Impact of Unsecured Release on Georgia Crime Emphasized at Hearing

Law-enforcement professionals and judges testified at a Georgia Senate hearing Wednesday largely to consider the impact of pretrial release on violent crime in Atlanta and elsewhere, with particular scrutiny being placed on “signature bonds.”

Jeff Hamling, a representative of the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen (GAPB), gave the Senate Public Safety Committee a rundown of statistics pertaining to defendants who have been let out of jail under these arrangements. Signature bonds permit prosecutors and judges to release alleged offenders per a signed agreement that the defendants will report promptly for trial. Technically, these bonds have dollar amounts but they do not require defendants to deposit any cash or collateral.

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Number of Police Officers Assaulted While on Duty Skyrocketed in 2020, FBI Data Shows

Minneapolis Police Department

Violence against law enforcement officials increased dramatically in 2020, according to a Monday FBI press release. Over 60,000 assaults on law enforcement officers while in the line of duty occurred in 2020, an increase of over 4,000 from just over 56,000 on-the-job assaults in 2019, according to the press release.

Of all the officers assaulted in 2020, more than 18,500, or just over 30%, sustained injuries. Just under 44,500 assaults employed “personal weapons,” including “hands, fists, or feet,” and 25.8% of officers attacked in this manner suffered injuries.

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‘Just Unconscionable’: Parents Protest Outside the Justice Department Against ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Label

Parents protesting

Frustration at school boards boiled over for some parents and activists who protested outside of the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Sunday.

A small crowd gathered for the “Parents Are Not ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Rally,” a reference to Merrick Garland’s Oct. 4 memorandum that called on the FBI to “use its authority” in response to the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

Garland’s statement followed a letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA) that asked the federal government to get involved in the alleged “immediate threat” of violence from parents against American public schools and education officials. The letter encouraged President Joe Biden’s administration to use statutes such as the USA PATRIOT Act to address actions that could be “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

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Walgreens Closing Five Bay Area Locations Due to Spike in Shoplifting

People looting a Walgreens

The pharmaceutical chain Walgreens will be closing five stores in San Francisco, California due to a spike in “organized” shoplifting impacting its locations, according to MarketWatch via MSN.

The decision was made by Walgreens’ parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., which will relocate all employees to new locations and ship all outstanding prescriptions to other stores within one mile of the original stores. The stores will be shut down sometime between November 8th and November 17th.

“Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average,” the company revealed in the statement announcing the decision. “To help combat this issue, we increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average, in an effort to provide a safe environment.”

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Georgia Senate Committee Weighs Pension Changes to Attract and Retain Troopers

A committee established this year to examine retirement security for Georgians focused on public servants’ retirement needs in a hearing Thursday, particularly those of law-enforcement officers strained by heightened crime and a hostile media.

Members of the Senate Retirement Security for Georgians Study Committee examined pension reform—specifically the potential shifting from the current 401(k) system to an entirely defined-benefit plan for state law-enforcers—to attract and retain more personnel.

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Commentary: Defund Police Movement to Blame for Record 30 Percent Surge in Murders Across America

Police advocates say the Defund the Police movement is responsible for the nearly 30 percent increase in murders in 2020, the largest single-year jump since the FBI began recording crime statistics six decades ago.

The change in murder was widespread — a national phenomenon and not a regional one. Murder rose over 35 percent in cities with populations over 250,000 that reported full data.

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Commentary: New January 6 Stories That Complicate the Media Narrative

The Associated Press reported in August that Robert Reeder, a Maryland man, pleaded guilty to “parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.” He argued for leniency because, “he is a registered Democrat who wasn’t a supporter of former President Donald Trump.” So why did he join the incursion into the Capitol building? Because, he says, he was an “accidental tourist” with nothing better to do.

But an online group that calls itself Sedition Hunters recently tweeted a picture it says shows that same “accidental tourist” attacking a police officer. Curiously, the “accidental tourist,” who didn’t support Donald Trump, happened to be wearing a red “MAGA”-style hat. His attorney argued in court, “Mr. Reeder is not politically active, is not and has never been a member of any right-wing or anti-government or extremist group and has, unfortunately, been publicly grouped with many others (whose) views he abhors.”

The story reminds one of John Sullivan, a Black Lives Matter activist who infiltrated the January 6 incursion to encourage violence, bully police officers, and generally stoke mayhem. While many of the trespassers remain locked up without bail, Sullivan mysteriously received pre-trial release.

