(Above photo: A Fast and Furious weapons used in a 2013 Gang Style Assault in Phoenix. The Phoenix Police Dept. and U.S. Government had withheld the photo from Congress and the public until it was recently released as a result of a Freedom of Information lawsuit.)
A Freedom of Information (FOI) lawsuit against a police agency that refused to turn over public information about “Fast and Furious” has resulted in more documents being released: Crime scene photos from a gang-style assault in Phoenix in 2013. One rifle used in the attack had been “walked” under the federal government’s Fast and Furious case.
The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed the FOI lawsuit against the City of Phoenix to obtain the documents withheld by the Phoenix Police Department.
The photos provide graphic evidence of the violent toll taken by the Justice Department’s use of the controversial gunwalking strategy in which agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allowed thousands of weapons to be delivered to Mexican drug cartels. The weapons have since been used in an undetermined number of violent crimes, including a Dec. 2010 shoot-out in which illegal immigrants murdered border patrol agent Brian Terry. The Justice Department has refused repeated requests from Congress and the media for an accounting of where the weapons are turning up and in what crimes they are being used.
In the Phoenix gang-style assault, which left two people wounded, an AK-47 rifle was traced to Fast and Furious. A close-up photo produced in the FOI lawsuit last week reveals the serial number.
An October letter from Republican members of Congress to the Justice Department, written prior to the photos being released, states that the rifle had been purchased by Fast and Furious suspect Sean Christopher Stewart.
[quote]Stewart pled guilty to firearms trafficking charges resulting from his involvement with Operation Fast and Furious … Stewart purchased this particular firearm on December 8, 2009, one of 40 that he purchased that day while under ATF surveillance.”—Congress’ letter to DOJ [/quote]
The letter, signed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) says that ATF traced the firearm on July 31, 2013, the day after Phoenix police officers recovered it.
“Yet, over a full year has passed, and the Department has failed to notify the Committees … This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny,” the members write in the letter.
In 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General (AG) Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over public documents in Fast and Furious. It was the first time a sitting AG was held in contempt. President Obama claimed executive privilege to prevent the release of the subpoenaed documents to Congress. Thousands of the documents were turned over in recent weeks as a result of a separate FOI lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.
The crime scene photos, some of them graphic, can be viewed on the watchdog group’s website.
[button link=”http://www.judicialwatch.org/ff-crime-scene-pictures/”]Gang Style Assault Crime Scene Photos[/button]
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