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Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: The James Evans Frame Up And The Suborn Of Perjury By A State Prosecutor (Part III Of A Series)

By the time most people become aware of many of these alarming allegations against law enforcement officials in Illinois, damage control will more than likely have been well under way, while those who have been accused tap into their respective political networks to put out the flames of some very disturbing crimes that they are now openly and publicly being accused of. Some people have already said they know about this story and believe I may have received the wrong information pertaining to the Nekemar Pearson murder and subsequent conviction of Mr. James Evans for this capitol crime over twenty years ago in the town of Alton Illinois.

To many I’m sure, the emerging claims (that have now surfaced after all this time, with a voice outside of the political backdrop of Madison County Illinois) will seem too farfetched and highly unbelievable. Just like it was highly unbelievable to Mr. Evans’ family and friends during the 90’s when this case first broke in the media, that he could have even been capable of committing such a heinous crime. Perhaps to those in doubt, its also probably highly unbelievable that former detective Brad Wells allegedly parked his police vehicle outside of James Evans’ mother home on a regular after he had already been convicted and sent to prison, as an alleged scare tactic to discourage her efforts to bank roll her son’s (James) legal expenses for his appeals, and created such a frightening ordeal for her I’m told, that the stress from Wells’ alleged harassment would cause her to have a stroke so severe that she remains incapacitated to this day (Fact).

While Wells and Lakin are alleged to have violated the law along with the rights of many young black men they arrested and eventually had prosecuted, former Madison County Illinois prosecutor Keith Jensen almost certainly must have allegedly quarterbacked many of these criminal acts. As prosecutor it was his task to determine the validity of crimes in which any defendant is charged with, and it was also his duty to establish the credibility of state witnesses that are called before the court to assist in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that criminal defendants are in fact guilty of the crimes for which they are charged and convicted. I believe based on documents that I received and interviews that I have conducted with those who are familiar with this case, Keith Jensen and the men in women of the jury in The People of Illinois vs. James Evans fell short in establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that James Evans in fact killed Nekemar Pearson, and conspired to have alleged co-defendant (in the Pearson murder) Brian Warr murdered as well.

As I have already explained in a previous article related to this case, the entire James Evans indictment was problematic from the gate. Based on testimony from highly questionable and shady characters (individuals with criminal histories and pending criminal charges at the time of their indictment and trial testimonies), the prosecution couldn’t establish as a matter of fact whether Pearson was killed in Evans’ home/backyard or further north in a field in Godfrey Illinois. This was evident by virtue of how testimonies of state witnesses shifted drastically during Evans’ actual trial, from what they had previously told grand jurors during Evans’ indictment hearing.

During the trial of James Evans in the Pearson murder, it was the State’s contention (or Keith Jensen’s for the most part) that Evans killed Pearson for a home invasion robbery at Evans’ home by Pearson and another man name Marcus Hollaway. Its established as a matter of fact in the discovery of the Evans’ trial for the murder of Pearson, that prosecutor Jensen  allegedly was well aware that Hollaway and Pearson were the actual individuals who robbed Evans during the invasion of his home. However, detective Wells who extracted a confession from Hollaway regarding the crime, never pursued criminal charges against him (Holloway), and a fact that created tremendous suspension within the Alton community that Hollaway may had allegedly aided Wells in creating the entire fabricated story of Evans having been responsible for Pearson’s murder. At every step of my investigation into this case, the most prevalent question that persist, is “why wasn’t Hollaway ever indicted for the Evans home invasion robbery (that just doesn’t make any sense).

I mean let’s face it, you mean to tell me you openly confess to the police regarding a serious violent crime like home invasion, armed robbery, and kidnapping, but you get to walkout of the police station and go home the same day with no criminal charges against you? Something just doesn’t past the smell test (even from an outsider’s perspective), James Evans has consistently conveyed that he only learned Hollaway and Pearson were the perpetrators of the robbery that occurred at his home from detective Wells, long after Pearson had gone missing. If this is true, it destroys the state’s entire theory and motive as to why they say Evans killed Pearson in the first place (Reasonable doubt). Its also highly believable that Evans in fact didn’t learn until much later on because sources I’ve spoken to say that Holloway and Pearson were regulars at Evans’ home while playing video games, months after the home invasion had occurred. If there was any validity to Wells’ and Jensen’s alleged theory in Pearson’s killing being in retaliation, why would Evans allow the men responsible (Holloway and Pearson) into his home to socialize on many occasions for months after he had been robbed? Why?

Terrence Cooley’s (now deceased) grand jury testimony corroborates James Evans’ claim that he learned of Nekemar Pearson’s involvement after he had gone missing (read an excerpt from his testimony below):

The Terrence Cooley Grand Jury Testimony

“Terrence Cooley testified before the grand jury in my trial, and after his testimony, Bradley Wells (the lead detective), realizing where he was employed, kept making appearances at his place of employment. Wells told Cooley that he would continue disrupting his job until his employer terminated him. Terrence Cooley would also, later sign an affidavit attesting to Bradley Wells badgering him and suppling him with false information to give under oath. Due to the inordinate delay of post conviction proceedings in my case, Terrence Cooley has passed away and is no longer available to testify and put his affidavit on record.”

  James Evans

Cooley’s admission of Wells having attempted to influence him with false statements is one of the very aspects of this case where the suborn of perjury was initiated. Michael Hooks, Larry Greer, Clifton Wheeler, Judy Huff, Tommie Rounds (jail house snitch) Jody Wesley (jail house snitch), William Jenkins (jail house snitch), Keyanna Simpson, Ms. Mary Berry (James’ mother), and a volume of others who out of fear for their individual safety, I will decline to mention publicly, were either facing criminal charges of their own, jail house informants who more than likely may also have allegedly been under duress during their testimonies, or were allegedly the subject of continued harassment by Wells, who they claim either showed up at their places of employment continuously or followed them around.

“Detective Bradley Wells would burst into my jail cell when no one was around and threaten me and my mother. Wells told me straight to my face that I better tell my mother to back off or she is gonna be in jail next.”

James Evans

The state’s alleged motive for murder during the Evans trial wasn’t the only aspect of the case that doesn’t make sense, the case was prosecuted on pure circumstantial evidence (with no forensics what so ever connecting James Evans to the crime). In fact, there isn’t one shred of discovery that confirms that a dead body was ever in the Evans’ home, as some state witnesses alleged during the indictment proceedings and during the actual murder trial (if its anywhere in the case discovery, I would love to see it). Also, state witnesses testified that three bullets (9 millimeter) were discovered  between the actual alleged crime scene (1 projectile) and during the autopsy (2 projectiles), yet no gun belonging to Evans was ever confirmed to be a ballistic match for the recovered projectiles associated with this case. Instead, the state relied upon the testimony of some very shady witnesses who all collectively were facing pending criminal charges themselves, as the primary foundation to establish Evans’ guilt in the crime..

The demographic dynamics of the jury pool at Mr. Evans’ trial is also a story for another day, considering the setting was a small mid-west town just a stone’s throw from Ferguson, and St Louis Missouri. As I have constantly conveyed, a murder case by an alleged drug dealer in the mid 1990’s in a small western community, unaccustomed to the kind of criminal activity and violence that was happening all over the country, and now suddenly beginning to emerge in the surrounding Madison Illinois County, perhaps made a conviction inevitable for a young black man solely on mere suspicion alone.

Those interested in true justice should preface the details of the case in this manner:

  1. No forensics connected Evans to the murder.
  2. No ballistics were linked to the murder weapon, and no gun was ever linked to Mr. Evans.
  3. The body was too decomposed to make a positive identification (found with no clothing, only a watch).
  4. No scientific evidence was ever presented during trial establishing that the body officials say found in a wooded area in Godfrey Illinois, were the remains of Nekemar Pearson as a matter of forensic pathology or scientific fact (Fact).
  5. The established record in the case (Indictment Testimony and trial testimony) indicates that the solicitation of bribery, coercion of written false statements, and the Subordination of perjury were all elements of this capitol murder case.

The entire story related to how James Evans became a suspect in the murder of Nekemar Pearson, prosecuted, subsequently convicted, and sentenced to over a hundred years in an Illinois state prison is a like a script straight out of the epic film “The Hurricane.” The case is a real life story which contained a cast of suspect characters with extensive criminal histories who aligned with the state for sweet deals of leniency against James Evans, alleged corruption by Madison County police officials, and alleged subordination of perjury (a federal crime) by the state prosecutor’s office, and ineffective counsel for the defendant (Mr. Evans),

The criminal case of James Evans vs. The People of Illinois was born on the foundation of alleged solicitation of bribery for false statements and testimony, allegedly orchestrated by former detective Bradley Wells, John Lakin, and former Madison Illinois County prosecutor Keith Jensen. It was Julius Newton (deceased) who first attempted to advise the state and a grand jury about Brad Wells allegedly offering him money ($1,000) to act as a Confidential Informer, by obtaining information via a hidden wired recording device, but apparently no one took his claims seriously. However, the established record in this case reveals that there was a consistent pattern of known liars in trouble with the law, one criminal defendant who routinely acted as an agent for the state, and all compiled in a bizarre storyline that’s admittedly difficult to follow. (Link to Julius Newton’s Grand Jury Testimony below)

Grand Jury Testimony of Julius Newton

Michael Hooks

While Mr. Hooks was allegedly a self admitted liar and didn’t testify at James Evans’ trial, he was brought into court in handcuffs, wearing a prison uniform, and was scheduled to be released when he testified at the Evans indictment hearing. Hooks had a criminal history and allegedly solicited a bribe from Evans just as Wells had offered him for false testimony.