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Brushing off Supreme Court Rulings, California County Fines Church as Commercial Enterprise

Hands praying on top of a Bible

While the state of California and multiple counties continue to settle with churches after imposing unconstitutional restrictions against them, one county is expanding its efforts to pursue damages against a church, claiming their worship services are a public nuisance.

In its latest request, filed Aug. 31, Calvary Chapel has asked the court to dismiss the public nuisance claim along with the $2.8 million in fines levied against it, arguing the county has not provided any evidence to support the accusation that the church has caused any harm to the public.

The battle between the county and the church began in late spring 2020 after the state and county encouraged residents to protest the death of George Floyd without numerical limitations or public health restrictions, even as the same authorities imposed severe constraints on houses of worship.

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Commentary: Jacob Chansley Pleads Guilty to Obstruction, Remains in Jail

Jacob Chansley, arguably the most iconic figure of the January 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol, today pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Chansley, 33, turned himself in to law enforcement and was arrested on January 9. A grand jury indicted Chansley two days later on six nonviolent counts including obstruction, civil disorder, and “parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.” The remaining counts will be dropped.

Judge Royce Lamberth accepted Chansely’s plea agreement with Joe Biden’s Justice Department, which continues to arrest and charge Americans for even minor involvement in the Capitol protest. Nearly 200 defendants face the obstruction charge, a felony added to mostly misdemeanor cases. (I explained the charge here in March.)

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Commentary: Officer Fanone’s Bodycam Video of Capitol 6 Riot Still Not Released

At least one federal judge handling several Capitol protest criminal cases is paying attention to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s show trial about the events of January 6.

Judge Thomas Hogan, 83, who has served on the D.C. District Court for nearly 40 years, referred to public testimony given last week by four law enforcement officers while he scolded a husband and wife over their involvement in the protest. 

“[H]e begins by talking about the violence, and makes clear he listened to the police officers who testified before Congress last week about their experience, and notes the recent suicide of [a Metropolitan Police Department] officer,” Zoe Tillman, a reporter for BuzzFeed, live-tweeted during the couple’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

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David Ralston Proposes New Resources to Fight Atlanta’s Crime Problem

GA David Ralston

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) this week proposed spending $3 million in additional state law enforcement resources to fight Atlanta’s worsening crime problem. This, according to an emailed press release.

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Commentary: Florida’s DeSantis Is America’s Great Right Hope

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Democratic Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsom of California, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan shatter everything they touch. Ron DeSantis, conversely, seems to get everything right. The Florida Republican has emerged as America’s governor. 

“We’re standing with our folks. We’re going to do the right thing. We leaned into it, and we stood strong,” DeSantis told Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently.

Rather than snip a tax, kill a regulation, and then doze off, as too many Republicans have done, DeSantis is a tireless, full-spectrum conservative. He has authorized a host of economic, cultural, and law enforcement initiatives that are buoying Florida and transforming him into the Great Right Hope.

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Rising Crime Forces Liberals to Reckon with Their Stance on the Police

by Ailan Evans   As rates of violent crime continue to rise across the country and once-safe neighborhoods face increased dangers, many liberal communities are having to confront their complicated relationship with the police. Following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, the defund the police movement attracted attention and support…

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Police Departments in Multiple Major Cities Won’t Say If Gang Violence Is Increasing

Back of Police officers uniform

Police departments in several major cities would not say if gang violence in the region has increased in the last year, despite an overall increase in reports of violent crime.

Some police departments said the motive behind crimes isn’t always known while multiple others said they would not be able to provide any information unless a formal records request was submitted.

Over 1,600 violent crimes were recorded in 2021 and reported homicides were up 13% from last year in Washington, D.C., according to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). The MPD does not publicly report instances of gang-related activity or offenses.

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Commentary: Recent History Suggests FBI Involvement in January 6

Remember Christopher Steele?

The author of the infamous 2016 “dossier” was an impeccably credentialed former British intelligence officer who, we were assured, had the goods on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. Nearly every major news and opinion outlet vouched for his reputation and reliable sources inside the Kremlin.

Steele frequently was described as an “ex-spy” in charge of a well-respected global consulting firm in London; he was alternatively a victim of Trump’s public taunts and a hero willing to risk his life and reputation to spare America the election of a Putin puppet.

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New York City Drops Majority of Rioting and Looting Cases from 2020

People looting Walgreens at night

Several borough District Attorneys in the city of New York have controversially decided to drop the majority of cases against rioters and looters who were arrested over the course of the last year, as reported by Breitbart.

