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Border Patrol’s ‘Trigger-Happy’ Reputation and More in MuckReads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? <a href="">Sign up</a> to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

“Oh, man. I hope I don’t get convicted for this.” What happens when a border patrol agent shoots and kills an unarmed teenager? Nothing, at least in the case of Juan Mendez. Mendez is one of more than 40 people killed in confrontations with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers since 2005; not a single agent has been convicted in any of those cases. “Unfortunately, this and other incidents are viewed by the general public as examples of the Border Patrol’s trigger-happy, ‘we can do what we want and get away with it’ attitude,” said one former ICE official. — Center for Investigative Reporting via @ABeckerCIR

Since 9/11, U.S. police have confiscated $2.5 billion from people not charged with crimes.  The cash has been confiscated in warrantless searches, often from motorists who faced protracted legal battles to recover their assets. Hundreds of police departments have also relied on these seizures to pad their budgets, “despite a federal ban on the money to pay salaries or otherwise support budgets.”  — The Washington Post via @msortijas 

“If we are not willing to hire such faculty, they are not willing to fund us.” Florida State’s economics department stood to gain millions from the billionaire Koch brothers if they agreed to their terms, including direct influence over the department’s hiring decisions. Documents detailing the funding proposal shed new light on the “curriculum hub” promoted by Charles Koch to influence high and college classrooms.  — Center for Public Integrity via @davelevinthal

Foreign powers are spending millions to influence U.S. policy — not through lobbyists, but through “independent” think tanks. As the New York Times reports, “the think tanks do not disclose the terms of the agreements they have reached with foreign governments. And they have not registered with the United States government as representatives of the donor countries, an omission that appears, in some cases, to be a violation of federal law.” — The New York Times via @NECIRBU

This $3.6 million state-of-the-art machine was supposed to revolutionize traumatic brain injury and PTSD research and treatment. Instead, it sits unused at a VA medical center in Central Texas. As the Austin American-Statesman reports, “not a single study based on the machine’s scans has been published. Not a single veteran has received improved treatment because of advances ushered in by the scanner,” raising questions about oversight of the VA’s $2 billion-a-year research arm. — Austin American-Statesman via @JinATX 

Dozens of Florida children are being taken to adult trauma centers not designated to treat them. According to Tampa Bay Times investigation, more than 100 pediatric patients have been taken to adult trauma centers in the last four years, in many cases causing children to wait hours longer for proper treatment because of transfer delays. — Tampa Bay Times via @KendallTTaggart 


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