“Hooks approached me and told me that investigators were offering $1,000.00 dollars to testify falsely and avoid criminal charges. Hooks told me that if I could “top the $1,000.00 dollar offer” that detective Wells allegedly made to him for false testimony in the Nekemar Pearson murder, then he wouldn’t testify to it in court.”

James Evans

Its believed that Hooks was allegedly offered a deal for leniency or early release by prosecutor Keith Jensen, in exchange for the false testimony that detective Wells had solicited a $1,000.00 dollar bribe from him for. Hooks’ grand jury testimony is important because it establishes as a matter of fact, that he only heard gun shots on the day that Pearson was allegedly abducted by Evans, Brian Warr, and another unidentified man (suspected to be Clifton Wheeler). Its also believed to be ground zero from which the entire convoluted story allegedly fabricated by Wells, Lakin, and prosecutor Jensen derived, to have James Evans framed for the murder of Nekemar Pearson. (Click the below link to read an excerpt from Michael Hooks’ Grand Jury testimony)

Michael Hooks Grand Jury Testimony

 

Demond Spruill

The introduction of well known jail house informer Demond Spruill should have been extremely problematic for the state in Evans vs. The People of Illinois, because he had consistently been used by the state as an informer in a volume of other criminal cases prior to his grand jury and trial testimony in the James Evans case. Spruill’s ability to acquire confessions of criminal suspects was so alarming that Illinois State Supreme Court Justices overturned a murder conviction in Brown vs. The People of Illinois, primarily because Spruill was used by the state to surreptitiously obtain incriminating statements from Brown while at the Madison County Jail, without the presence of his appointed legal counsel, and in violation of the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Spruill gathered this additional evidence of the defendant’s guilt as an arm of the prosecution, at a time when the defendant was indicted, arraigned, and represented by counsel. Thus, the defendant unwittingly provided the prosecution with recordings of himself saying things that evinced consciousness of guilt on the pending murder charges, while his legal representative slept, totally unaware of the fact that the prosecution had decided to contact his client and have a few words with him. The defendant uttered more than a few self-incriminating words into a State-sponsored microphone attached to a dedicated line at the Granite City police department, at a time when the sixth amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteed counsel’s presence during any communication between State agents and the defendant. See Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 12 L. Ed. 2d 246, 84 S. Ct. 1199 (1964); see also Maine v. Moulton, 474 U.S. 159, 88 L. Ed. 2d 481, 106 S. Ct. 477 (1985).”

   Justice Keuhn, Illinois State Appellate Court 5th District

 

“When Spruill reported to an Alton detective another in a long line of jailhouse confessions, arrangements were made to allow for his release on his own recognizance. Despite his claim that he expected nothing in return for the confession that he could now provide, he did not again run from authorities. However, he did again arm himself with a handgun. While on recognizance bond, awaiting trials for armed robbery, conspiracy to commit home invasion, illegal use of weapons, and aggravated discharge of a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, Spruill was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, and charged by federal authorities for being a convicted felon in possession of yet another firearm. Clearly, Spruill had violated the conditions of his bail release. He left the state without permission and committed another crime. However, the State did not initiate any new charges because of the bail violations.”

“In any event, Spruill’s testimony was extremely vulnerable to attack, if left uncorroborated. His unrepentant criminality, juxtaposed with his remarkable ability to escape punishment for his evil ways, could have easily cast doubt upon his credibility. With a character that reflected dishonesty and utter disdain for things moral and law-abiding, anything Spruill said was suspect, particularly in light of his pattern of using jailhouse confessions as a means to his own selfish ends. There was no reason to believe that he did not expect to benefit handsomely from his testimony, when his sundry past performances always wrought substantial benefits in how he got treated.” 

    Justice Brennan, Illinois State Appellate Court 5th District

Read the entire Appellate Court opinion in Brown vs. The People of Illinois here.

 

Its now clear why the Testimony of Demond Spruill in the James Evans indictment hearing shifted drastically from what he testified to during the actual trial. Spruill probably forgot his script regarding what he allegedly was suppose to say, after allegedly being coached by state authorities on the details regarding Evans’ alleged involvement in the Nekemar Pearson murder case. State prosecutors may have been successful in convincing jurors in the trial of James Evans and others, that Spruill was in fact a credible witness, but its clear that even state Appellate Court Justices were troubled by the manner in which the state (prosecutor Keith Jensen) used Spruill repeatedly as a witness in so many high profiled cases that just happened to be confessions of defendants facing serious crimes.

For example, Spruill testified during the Evans indictment that Evans had confessed to killing Pearson as they drove in a car together in the Alton neighborhood. He claimed then that Evans stated Brian Warr shot Pearson during a fight, and Evans implored him to finish the job, and then they took him into the back of Evans’ home where Warr shot Pearson again killing him. It should also be noted that Spruill’s testimony was in line with what Michael Hooks told the grand jury. While Hooks testified to not seeing the actual shooting, he stated that he simply heard two separate gun shots as he drove off. That’s exactly what Spruill testified to also in the Evans grand jury indictment hearing (two shots at the alleged crime scene).

The Grand Jury Testimony of Demond Spruill

During the actual trial Spruill’s testimony was noticeably different, while he admits that Evans told him Brian Warr shot Pearson, his account of the Evans’ confession shifts, now claiming during the trial that after Warr shot Pearson, Warr, Evans, and another man carried Pearson’s body into the basement of Evans’ home, and the trio later loaded Pearson into a vehicle suspected to belong to Evans’, drove to a wooded area near Godfrey Illinois where, according to Spruill’s new account, Evans claimed that he (not Warr) shot Pearson, killing him and leaving him for dead. That’s a big shift considering he essentially was an agent for the state in the volume of other trials involving serious crimes.

The Evans Trial Testimony of Demond Spruill

The alarming circumstances involving the Madison County prosecutor’s office consistently using Demond Spruill was public knowledge in the media, yet the state continues create inordinate delays in the post conviction relief of a volume of men whose criminal trial were impacted by Spruill’s testimony.

 

Clifton Wheeler

In the case of Clifton Wheeler lies perhaps the most blatant form of illegality that was committed during the Evans trial. Its clear based on the record that state prosecutor Keith Jensen implored Wheeler to lie under oath (subordination of perjury) during his testimony at the Evans trial, and even lied himself. Wheeler had already been convicted of killing a man name Dwight Riddlespriger and made a plea deal to serve 23 years in prison in exchange for his cooperation in the investigation of others involved in that murder, and for his cooperation in the investigation in the murder of Nekemar Pearson (fact).

“Everyone who gave prosecutorial testimony from the county jail had sentences reduced and charges dropped. They were instructed to lie to the trial jury and say they received no favors for their trial testimony.”

“They told Clifton Wheeler to involve me in a murder and make himself an accomplice. Clifton Wheeler was charged with the murder of Dwight Riddlespriger. He did 12 years for that murder (as a gift from prosecutors).”

    James Evans

Now I know that sounds completely insane that a man would falsely implicate himself in a murder to help prosecutors convict an innocent man but James Evans’ claims are in fact true when you look at the established record of his trial and subsequent appeals. (Read an excerpt from the Wheeler Trial and plea deal below. Use pdf tools to rotate if necessary)

The Court Proceeding of Clifton Wheeler

The Wheeler deal with state prosecutors was handled by Keith Jensen himself. So, if there wasn’t any shady dealings going on related to the Evans trial, then why on earth would Jensen allow one of his star witnesses, a man who says he was involved in the killing of Nekemar Pearson along with James Evans, allow him to lie in open court about not receiving any sentencing deals from the state. We all now know that it was a complete lie, and Wheeler had already cut a deal with Jensen for a 23 year sentence in his own murder case, in exchange for his cooperation in Evans’ murder trial (Nekemar Pearson). Jensen actually leads Wheeler into the lie, perjuring both of them right in open court (subordination of perjury). Regardless of whether the state will ever prosecute Jensen for his illegal actions during the Evans Trial for allegedly murdering Nekemar Pearson, Evans’ constitutional rights to a fair and impartial trial was violated, because Jensen along with the assistance of Clifton Wheeler misled the jury during the trial.

Clifton Wheeler Testimony at the James Evans Trial

“The court, we would ask the court to retain jurisdiction over this matter. And at any time, if any of the other people are sentenced to the penitentiary, we would ask the court to enter an order that Mr. Wheeler not be placed in the same penitentiary as any of the other people that he testifies or cooperates against.”

    Keith Jensen, Former Madison County Prosecutor

Rather than the order of jurisdiction being a measure to insure Clifton Wheeler’s safety in prison while he serves his 23 year plea deal sentence, it is quite possible that the request was made to insure that none of the defendants Wheeler testified against would never actually learn about his plea deal, because after all state prosecutor Jensen showed he was capable of covering up the fact that he used Wheeler to testify against others, while suppressing the plea arrangement he made with a convicted murderer. Jensen may have perjured himself in other trials in similar fashion as he clearly did in the Evans case, that’s an act of alleged misconduct that I’m sure he took extreme care to conceal.

After all, despite the plethora of allegations now surfacing about the Madison County judicial system, we must remember that Jensen also suppressed highly exculpatory evidence that would have been fruitful to the Evans defense during trial, and he would never have known the facts of Nekemar Pearson having been seen alive by a police officer ten days after he allegedly was supposed to have been kidnapped, and subsequently murdered by James Evans if an appellate defender working on a unrelated case hadn’t forwarded the exculpatory document to him years later into his sentence.

Detective Cooley Exculpatory Document

I’ll have more details about this very disturbing case. I’m not done just yet.

To Be Continued….

 

I’m Crime Blogger David Adams

The People’s Champion

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: The James Evans Frame Up By Alleged Dirty Rogue Cops Part II

The James Evans story isn’t about a drug dealer who some say killed another man in retaliation for a home invasion robbery, but perhaps his story is indeed about an obsession on one cops part, to have James Evans incarcerated by any means necessary. I’m told that when people came into detective Brad Wells’ office there were usually two pictures on his desk. A picture of Mr. Wells’ family and another picture of Mr. James Evans’ family. That’s a very interesting scenario when you consider all of the things that were published in local Alton newspapers and other media in the surrounding areas  back in the mid 1990’s when the Nekemar Pearson disappearance and subsequent murder were front page news.

Twenty years later, with Evans now incarcerated and serving time (over a 100 years) in an Illinois state prison, conversations regarding not only the Pearson murder, but other serious crimes that occurred in Alton during that time, and the police tactics that were used by Brad Wells and John Lakin to obtain indictments of James Evans and other black men, are starting to resurface. In fact, some of the claims are so alarming that they may become problematic for Wells and Lakin respectively, who are now prominent law enforcement officials in the state of Illinois. Wells the former “heavy handed” police detective who was well known on the streets throughout the community when he worked the streets of Alton, is now the Chief of Police in the town of Wood River, Illinois. John Lakin whose name is also on a plethora of documents and indictments for a volume of black men who now claim malicious prosecution, is in fact the current Sheriff of Madison County Illinois.

After viewing documents that have been forwarded to me and speaking with former and current citizens of Alton, my nearly 9 month inquiry into some extremely alarming allegations appear to be more than just chatter about convicts looking for a get out of jail card. If many of the allegations are in fact true, Wells and Lakin both could be indicted and sent to prison for decades themselves. Also, former Madison County Illinois prosecutor Keith Jensen could be on the hook as well for criminal allegations being made regarding the indictments of a volume of young black men from the Alton community over the years.

Is it true that Brad Wells was so obsessed with having James Evans thrown in jail forever, that he paid people who were facing criminal charges themselves, for their signed false statements to obtain a wrongful conviction of Evans? Is it true that Wells and Lakin both fabricated stories and then composed false witness statements, forced people with pending criminal charges to sign them under duress in exchange for lenient sentences, and all in collaboration with the Madison County Illinois prosecutors’ office to obtain indictments against James Evans and others? Is it true that Wells and Lakin literally snatched people of the streets and throw them in jail on trumped up charges as a scare tactic to get them to cooperate with their illegal criminal tactics? Is it true that Wells and Lakin solicited false statements from anyone (charged with a crime in Alton) willing to make a deal for leniency in their own criminal struggles, to help Wells and Lakin send an innocent man to Prison? Is it also true that Wells tried to use another murder suspect (A man name Larry Greer) by having him falsely testify against James Evans to make him eligible for the death penalty (Greer allegedly backed out of the deal after learning that prosecutors sought capitol punishment for Evans)? Why are people recanting their testimony against James Evans? Are any of these allegations true?

If any of the allegations against these two prominent police officials aren’t true, then there area a volume of other questions that must be answered to come to the correct conclusion. Why are there people who claim to have been harassed by Wells and Lakin now making some of these claims? Why are there people who have never had any brushes with the law back then nor in the past 20 plus years, now making these allegations? Why are people who are making these claims so afraid, that they don’t even drive through Madison County Illinois? Why have people who say they were falsely arrested and charged by Wells and Lakin to force them to sign false statements against James Evans living in other states after having fled Alton Illinois? Why?

More importantly, why are men like Larry Greer (pending post conviction appeal over 12 years), James Miller (pending post conviction appeal over 10 years), Jeffery Ewing (pending post conviction appeal over 15 years), Valdez Jordan (pending post conviction appeal over 15 years), along with others like Jeramy Brown (whose case was reversed by state Appellate Court), and Ramone Williams (whose case was reversed by state Appellate Court despite him having plead guilty for a lighter sentence) all claiming to have been wrongfully convicted? Also, how on earth did a known jail house informer name Demond Spruill just so happen to be the person that more than have of these men (including James Evans) confessed their alleged crimes to, as testified by Spruill during their respective criminal trials (fact)?

Furthermore, these allegations are just the tip of the iceburg of allegations that some say have been committed by Wells, Lakin, and former Madison County prosecutor Keith Jensen. False arrest charges, coercion of written statements, coercion of testimony under duress, and suppression of exculpatory evidence are just a few of the severe allegations being made against three prominent law enforcement officials. If any of these allegations are even remotely true, how on earth did these two cops arrive at their current post as top law enforcement officials in the state of Illinois?

These are some very serious questions that should be answered. A long time has past and some still remember intimate details of what happened in Madison County Illinois. As one person put it, “I am not sure how they do things down there now, but this is exactly how it was if you ran into trouble with the police in Madison County back in the mid 1990’s to early 2000’s.” However, from an outsider’s perspective while reading a volume of the articles published in the local press, its clear that James Evans and others were convicted within the media long before they were ever even inside of the Madison County Court House. So, at the very least it should be the duty of the local press to perform its due diligence in seeking the truth, and more importantly finding out why the NAACP Illinois state conference is supporting the Madison County Sheriff through political endorsements if these allegations have any merit what so ever. The local media should find out why the state continues to offer James Evans a plea deal to get out of prison in exchange for a guilty plea (something he has refused to do for years), while they hold him hostage by not timely acting upon certain post conviction appellate motions filed on Evans’ behalf. Also, with the volume of new evidence now surfacing, the local media should find out why James Evans’ hired legal counsel has suddenly stopped pursuing his appeals. Why?

Ultimately I find that there are so many people who remain afraid because of the terror they say they experienced at the hands of Wells and Lakin back in Alton and the Madison County prosecutor’s office, so much so that they are fearful for their very lives still today. Others say they “aren’t kids anymore, and it’s no longer 1995.” They just “want to do the right thing and tell the truth.” I’ll have more on this story in a series as details are still emerging….

To Be Continued…..

 

I’m Crime Blogger David Adams

The People’s Champion

 

Selflessness, Compassion, Enduring Faith, And Humanity: Why A Man Name John Reilly Encompasses What It Means To Be A Champion Of The People

During a very slow day on the job this past summer, I was seated at the surveillance camera controllers where I’m employed as a store detective, when my eye catches a glance of a man who was carrying a large backpack, and appeared to be walking in a hurried fashion (classic trait of a grab in run shoplifter). “Yeah, I think I’ll watch him for a minute,” I thought to myself. A short time later my instincts appeared to be spot on, while the man began looking around in a suspicious manner, as if he was hoping no one was watching him, when he began to remove a large Bluetooth speaker from its packaging, and started walking slowly toward the exit of our department store.

I watched him walk closer and closer to the exit in complete disbelief, baffled by how nonchalantly he walks in, picks up an item of merchandise, and appears to be ready to exit the store without attempting to pay for the item. I found it to be pretty brazen, but it’s simply common place in some cultures where people steal “in open sight,” as I have come to describe this kind of theft. I dash to the exit and position myself to stop him. I make the approach as he exits the store with the speaker in plain sight, identify myself as a store detective,  and before I had the opportunity to address the obvious (stolen merchandise), he confesses to stealing the item, becomes extremely apologetic, cooperative, and pleads for me not to have him arrested.

Knowing that the merchandise was of a monetary value that wouldn’t require me to prosecute him, I began to insure him that I wasn’t going to have him taken to jail as I escorted him to the office, placed him in the holding cell area, and explained that I would get him out of my custody as soon as possible. So, as I’m processing him and gathering his information, he begins to explain to me that he has never been in trouble with the law. I simply acknowledge him to let him know that I was listening (after all, of the hundreds of people I’ve apprehended for theft the past few years, it seems as if they all had a story to tell regarding why they were in such a predicament), and he said he had just hit a rough patch in life. He explained that he had only stolen the item so he could sell it to purchase something to eat (moved by his comment, I began listening more intently).

He went on to say that he had been self employed for over 25 years, but experienced a fire at his Fairfield Connecticut home a few years back, lost everything to the fire, lost his business, and became homeless. So, he started living on the streets trying to survive the best way he could, and doing simply what he had to do to eat. It was a moving story, but the nature of my line of work requires me to desensitize myself, and process every case per company policy. I do recall however, that the day he was released from our office, I was glad that I didn’t have to compound his personal struggles any further by having him prosecuted for theft.

