The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not follow federal disabilities law during undercover storefront stings in Milwaukee and elsewhere, one of many problems cited in sharply critical new report from the U.S. Justice Department’s Inspector General, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The inspector general investigation was launched after the Journal Sentinel uncovered failures in a 2012 ATF storefront operation in Milwaukee and others nationwide, including agents using people with developmental disabilities to promote the project. Agents then arrested those individuals at the end of the sting.
The inspector general report, the result of a 2 1/2-year probe, said its investigators found no evidence ATF agents in Milwaukee and other cities “targeted” people with disabilities or that agents knew those coming to the store had such disabilities. However, the inspector general concluded that none of the law enforcement agencies in the department, including ATF, was following a 1973 law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. In response, the Justice Department has convened a working group to address the responsibilities agents have when encountering people with disabilities during such operations. The inspector general report revealed fresh problems in the ATF storefront stings, such as the placement of the storefront in St. Louis near a Boys & Girls Club. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel