LaSalle County - (ECWd) -
We are seeing less and less trust in our government, to include our police officers. The vast majority of our law enforcement are doing the job they were hired to do and doing it honorably. As with any group of people, a few bad apples bring shame to the whole group. Until the good ones hold the bad ones accountable, it's only going to get worse.
We are asking the FBI and the US Attorney's Office to hold LaSalle County SAFE Officer Ed Jauch accountable to the law!
Yes, Ed Jauch, the Commander for the SAFE UNIT has held himself out as an FBI agent and the video appears to confirm it.
Colin Brand, a California resident was stopped by the SAFE Unit and ended up having his cash seized, yet no charges of any criminal activity were ever filed. This is commonly referred to as Civil Asset Forfeiture. In short, the taking of your property by claiming it had ties to drug crimes even though no charges are ever brought. In this case, no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found in Mr. Brand's vehicle, however, the officers performing the stop claimed the drug dog alerted. For those in Edgar County, this sounds like a Deputy Dee Burgin stop so many became familiar with during his drug dog days.
Brand was brought in for questioning, and according to Brand, was questioned by FBI agent Jauch, as that is how he introduced himself prior to the video being turned on. A review of the video confirms Brand refers to him as an FBI agent at approximately the 1:30-minute mark of the video but more importantly is the acknowledgment at the end by Officer Jauch, who is not an FBI agent but does claim to be a "deputized" FBI task force officer.
14:58 mark of the video:
Brand: "Why am I talking to an FBI agent?"
Commander Jauch: "Well, that's the way the unit is set up, OK? All of us are chosen and put into this unit, I'm just the guy that does the investigation. "
At no time does Commander Jauch correct Brand's assertion of him being an FBI agent but instead provides confirmation that is the way the unit (SAFE) is set up. I spoke with Mr. Brand and he confirmed that this officer did, in fact, introduce himself as an FBI agent and at no time did he clarify that he was not, as is confirmed in the video.
Maybe officer Jauch should read 18 US Code 912:
"Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."
According to the Department of Justice, Jauch should be in serious trouble!
18 USC 912 defines two separate and distinct offenses. The offenses are impersonation coupled with acting as such and impersonation coupled with demanding or obtaining something of value in such pretended character. False personation of an officer or employee of the United States is an element of both offenses. The impersonation must be of a federal officer (see Massengale v. United States, 240 F.2d 781, 782 (6th Cir. 1957)), and may be affected by verbal declarations as well as by the exhibition of a counterfeited badge or a false certificate of authority. Pierce v. United States, 86 F.2d 949, 951 (6th Cir. 1936). Government officials are impersonated by any persons who assume to act in the pretended character. United States v. Lepowitch, 318 U.S. 702 (1943). Thus action alone may amount to a false pretense of federal authority. See Heskett v. United States, 58 F.2d 897, 902 (9th Cir. 1932) (by inquiring about passports, defendants pretended to be federal immigration officers).
The LaSalle County SAFE Unit has been shut down pending an Illinois Supreme Court hearing on the operation of what is an illegal police department working under the control of the LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne. Towne has troubles of his own from illegal campaign donation reporting, to spending confiscated drug money in direct violation of the law.
By all indications, LaSalle County is a target rich environment for the FBI as it's clear no one in this state is stepping up to hold these people accountable to our laws. Failure to hold law enforcement accountable simply ensures more people in this country will distrust those very entities in the future.
We can only wonder what will come of what appears to be a violation of federal law by a professed officer of the law in LaSalle County.
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