Meanwhile, a young colleague and fellow detective (John Reilly) would encounter a man standing just outside of the mall entrance on his way to work every day. The man (who I’ll only identify as JP) was homeless and would often ask John and others for spare change to help him get something to eat. John gave this middle age African American man (whose name was also John) a few dollars on several occasions. One day out of curiosity John asked him, what was his situation and why he doesn’t have a job? JP told John the same story he gave me about the house fire, losing his business, and his plight of being homeless. Having the capacity to empathize with his situation, John decided that he wanted to do more for JP besides just give him a few bucks here and there, because he appeared healthy, intelligent, and capable of maintaining a job.

John suggested that JP simply go online and look for a job. John told him there are all kinds of jobs online that he could apply for. JP told John that he only had a GED, a little college studying Theology, and didn’t have access to the internet, and even if he did, he wouldn’t know how to use it to apply for a job. That’s when the real humanity of this story began. John started gathering personal information from JP until he had a enough to compose an actual resume for him. John would apply for various jobs on Indeed.com and other employment websites for JP in an effort to help him overcome his homelessness and personal troubles.

John continued to apply for jobs for JP and continued to communicate with him on a regular basis to check on him, to see if he was okay, and to help him stay encouraged that a change would eventually come. John would also learn that the man was married, and naturally due to his circumstances, their relationship was on the rocks. This made John even more determined to help the man succeed and rekindle his relationship with his wife. It was all a waiting game now, and John (who is a God Fearing man himself) believed that God would deliver JP at any moment.

One day on the job while John was cleaning up and purging photographs that are taken of shoplifters, he comes across the image that I took of JP back during the summer when I apprehended him for shoplifting. John search the record database in the office, and discovered that I was the detective who apprehended JP, but he never let me or any one on our staff know how he had been helping JP. John did eventually advise JP what he does for a living and where he works. JP simply replied “oh okay.” and didn’t say anything about his shoplifting incident, so John just let it go, and continued to support JP’s efforts to get back on his feet.

On December 19, 2018 just before Christmas all of the efforts that John Reilly had put into helping JP find a job, finally came to fruition. One of the jobs that John had applied for (Maintenance Technician) responded to his application. It would eventually resolve into a direct letter from the CEO with a job offer, maintaining housing apartments, and preparing apartments for occupancy when tenants move out. The job came with an on sight apartment (immediately resolving JP’s homeless situation), 401K, medical, dental, vacation time, keys to the building, personal cellphone, company uniforms, and more. JP moved in and started on January 2, 2019.

The apartment complex where JP will now live and work has a Maintenance Technician.

So, when I received a text message from John Reilly early yesterday morning, with him inquiring whether I remembered this man? I was puzzled because the text didn’t have an image attached, but John sent the picture of JP along with a text that read. “This is that homeless guy that you apprehended,” and I instantly remembered him and the unfortunate circumstance of our encounter. John advised me that he had helped JP get a job and that he was no longer homeless. Knowing how excited John gets about the smallest thing, all I could do was just imagine his facial expressions at that very moment.

On my way into work yesterday morning I couldn’t help but think how many times we as a society have walked pass a homeless person, and simply discarded them as a nuisance without offering the smallest assistance. I believe I only know one man who has actually taken time out of his life to write resumes, cover letters, and apply to various jobs online for a homeless man that he didn’t even know. That man name is John Reilly. “John the beneficent” from this day forth.

JP’s story is a classic American tale of personal triumph in the face of darkness, despair, and homelessness. That all changed when he met a young white guy with a degree of wisdom, compassion, and humanity greater than his years on this earth. Despite the negativity of our current political climate in this country, that has been creating divisiveness among race and class, it speaks volumes when these kinds of stories emerge, and reveal the true spirit of what humanity actually looks and feel like. God Bless John Reilly, God Bless JP, and may God Bless us all. John Reilly is a real “People’s Champion,” and I tip my hat to him.

 

“The Only Thing Necessary For Evil To Prevail, Is For God Men To Stand By Idle And Do Nothing.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

I’m Crime Writer David B. Adams

The People’s Champion

 

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied: How Another Black Man Name James Evans Was Framed In An Illinois Murder Case (Part I)

Like so many cases that I have been made aware of over the years, his case was unsolicited, and brought to my attention by one of his friends. I don’t know him, nor do I know anyone in the town of Alton Illinois. It was a very close friend of Mr. James Evans who sought my assistance in bringing light to his case. Now having served nearly twenty years in an Illinois state prison for a 1995 murder that he denies having committed, I was asked to help give him a voice. In fact, I’ve even received a copy of a letter from Mr. Evans that highlights the most critical aspects of his appeal regarding his murder conviction. The letter appears to be a general letter that he may have composed to issue to anyone who would give him an ear pertaining to his plight. Then there are the volume of documents his supporters forwarded me to help make his case.

After reviewing the initial documents I received I became somewhat hesitant after learning that Evan’s case appeared to be predicated on a drug case at the height of America’s purported war on drugs. The drug element of his case and the fact that he had already been convicted, presented a tremendous upheaval for his appeal, and I wondered to myself how I could best help him. Admittedly though, I was cautious because of past cases where I have assisted those criminally charged, only to have them bail out by coping a plea deal after years of work by me and others who fought to highlight highly exculpatory details regarding their case. I soon learned after digging into the documents that were sent to me,that his case wasn’t just an average case where a convict was simply trying to get out of prison. It’s often said jokingly that every man in a state correctional facility is innocent. Mr. Evan’s case is no joking matter and he actually has the evidence to prove his innocence.

The documents I received were transcripts from his grand jury indictment, witness affidavits composed after his conviction, news articles, and other legal documents that not only depict exculpatory evidence that exonerates Mr. Evans, but also points to a potential pattern of corruption, conspiracy to convict an innocent man, and other actions by law enforcement and state prosecutors that could result in criminal charges for many of these officials who were involved in his criminal case. Now that’s a brash statement declaring corruption and criminal activity by those charged with upholding the law in the state of Illinois, a charge that we’ve heard countless times before by convicted criminals, but Mr. Evans actually has documents related to his case that are very compelling and may help to prove his case, and free him from prison in a wrongful conviction.

I really don’t know if Mr. Evans (also known on the streets as “Raven”) was in fact a drug dealer. Those were the claims of many witnesses who testified against him during his trial, and considering the time in our country when this murder took place, the very mentioning of drug soliciting may have been sufficient to secure a conviction, as drug dealing and violent murder were a national epidemic in this country at that time. However, it should be noted that many of these same witnesses who testified against Mr. Evans were also embroiled within the Illinois criminal justice system pending criminal charges of their own, and either had their charges dropped, reduced, given lenient plea deals for their crimes, and in some instances were even paid money by police and the prosecutor’s office after having testified against Mr. Evans during his murder trial (fact).

The murder victim (Mr. Nekemar Pearson) who was also accused of a previous murder himself (a man name William Nicholes), allegedly went missing on June 23, 1995. Pearson was on court order to be at home by 6 p.m., and was reported missing by his mother on June 24th after he failed to come home at the court ordered prescribed time. There had been a barbecue in the community in Alton where Evans and Pearson both lived. Witnesses accounts state that Evans was the last person to be seen with Pearson at or somewhere near the barbecue before he disappeared (it was rumored that Pearson may have been on the lame (hiding from relatives of Nicholes) after fleeing relatives of a man he was accused of murdering, while they pursued him on foot and in vehicles the day he went missing). A crucial factor to consider in the disappearance and subsequent murder of Nekemar Pearson, is the day he went missing was in fact the 1 year anniversary of the date he allegedly killed Will Nicholes. During the grand jury indictment of James Evans (who police claim killed Pearson with the help of  Brian Warr and Clifton Wheeler) testimony was given, that during the police investigation of Pearson’s murder, police officials were offering cash for information that would implicate Evans, Warr, and Wheeler in the killing. Affidavits show that some of the same cops practice similar tactics in the criminal cases of others, and perhaps their illegal tactics were the sole reason they were able to secure a conviction against James Evans;

Police officials claim that Evans was a drug dealer and he had impregnated Pearson’s girlfriend, and in retaliation they say Pearson kidnapped Evans, robbed him of cash, stole his chevy blazer, and throw him out of the vehicle. Pearson then allegedly took Evan’s truck and removed expensive speakers from the vehicle and sold them on the streets. After these events allegedly occurred, it was rumored that Pearson went throughout the community bragging about what he had done to Evans, and cops claim that Pearson was murdered by Evans with the help of another man name Brian Warr ( who was also murdered later on, and after admitted false testimony, Evans was convicted of soliciting Warr’s murder). From the grand jury indictment hearing and investigative tactics carried out by Alton police officials, the case against James Evans was on shaky ground from the very start.

Depending of which witness you believe, if any at all, you’ll find that most of the information provided in the indictment hearing was all based on hearsay and street talk, which was even pointed out during the hearing itself by one of the grand jurors (Click below link to view an excerpt from the Evans Indictment hearing, as witness Michael Hooks testifies about cops offering money for information to obtain and arrest for Evans, Warr, and another man).