The report first came from NBC New York, which says that “data reviewed by the NBC New York I-Team shows 118 arrests were made in the Bronx during the worst of the looting in early June.” Of those 118 cases, the Bronx DA has dismissed 73 cases, leaving only 45. There are still 18 cases open, and there have been just 19 convictions so far.

“In Manhattan,” the report continues, “the NYPD data shows there were 485 arrests. Of those cases, 222 were later dropped and 73 seeing convictions…another 40 cases involved juveniles and were sent to family court; 128 cases remain open.”

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Biden Bureau of Land Management Nominee Tracy Stone-Manning Was Involved in ‘Eco-Terrorism’ Case, Resulted in College Roommate’s Conviction, Prison Sentence, Court Records Show

Tracy Stone-Manning

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning, received legal immunity to testify in a 1993 criminal trial, court documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show. The trial resulted in a 17 month prison sentence for tree spiking, a violent tactic used to prevent logging.

Stone-Manning testified that she sent an anonymous and threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of John P. Blount, who she identified as her former roommate and a member of her circle of friends, court documents show. The letter warned that a local forest in Idaho set to be logged had been sabotaged with tree spikes, according to the documents.

“P.S. You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt,” the letter stated.

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Metro Atlanta Leaders to Use Federal Money to Address Crime

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Leaders in the metro Atlanta area said they plan to use American Rescue Plan funding to address public safety issues.

Officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties and the city of Atlanta have announced plans to use a portion of the federal aid to increase public safety or address criminal justice backlogs.

According to several reports, Atlanta and adjacent cities have seen a spike in crime over the past year. State lawmakers have launched a study to look at ways to curb the issue. Gov. Brian Kemp directed $5 million last month from his emergency fund to address the crisis.

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Kemp Suspends Embattled Mayor After Fraud, Identity Theft Charges

Gregory Carswell Jr.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has suspended Waynesboro Mayor Gregory Carswell Jr. from office after the mayor’s indictment on felony fraud, forgery and theft charges.

Carswell, an evangelical pastor, was elected mayor of the city outside of Augusta in 2017. He was indicted in December on one count of identity fraud, one count of theft by taking, one count of theft by deception and one count of forgery in the second degree. Carswell announced May 17 he was taking a leave of absence as mayor because of his legal troubles and personal issues.

“Of course, you know we have legal issues that are going on, and we want to deal with those, and we want the citizens to have the full confidence and trust and knowing the people they elected are going to do the best things for them,” Carswell said at the May 17 city council meeting.

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Georgia Lawmakers to Study Crime in Atlanta

Police line do not cross tape

Georgia lawmakers will study the rise in crime in Atlanta this summer.

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee plans to hold a series of hearings to look at the causes and solutions for the increase in crime in the state’s capital city.

“We want to have productive hearings that can get down to exactly what’s going on because, as you all know, the success of the city of Atlanta is directly impacted by the success of Georgia and vice versa,” Committee Chair J. Collins, R-Villa Rica, said.

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Texas State Border Officials Fear Large Spikes in Overdose Deaths with Drug Traffic Increases

Texas Department of Public Safety SUV

Texas officials said Thursday they’re worried about dramatic spikes in drug overdose deaths in some areas of the state as illegal border crossings and drug trafficking have picked up since President Joe Biden took office.

Gov. Greg Abbott joined Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw and Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn on Thursday in Fort Worthto provide an update on the border crisis.

“We’re heading for a 50 percent increase in overdose deaths in Tarrant County alone,” Waybourn warned, noting that the amount of drugs flooding into Tarrant County has skyrocketed even with DPS intervention.

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Nation’s Largest Cities Suffered 30 Percent Increase in Homicides in 2020, Report Finds

Homicides spiked 30% in 34 of the United States’ largest cities in 2020, according to a report conducted by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.

Of the cities studied in the report, Chula Vista, California, saw the greatest increase in homicides, with 150% more in 2020 than the previous year. Madison and Milwaukee, the two largest cities in Wisconsin, saw increases of 100% and 85%, respectively, while only four cities – Raleigh, North Carolina; Baltimore; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Virginia Beach – saw declines in 2020.

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LAPD Reports Homicide Rate Highest in 10 Years

Los Angeles police announced 300 homicides have occurred in the city so far this year, a figure not seen after a decade of reductions in overall crime and street violence, police department officials said Sunday.

The depressing statistic comes amid growing concerns about spikes in violence this year, not just in Los Angeles but also other big cities across the nation as they continue to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic and all the social and economic fallout, CNN reports.

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