Earlier in the week, I wrote about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms after a report published by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel showed its agents routinely engaging in disgraceful tactics. Among the recent ploys:
using mentally disabled Americans to help run unnecessary sting operations; establishing agency-run “fronts” in “safe zones” such as schools and churches; providing alcohol, drugs, and sexual invitations to minors; destroying property and then expecting the owners to pick up the tab; and hiring felons to sell guns to legal purchasers. Worse, perhaps, in a wide range of cases, undercover agents specifically instructed individuals to behave in a certain manner — and then arrested and imprisoned them for doing so.
Today, the Journal reports that:
A national disability group is highly critical of ATF operations that used mentally disabled people and then charged them, and it has demanded that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder take immediate action.
“With DOJ’s commitment to the protection of rights of people with disabilities, we were appalled to read news reports of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agents engaging in entrapment and exploitation designed to prey on the intellectual disability of individuals whom ATF agents sought to engage in their stings, some of whom have been prosecuted for their participation,” Berns wrote.
The group made it clear that it was serious:
“Without a firm repudiation of the reported behaviors by ATF agents, the public and the disability community, in particular, will lose faith in a department which it trusts to protect its rights, not to entice vulnerable people into legal trouble,” Berns wrote.
Berns offered Holder The Arc’s assistance in making the changes.
The full story here.