Grand Jury Money Testimony

The prosecution’s theories regarding how and where Pearson was killed was never firmly established for the jury during the actual trial. The testimony of many of the state’s witnesses also changed from their grand jury testimony, to what they testified to during Evans’ actual murder trial. The state has contended that Evans duct taped Pearson and put him in his basement, until he placed Pearson inside the trunk of his car, drove to a wooded area in Godfrey Illinois, shot Pearson multiple times, and left him to die. These allegations are listed as facts in the state of Illinois Appellate Court for the 5th District, ruling in James Evans’ appeal of his conviction. In the decision, the court highlights that Tommie Rounds, Demond Spruill, and Larry Greer all testified that Evans had confessed these facts to them during the trial. (Spruill was an “agent of the state” some believe, because of the volume of court cases where he somehow ended up sharing a cell with inmates on trial for serious crimes, and they all just so happened to confess their guilt to him. The Appellate Court also chastised the judge in many cases for their repeated use of Spruill to obtain jailhouse confessions. Larry Greer was a drug addict and admitted liar, who police officials paid cash money for his false testimony, and threatened him with arrest if he didn’t cooperate). Many of the facts that the state and its witnesses claimed are outlined in the Appellate ruling of Evans’ appeal. Click the link to read an excerpt from the ruling.

Appellate Court Ruling

Even the state’s theory of how and where Pearson was gunned down appears to shift. Michael Hook’s testimony during the grand jury indictment contrast drastically from the actual trial transcript that’s described in Evans’ Appellate ruling. Hook’s grand jury testimony places the shooting of Pearson across the street from where the barbecue was taking place and behind Evans’ home. While Hook claimed to hear several gunshots as he pulled off, the fact remains that no one else reported hearing gun fire on the day of the barbecue. The details contained in Hook’s testimony and after weighing the content of the trial transcript, Hook might have been coerced into his testimony, but may have forgotten what he was suppose to say. His testimony was so off base from the state’s theory, that it makes you wonder why he was even called as a state’s witness during the indictment hearing. No one corroborates Hook’s story, and no forensic evidence was ever obtained that established as a matter of fact, that Pearson had been shot behind Evans’ home. Its just remarkable how Hook was a state witness who testified against Evans, and his testimony didn’t even match what the state prosecutors had actually alleged had occurred. (Click the link below to read how Hook’s testimony contrast to the state’s theory of what happened (outlined in Evans’ Appellate ruling), and how his testimony is different from the state’s claim that Evans beat Pearson, but rather allegedly witnessing Pearson being attacked by Brian Warr and others near Evans’ home).

Michael Hook’s Grand Jury Testimony

Hook’s testimony also aligned with other’s who say Evans admitted to them that he beat Pearson so severely that he broke his hand in the process. Although Evans’ lawyer was initially apprehensive regarding having x-rays conducted on Evans’ hands, at Mr. Evans’ insistence, the state was allowed to have Evans transported to a St Louis Missouri area hospital to obtain x-rays of Mr. Evans’ hands. The results were conclusive that Evans did in fact have a broken hand, but it had been checked and verified by police as having occurred in 1993. The doctor who conducted Evans’ court ordered examination, reported that Evans in fact did not have any new hand fractures other that the documented fracture from 1993. Such a discovery would usually weigh heavy on the testimony of those who say Evans confessed to them having killed Pearson and broke his hand in the process. (Click below links for excerpt from court transcript of state requesting examination of Evans’ hands and doctor’s x-ray report of Evans’ hand).

Excerpt From Transcript With State Requesting X-ray

Doctor’s X-ray Report

The state’s failed attempt to corroborate witness accounts that Evans had confessed and claimed he broke his hand after beating Pearson, was not the only highly exculpatory piece of evidence that would emerge in the James Evans’ murder conviction case. In 2001 a state appellate defender (Dan W. Evers) who was looking through the folder of Larry Greer after the documents had been sent to their office (who testified during Evans’ trial that James had confessed to killing Nekemar Pearson) and found a highly exculpatory document that the state had never turned over to Mr. Evans’ defense counsel as required by law. The document was a police report written by an Alton police Detective (J. Cooley) who knew the victim in Evans’ murder case (Nekemar Pearson) very well. According to the report, the officer observed Pearson and another youth walking down the street on July 3,  1995 (ten days after Pearson had allegedly went missing). The officer was certain that it was Pearson, because he was a liaison officer at the Alton high school  where Pearson attended, and the officer had several encounters with him. The officer was certain that it was Pearson because he stirred directly at him. Later that day the officer discovered that there was in fact a missing persons report outstanding for Pearson. The officer wrote an affidavit to document having saw Pearson alive and well. (Click links below to view Appellate defender’s notice to Evans regarding exculpatory evidence, the exculpatory document that was found after his conviction,and an affidavit from the law clerk of Evans’ defense team who testified never having received the discovery document from the state).

State Appellate Defender Notice To James Evans

Detective Cooley Exculpatory Document

Defense Team Law Clerk Affidavit

It should be no surprise to anyone that such an egregious act of prosecutorial misconduct could occur in a criminal case of this nature. The fact that the document even exist, speaks volumes of the certainty that Detective Cooley had of having seen Nekemar Pearson alive on July 3, 1995. It would have been an extremely pertinent element of Mr. Evans’ defense had the state turned the document over to his legal team. Essentially, Evans was convicted of murdering a man on June 23 or 24, 1995, when its highly probable that he was alive and well 10 days after the day in which James Evans’ conviction states he was killed. Its highly doubtful that all jurors seated in Evans’ murder trial would have ruled to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if the officer was mistaken when he said he saw Pearson alive, it still was evidence favorable to Evans’ defense and should have been turned over. The document now raises serious doubt regarding the credibility of witnesses who testified against Evans, coupled with other newly discovered evidence and affidavits by some of those who testified against him and who are now recanting their statements, after citing police coercion of testimony, and testifying under duress after being threatened with arrest. Please continue to follow this story as I shed light on the plight of James Evans who continues to fight for his freedom.

(Other documents emerge which point to police corruption and coercion of witnesses to obtain a conviction of Mr. James Evans, for a murder he didn’t commit).

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger David Adams

Starbucks Is The New Battle Ground For Social Change: Philadelphia Coffee House Illuminates Jim Crow White Space Culture

I believe it was just a few years before my father past away when he told me not to get involved with women who call the police on you. Our parents raised four boys and much of the life lessons we were taught were predicated on character, respect, and it was a major taboo if we ever caught putting our hands on a female. My dad’s issue was that some black woman will call the police out of anger, emotions, and in an effort to be vindictive without you having to do anything at all. Having come up in the heart of the civil rights movement, our parents were all too familiar with police culture and how the criminal justice system treated black people. In short, dad’s argument was that the police are bad business, nothing good happens when black men in particular encounter police, and all it takes is for a person to make an accusation against you, especially from a woman and you’ve already been convicted on sight.

The police relationship with the black community has never been exactly cordial, and for the most part the relationship has only been very tenuous at best. In fact the police has always seemingly served as an invigilator over the black community to keep our people in check. oppressed, and in our proper subservient place. The existence of an obvious fear of blacks by white people have a long history, stemming from myths of violent retribution from a black insurrection that is believed to have been promoted by those in power, to flame racial strife between the races, and also caused massive white flight from large metropolitan cities after the fall of Jim Crow and segregation in this country. The separatist who create such fear of blacks are also the architects of an abhorrent tactic of terror within their own white communities which depict the black man meting out his ultimate desire to conquer the white man’s greatest prize, the white woman. This is a myth that has spread pervasive fear in whites for centuries.

Therefor, much like the times of slavery, the police serve as overseers of black people to protect the white establishment, and there are racist whites who have been using police as an agent to further exploit their bigotry and race hate. Its no secret and an unspoken rule within the black community that when white people call the police on blacks for non crime related matters, it sends a message that a black person has gotten out of their place and need to be corralled back in. Now, with the volume of police shootings of unarmed black men whose encounters with the police in many instances are typically very minor, some black leaders are arguing that having the police called on a black man by a white person in this era means that you must die. Now some people might think that’s an exaggeration, but the spike in racial outburst by whites in places typically known to be white spaces is a clear indicator that a visceral hatred of black people continues to persist in this country. Some will argue that its all due to who our 45th President is, but I disagree. The manner in which people have become so emboldened in spewing racial epithets in public only exemplifies a perpetuation of bigotry that already existed. The 45th President just gave many of these cowardice racist a platform to spew their venom.

The incident that happened in a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop the other day where two black men who asked to use the restroom were denied access, were told that only paying customers are permitted to use the facilities (ignoring the fact that they may actually be paying customers), and when the men sat down to wait on a friend for a business meeting, a manager called the police on them for trespassing, probably with the belief that they possibly couldn’t afford to buy Starbucks items. The men were subsequently handcuffed and carted off to jail. While they would eventually be set free nine hours later due to Starbucks declining to pursue criminal charges, the incident isn’t isolated to a Center City Philly coffee house. In Southern California at another Starbucks a young black man name Brandon Ward asked a Starbucks employee why he was denied access to the store’s restroom when a white customer was granted access. Ward posted a video capturing a white customer exiting the restroom, and his interaction with the young white male, and learning that he wasn’t precluded from using the restroom without making a purchase.

