fled from the stop and was soon thereafter beaten by one officer, Christopher Hickman who is white. This week the Citizen-Times released a word-for-word transcript of the encounter in which Hickman tells Rush prior to tackling him that he is “going to get (expletive) up hardcore.”
The Rush incident prompted the Citizen-Times to analyze police data in Asheville to determine whether racial disparities in policing exist. This report says that APD data shows disparities in traffic stops and RDO charges, though, without specifically saying whether a racial disparity exists, notes that use of force incidents declined by half in 2018 following implementation of a new policy issued in response to the Rush incident. An explanation of the paper’s method of analysis is here.
Former NC Prosecutor Convicted. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that a former prosecutor in Wilkes and Yadkin counties was convicted last week of trespassing at Wake Forest University, and as a consequence violated a deferred prosecution agreement that would have kept a secret peeping conviction off of his criminal record. Brooke McKinley Webster was trespassed from campus after an incident at Wake that led to him pleading guilty to misdemeanor secret peeping in 2017 and entering the deferred prosecution agreement.
Jayme Closs. The Associated Press reports that the turkey products producer Jennie-O has announced that it will donate $25,000 it had offered as a reward for information related to the disappearance of Jayme Closs directly to Closs herself. Last Fall, Closs’s parents, each of whom worked for Jennie-O, were found murdered in their Wisconsin home and Closs was missing. Earlier this month, Closs freed herself from the man who allegedly killed her parents and kidnapped her. That man, Jake Patterson, is in custody and has been charged with kidnapping and murder.
Amanda Knox. The Associated Press also reports that the European Court of Human Rights has ordered Italy to pay Amanda Knox $20,000 in damages for the failure of police in that country to provide legal assistance and an independent interpreter during a night of questioning when Knox was suspected of murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy.
This is Not a Trap. A final story from Asheville this week where criminal justice officials are assuring the public that “Amnesty Day,” which is happening today, is not a trap. The event is designed to allow prosecutors to review backlogged cases involving failures to appear, traffic citations, outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants, and other minor victimless offenses for the purpose of clearing the cases off the court docket. Between 9 a.m. and noon today, people with such issues can come to the courthouse to have their cases reset or their charges dismissed without fearing that they will be arrested.