The revelation of the California video creates a very slippery slope for the Coffee magnet, as the employee who identified herself as the store manager was also captured on the video retrieving the police to have Mr. Ward dealt with, who was the customer she told to leave the store when he began filming her response to his inquiries regarding the unfairness of the establishment’s restroom policy. However, as the company’s CEO tried to do damage control over the incidents due to the outpouring of support for the two black men with protest, the public outcry has seemingly developed into a prima facie case of implicit bias toward blacks that can now be lodged against the Starbucks company as a whole. The same kind of behavior over the use of restroom facilities in two company stores thousands of miles apart doesn’t take rocket science to ascertain that racial profiling by Starbucks employees appears to be a culture of racism that permeates the coffee chain from coast to coast.

It also should be highlighted that in both incidents neither of the black males became loud, belligerent, violent or displayed any aggression what so ever, but had the police notified on them solely for their refusal to comply with an agent of any white establishment who ordered them back in their place where a black person should be. It speaks volumes of how this country is so programed with a public policy for difficult black people, for black people who make a white person feel uncomfortable, threatened, and otherwise invade spaces overtly veiled for patrons of white privilege. Also its interesting to note that the employee involved in the Southern California Starbucks incident appeared to be non white, but was expediently and defiantly prepared to handle Brandon Ward indifferently as a man of color without provocation for no reason other than for implicit bias and racism. It all captivates a prescribed methodology orchestrator for handling black people who get beside themselves, which gives further credence to the belief that when a white person calls the cops of a black man, you just might die today.

In many of the incidents involving police having been notified about a black person for literally no crime at all, in many of these instances, a white person used the cops as their personal racism valets. In fact, every year, there are cases where white Americans actively and knowingly use the police as an extension of their personal bigotry yet face no consequences. The men and women making these outrageous and unwarranted calls to police, which result in the harassment, unfair prosecution and even death of people of color, need to be found, publicly shamed and prosecuted to the full extent that the law allows. Meanwhile, the black community as a whole must develop better strategies for dealing with racism in this country, and for the life of us (literally) we must adopt a public policy on police when they encounter us within this racist American society.

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Writer David B. Adams

 

A Black Panther’s Last Stand: The Perilous Fight Of America’s Last Political Prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal Persist

While many within the black community are now mesmerized by the Marvel film Black Panther, which is based on a futuristic fantasy of a technologically advanced African Nation called Wakanda, the perils of a true Panther is continuously embroiled in a realistic fight for justice, for judicial correctness, and the power of people’s longevity in a fight to free a convicted “cop killer” despite the mountain of evidence that suggest not only his innocence, but that police along with a corrupt prosecutor’s office consciously framed former Black Panther Mumia Abu Jamal. He has never obtained nearly as much support from black people in this country as the fictional comic book character Black Panther has garnered.

Dubbed all over the world as a political prisoner, Jamal’s decades old fight for freedom has garnered international attention, and for 37 years Abu Jamal has continuously maintained his innocence in the killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. A former member of the Black Panthers party, Mumia was already a prominent journalist and activist at the time of the incident. He has always claimed his innocence and people around the world have stood in solidarity with him since then, organizing events, spreading information and petitioning authorities to “Free Mumia.” In fact if you don’t know his story, then perhaps you haven’t been living on the planet earth the past 40 years.

Followers of his globally renowned case say that many within the African American community have failed Mumia. Although he continues to maintain tremendous support from Black America, the base of his support has always primarily come from social groups, governments, and other human rights organizations from outside of the United States. His case has always been racially biased and politically motivated. Mumia was framed by the Philadelphia police department and the prosecution, with help from the Attorney General’s office and the FBI, because he was so outspoken in his defense of the oppressed, particularly the politically oppressed, such as the MOVE organization at that time in Philadelphia.

In fact, Mumia’s troubles began during his teen years when he was the Minister of Information for the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther party. When Mumia’s COINTELPRO records were obtained from the U.S. government, it showed that they had a dossier on him when he was just 15 years old, in the late ‘sixties. There they said, in effect, despite his young years, he should be on the ADEX file (a list of who the FBI felt should be rounded up and put into concentration camps if there was any political turmoil in the country). They said Mumia belonged on that list because of his ability to speak out in advocacy. Mumia was also once featured in a front-page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which described this young man who was speaking out in defense of the Panthers and against police brutality. The cops in Philadelphia knew who he was and they were tracking him.

So there is a long history there of knowing who Mumia was, targeting him, trying to silence his voice and ultimately to murder him. What happened on the night of December 9, 1981 was that Mumia came across a police altercation in the street. He was driving a cab at that point because he had been drummed out of mainstream news reporting for his defense of the MOVE organization. In the midst of a purported shoot-out, a police officer named Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed. Depending upon who you believe, the events of that night are perplexing to say the very least. Shady witnesses, coerced witness testimony, crime scene manipulation, crooked cops, and a corrupt prosecutor’s office would all culminate in the successful prosecution and subsequent conviction of Mumia Abu Jamal.

Several people have testified against him, claiming he’s the man they saw shooting Faulker. Some have said they saw a third man shooting and running (those accounts were thrown out by the judge presiding over the initial trial). Others have even confessed they were the shooters themselves (The confession of Arnold Beverly) acting as hit men for the police, who commissioned them to get rid of Faulker as he was interfering with their corrupt businesses (The first working day after Abu Jamal’s trial and conviction were completed, 30 Philadelphia cops were indicted in the “Center City” police corruption sting), giving tremendous credibility to the allegation that dirty Philly cops wanted the young cop (Faulkner) dead, but despite a volume of compelling evidence regarding the case against Abu Jamal, his conviction stood, and for thirty years he was on death row until his punishment was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2011. Now a potential new front has opened up in the fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal.

About a year ago, in a different case, after many attempts to get a ruling, it was found that it is a conflict of interest and a denial of a fair and impartial appeal process to allow a judge to sit, who had previously been personally involved in a significant fashion in the earlier prosecution of the same case. Basically, it required all the appeals that a judge had sat on, and that had been negatively decided against the defendant, to be thrown out and to be able to start over again.

This ground breaking judicial ruling, now case law, applies directly to Abu Jamal, and specifically his appeals. In a very important case that was decided by the United States Supreme Court. It involved the fact that one of the justices who became the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ronald Castille, had been the prosecutor in Philadelphia, following Rendell as the chief DA. He had been a DA and ran on a law-and-order platform, and was endorsed and received major funding from the Fraternal Order of Police. Nonetheless, when he became a Philadelphia Supreme Court justice he sat and ruled on a number of cases, including Mumia’s case, despite  Abu Jamal’s requests for him to remove himself on grounds of bias and conflict of interest. When Castille became a state supreme court justice, he had already been the architect of all the DA’s support of Mumia’s conviction.

Many instances in Mumia’s case, and with all the challenges to Mumia’s conviction that began in 1995 and went on through 2008, Castille refused to removed himself from the case and instead ruled against Mumia in each of these cases. The argument is now being made in conjunction with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Castille violated the fundamental precept that as a prosecutor involved in the case he should never have sat as a judge, especially in adjudication of any Mumia Abu Jamal cases.  Mumia has finally gotten some compelling arguments. The DA’s office tried to get it thrown out on grounds that it was brought too late and didn’t apply anymore. The judge ruled that it did in fact apply and that the case should go forward. Now it has become an issue of the DA’s office being ordered to produce evidence that shows Castille’s involvement in Abu Jamal’s cases. They have been noncompliant with the order and recalcitrant in not providing real information, instead provided no record of his involvement in Mumia’s case.

Now the Philadelphia’s DA office is stonewalling, pretending that Castille’s involvement in Mumia’s prosecution and appeals didn’t exist. They are concealing evidence and refuse to open their files. it will take more political pressure and protesting to further agitate justice for Mumia. Now, Mumia is 63 years old and is suffering from cirrhosis due to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections purposefully, and consciously mistreating his hepatitis C disease. We must continue to agitate his injustice conviction. Free Mumia Abu Jamal now!

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger David B Adams

 

Racial Profiling In America At Its Best: Profiling Of Two Black Rockhurst University Women Highlights Dining While Black In Missouri

Can you image spending hours of free time shopping at your local mall? Its a pass time shared by many American women for generations. At some point though, all of that foot work tends to wear down on consumers, and most venues have various places to eat within the facility, like a food court, and some malls even have family style restaurants where shoppers can sit in and dine. For two Kansas City, Missouri black women a trip to the mall and a dinner afterwards would prove to be very compelling, as to why the NAACP has declared the entire state a Missouri unsafe” for black Americans.

A video which is now going viral was posted on the Facebook page of Alexis Brison depicting two black women who are students at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Misoouri, encountering police at an Independence area Applebee’s Family restaurant. In the caption above the video Brison writes “Hey facebook friends and family I need your help reposting this. Especially in black history month black people cannot continue to be treated this way. My friend and I were shopping at the independence center in independence, Missouri(Near Kansas City), when we were done we decided to get a bite to eat at Applebee’s. About an hour into out dinner we were approached by a Independence police officer, a mall cop, and the restaurant manager. We were told that we were accused of eating and not paying for CHICKEN the day before (dining and dashing). Mind you that we have proof that can show our whereabouts and it’s not even in our character to steal. After being mocked, humiliated, and embarrassed we were asked to pay for our food, leave, and not come back. After leaving, calls were made to the restaurant and the manager stated that our accuser remembered that there was a SKINNY girl and a girl who wore MAKEUP. In 2018 is this really what we’re debased to? Our weight and whether or not we wore makeup. She could not recognize any facial features or any defining characteristics . This is a clear example of RACIAL PROFILING that should not be stood for. Just because we are black does not mean we are all criminals and I will not be treated as such.”

Brison’s commentary is needed to give context to what actual occurred in the video, because where the clip starts doesn’t necessarily give a clear picture of what’s happening. The young ladies make it clear that they haven’t been to the restaurant, state they haven’t done anything, and at one point just wanted to pay for their food and leave. Mean while the Independence police officer who is accompanied by a mall security officer, and the restaurant manager appear to down play the situation and even jokingly stated, “make sure you get my good side” refering to the women filming the incident on their cellphones. He was even rebuffed by one of the women after he repeatedly tried to blow the incident off as not a big deal. The officer stated to the women, “You all are getting worked up for nothing.” One of the women replied, “this is too big of an accusation to call it nothing.”

Then one of the women telephoned a relative and explained to them their situation. The women repeatedly stated that they aren’t from the town and haven’t been to Applebee’s. As the phone is recording you can see what appears to be a white female standing next to the booth then walking away after stating that she is almost positive that it was these two women, which gives credibility to their claim of having been accused of not paying for a previous meal yesterday. One of the women begins to become visibly upset and starting crying. The video goes blank for periods of time, but their is still audio. The women (Asia) tells the women she telephoned to come to the restaurant because it wasn’t funny what was happening to them. The police officer is overheard stating “Wow! Is she always this emotional?” His demeanor was unprofessional, apathetic toward her emotions, and lacked any compassion at all for these young women despite only having mere allegations having been lodged against them.

While reading the Facebook thread where many followers of the story have commented, many took note of the officer’s disposition and the sarcastic comments he made, even though this young woman was visibly distraught. Its not a defining moment on race in that town, because with the high profile protest following police shootings of Michael Brown and Anthony Lamar Smith in the state of Missouri with both cops being found not guilty, racism in Missouri is common place. Followers should be more cognizant of the fact that white police officers are capable of displaying such apathy toward emotional black women. In fact some even believe that his tactics were purposeful, in hopes of getting the two women to become disruptive so that they could exact an arrest. We can see this clearly when the officer continuously ask the women “Am I yelling at you?” Neither of the two women were yelling, perhaps a little intense due to the accusations against them, but neither of them yelled at the police.

The women were upset and probably felt that they were going to be arrested. I’m not sure why the officer didn’t understand why the woman was so distraught. He appeared to have a serious problem with the fact that she was crying. He orders them to stop talking over him and to listen to him. Then he explains that the restaurant has requested that they pay for their meal leave and never come back. The women both agreed and appeared eager to get out of there after realizing they weren’t going to be arrested. There was back and forth about the check and Asia began crying uncontrollably, while the woman on the phone and her friend tried to calm her. You could here Crissy (on the phone) attempting to instruct Asia on what pertinent information she needed to obtain. Her crying for many was simply unbearable, and the officer’s sarcastic and carefree demeanor made it worst. The women left the restaurant upset and I’m sure embarrassed, and humiliated.

However, if we take a look at the entire situation we see that while they were accused of skipping out on a check the day prior, the women were seated, had their order taken, and served by the wait staff. It wasn’t until an hour into their meal that they were approached by the police regarding the theft accusation. Let’s face it, none of the followers of this story were there during this incident, don’t know if the women did in fact commit theft of food the day before, but we have to admit, if the allegations were in fact true, these two women are probably two of the most dumbest criminals ever. With that being said, its simply unconscionable and highly unlikely that they would be so brazen to reappear in the same restaurant the very next day. The waitress didn’t even seem certain herself if they were the correct women, and if so, why did they take their orders and serve them their food while possibly risking having them walk out without paying again. That’s just common sense, and they know the women shopuld have been approached about the theft at the door.

Also, was there surveillance footage that captured the two women who left without paying the day before, and was those images compare to the two women seated the day of this incident? If not, the cops and the restaurant risk potential liability based on the unfounded accusations alone. The cellphone video that the women captured will go a long way in a civil case to prove why punitive damages should be awarded to these ladies. If I’m a manager I’m not calling the cops on a customer based on speculation alone. I need proof that these are the right people simply to avoid civil liability against myself and the company. That clearly wasn’t the case in this instance. A waitress speculating that “I’m pretty sure its them” doesn’t pass the smell test. The waitress who made the accusation should be fired and the manager should be terminated as well. Even if the women did commit the theft, the restaurant nor the police presented evidence to prove that they did.

This entire incident appeared to be more about discouraging black patrons from dining at this establishment, because without definitive proof that these ladies had committed a crime, the cops should never have been notified. Making a customer feel like they’re about to get arrested is grounds for a very good lawsuit. These kind of practices may even be more widespread and not necessarily isolated to this case. I wouldn’t even be surprised if this was a trend by black patrons at this establishment to walk out without paying for food, but like Alexis Brison stated in her commentary to the video, “Just because she’s black doesn’t make her a criminal,” and restaurants and other businesses must be certain that they are accurate when bringing criminal charges against consumers who patronize their establishments. Which brings me to a vital point and a lesson that many of our young people can learn from this kind of experience. With the racial climate in this country, these kinds of racial flare ups are going to become increasingly more frequent. Therefor, we must be vigilant, remain calm, and be mindful to obtain as much pertinent information as possible.

I’m quite sure the young sister who was crying uncontrollably probably was very distraught and traumatized by this incident, it wasn’t helpful to allow anger, hurt, and frustration to consume her to the point that she lost focus on what was important at that moment. We must train our young people to be cooperative at all times (these two women were), especially when you know that you haven’t done anything wrong. Get names, times, and the date of the incident to have as reference later on. You might think that with the current racial climate in the state of Missouri alone, some might take pause to consider their actions out of fear of being labeled racist, but in this instance I believe they deemed these two young African American women as vulnerable and simply didn’t care nor feared potential consequences. Applebee’s must be held accountable to in sure there are no more “dining while black incidents in America.”

The Applebees Restaurant in question information:

Applebees Restaurant

Corporate Headquarters HQ

Adress:

8140 Ward Parkway

Kansas City, MO 64114

Phone Numbers:

Customer Service – 888-592-7753

Additionally, Dine Equity owns Applebees and IHOP, so don’t support IHOP either.

Dine Equity

50 North Brand Boulevard 7th Floor

Glendale, CA 91203

Corporate – 818-24-6055

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

Caught In The Act: Maryland Hospital Exposed By Mental Health Professional In Growing National Crisis Of Patient Dumping

While I’m certain that many across the nation were outraged at a video surfacing on social media, in which a female patient was dumped on a bus stop, only wearing socks and a thin night gown on a frigid night in midtown Baltimore a few weeks ago, the practice is not an anomaly, and more commonly referred to as “patient dumping.” Its a growing problem across the country that depicts the heartless, uncompassionate, and apathetic manner hospitals are choosing to dispose of medically discharged patients who are either suffering from mental health issues or homeless.

Now that the video which captured the incident recorded by a man name Imamu Baraka has gone viral and has garnered national attention, the growing outrage and fallout must be attributed to Baraka’s determination to do something, and become a voice for a woman who clearly appeared disoriented and mentally challenged, as well as other patients just like her who are being dumped onto the city streets.. While her case looked as bad as it could possibly get, the treatment of certain patients in large metropolitan hospitals across the country is unbelievably far worst. I have witnessed similar situations at the University of Maryland Hospital, Johns Hopkins, and even at Bridgeport Hospital here in the town where I currently reside.

At the center of many of these issues are difficult patients who either have psychiatric issues, are homeless, or can’t pay their medical  bill. Despite most of these medical institutions receiving federal dollars to insure every patient gets treated, medical staff routinely shuffle these “bothersome” patient cases out of the ER or clinic for no other provocation in many cases, other than the fact that a patient was deemed disruptive, disrespectful to staff, or otherwise uncooperative. I have worked in hospitals for years dealing with these kinds of patients, and what troubles me the most regarding this particular incident is the callous disregard the security personnel had for this woman.

Typically when a patient has been medically cleared in the ER by either the Physician, PA, or Nurse, a discharge process transpires. The manner in which the patient release is conducted may vary from institutions to the next, but it usually occurs with a patient’s safety in mind. In the subject instance, I’m struggling to ascertain how any medical professional at the hospital could have deemed the woman fit to be released. She clearly didn’t have all of her faculties, and was practically nude. Patients have rights and discharging a patient who clearly is incapable of making sound judgement on their own is a direct violation of HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws. Besides why would you put a person (especially a female) on the street in a paper thin hospital gown with no other clothing on on a frigid night like the evening of this disturbing event?

I am no medical professional but I have worked in various hospital settings for years, either transporting patient prisoners or supervising psychiatric patients. Once the patient was medically cleared the Nurse should have quizzed the patient as to whether they had transportation home. If the patient couldn’t make it home on their own, an effort should be made to contact a next to kin to help the patient return to their home safely, and in this instance I can’t see how the woman would have even been able to advise medical staff of a relative that could come to pick her up, let alone get home by herself. That’s when medical staff should have contacted the social worker working at the hospital to assist with the patient’s transition from the hospital to her home. In the mean time, if the patient is disruptive, belligerent, disrespectful, or disrupting the hospital the appropriate manner to handle such incidents is to have the patient monitored by hospital security personnel, and perhaps even restrain them to their bed in an effort to avoid the patient from harming themselves and others.

However, if a patients behavior is of such a nature, perhaps discharging the patient isn’t appropriate in their condition, and should be referred to the hospital’s Psychology Department where they can be evaluated further until such time a relative can be contacted or other information related to the patient’s medical history can be obtained. At any rate, a decision pertaining to the patient’s status should be determined by the hospital administrator and social worker. Every hospital has an acting administrator on duty to make difficult decisions similar to the subject female’s case. If their is no administrator on duty then usually an Attending Physician, PA, or even a Charge Nurse acts as the administrator and becomes an advocate for the patient. The fact that this woman was simply discarded on the street in the manner Mr. Baraka captured, is despicable, and possible may have been predicated on some other superficial factor.

Considering this was a female patient that appeared not to have on any underwear, I’m completely disturbed and troubled that one of the security persons was also female, participated in the action, and appeared unmoved that another woman was being placed on the street in the cold weather nearly nude. Not just that though, how did a group of black hospital security persons become so desensitized by displaying such lack of compassion for a patient who clearly didn’t appear to be in their right mind. I seriously doubt that a medical professional working at the hospital either directed or authorized the security staff to discharge that patient in such a manner. Even if they had done so, I’m sure that they won’t admit it after the case garnered such media exposure.

People who work in public safety like security professionals are normally held to a higher moral standard, and I find it difficult to believe that they collectively condoned their actions in regards to putting the woman on the street in that manner. If medical staff gave them such a directive, one of them should have contacted an administrator or supervisor within their respective department to get clarification on whether to actually proceed with the directive from medical staff. There is no excuse because everyone working in a hospital setting is require to complete in service training related to patient rights and HIPPA laws. So even if the security personnel was actually directed to put the patient on the street in that fashion, they should absolutely have known that not only were their actions wrong and improper, but they were in fact violating the law.

Patient dumping is a growing crisis across the country especially when it comes to the homeless and mentally ill, but the incident that Mr. Baraka captured probably is the first time that such a brazen case of “patient dumping” was actually recorded during the act. Although the hospital’s top administrator condoned the action, vowed to get to the bottom of what happened, and stated that the incident wasn’t indicative of the institutions policy related to patient care, suspicion lingers regarding how widespread the practice of dumping patients actually is at the medical facility. A more frightening thought is what might have happened to this patient if Mr. Baraka hadn’t decided to intervene of the woman’s behave. Thank God for caring medical professionals like him, because the hospital failed this patient at every turn, and society should be thankful that he caught them in the act.

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

Honors Teen Phylicia Barnes Went Missing In Baltimore 7 Years Ago Today: Shauntel Sallis-Evans Gives Disturbing New Details In The Case And Recounts The Horror Of Searching For Her Kid Sister

In the past seven years I have spoken to Shauntel (Phylicia Barnes’ oldest sister), her mother Janice, and other members of the Barnes family for various articles I have written about Phylicia case, so when I reached out recently to the health care professional (Nurse) on social media she agreed to speak to me again, regarding what is unfortunately now the 7th anniversary of her kid sister’s disappearance. Knowing essentially all of the details about the heartbreaking story of a little girl who came to Baltimore to visit relatives and was subsequently found in a river, I was prepared to focus on reflections of the case since justice for her sister was entangled in Baltimore’s difficult justice system (mistrials and appeals), but the words that came out of Shauntel’s mouth were extremely disturbing to me, and caught me completely by surprise.

When she answered the phone I was greeted with her usual calming voice that spoke with a subtle southern accent, a sound I have become accustomed to when speaking to Phylicia’s family. This time though, Shauntel spoke with an urgency and intense tone I had never encountered before. The married mother of a handsome little boy spewed details of a recent incident involving her sister’s case that she personified with frustration, anger, and some hostility that gave the impression that Phylicia’s story had just happened yesterday. She explained that a private investigator had came to her home last week asking questions about her and Phylicia. Shauntel said that a few minutes into the conversation with the PI, she discovered he was working for the defense (Michael Johnson), the man who was the last person who saw Phylicia alive, and on the hook for the promising kid’s murder. She asked the man “what do you want to talk to me for?”

Her initial instinct was not to talk to him, but she became curious to what the man wanted. A very distinct trait of Shauntel’s that I have learned about her. She has that natural inquisitivity and ability to see through the surface, and reach the core of what people are trying to accomplish. In fact it was Shauntel’s inquisitions while looking for her kid city in Baltimore back in 2010 that prompted police to close down Deena Barnes’ apartment, and establish a crime scene but I’ll get to that later in the article. Shauntel listened very intently to this PI’s questions as he probed her with personal questions regarding her life, and eventually outright asked her if she had ever been a prostitute. This sparked her interest even further and she couldn’t help but wonder where he had heard such a preposterous allegation, and what did it have to do with who killed her little sister. So, she engaged him further to obtain a better understanding of why the PI had traveled all the way from Odenton Maryland to her home in New York city asking these ridiculous questions.

According to Shauntel, the PI allegedly said Deena Barnes had told him that she was a prostitute and her kid sister Phylicia had run away to Baltimore to be just like her. Shauntel said she was extremely appalled that this man had made such an assertion. After all the family had been through grieving Phylicia’s murder, the mistrials and appeals, this man had the audacity to come to NY and basically defecate on her sister’s memory. That moment during our telephone call was awkward and intense, and if it wasn’t for the fact of me having the benefit of knowing Shauntel I would have had serious doubt about the credibility of what she told me. However, everything I had extracted from her regarding her sister’s case had proven to have merit in the past, and I have no other recourse but to accept her recent comments as having merit also.

Shauntel says she was so upset that she telephoned her husband to advise him of what was going on. While she was on the phone was Rob (husband), she said the PI simply opened the door to their home and left. As we continued to talk I advised her that often times attorneys hire Private Investigators to obtain data extracted from witnesses to utilize in court, and since Phylicia’s murder was such a high profile crime that the involvement of a PI isn’t unusual. I was concerned where Michael Johnson obtained the resources to retain a PI (very expensive) for his upcoming third trial scheduled for March of 2018, but Shauntel reminded me that Johnson had a Public Defender, which made the use of a PI even more bizarre as public counsels typically are allowed limited resources to aid in the legal representation of criminal defendants,

Even more interesting though, the PI told her that they were trying to rule out the man found in the Susquehanna River (who was also from North Carolina) as being connected to Phylicia’s murder. That man, Darryl Harper (53) who was actually from Richmiond Virginia had been identified by investigators and determined to have had mental health issues and was suspected of committing suicide. The fact that the PI allegedly offered such a rationalization to Shauntel convinces me that it was just a quick untruthful quip he quickly spewed on his feet to justify the questions he asked her. Also, it almost seems that the prostitute allegations and the mention of the unrelated body found in the river, could potentially be suggesting that the man may have been a “John” of Phylica’s, but then there would have to be a dynamic story behind all of that outlining how they both ended up dead in the river.

I initially offered to Shauntel the rationalization that Johnson’s defense was simply trying to muddy up the waters by casting negativity about Phylicia in preparation for the upcoming criminal trial. Its a dirty tactic but often effective in creating doubt about the facts in many criminal cases. Although it was apparent that’s what the PI’s objective was, but it still didn’t make any since to Shauntel or me. I even said to her, let me play devil’s advocate her. So, you mean to tell me that they (Johnson’s counsel) are tying to say that because you allegedly was a prostitute, that some how justifies the feaky sexual culture they exposed Phylicia to and why she was murdered? We both concluded that such an assertion was simply insanity, but depicted the length Johnson’s defense counsel maqy be willing to reach to create a diversion or doubt of his guilt in the pretty girl’s homicide.

Shauntel went on to recount the events of that infamous night on December 28 back in 2010, with incredible memory of many of the disturbing details. She recalls getting to Deena Barnes’ apartment and immediately asking who was the last person to see her sister alive. She said Deena told her “Michael” (defendant), and she asked for his phone number. Shauntel would call Michael later on that day, she said Michael gave her various accounts about his recollection of when he last saw Phylicia. She said Michael told her he was there taking a shower, then he said he was moving out of the apartment, and he also said he there was washing clothes. Johnson also allegedly told Shauntel thast Deena would keep the door to her apartment unlocked on a regular basis, something that Phylicia had previously shared with Shauntel prior to her disappearance.

Shauntel said Michael’s comments made her become suspicious of him early on. During the time that Shauntel and members of Phylicia’s North Carolina family were there looking for Phylicia, Michael Johnson was nowhere to be found, but when Shauntel confronted Deena over the phone about leaving her apartment door open, Shauntel says she overheard Deena say to Michael “you told her that?” Shauntel said it proved to her that Michael wasn’t exactly missing, that he and Deena were still together, and she believes that’s when Deena began treating Michael as the villain. Shauntel also remembers standing in the apartment while Phylicia’s father Russell Barnes was there, and saw Deena show him a text from Michael, which Shauntel says read in part “I thought we were a team” and other comments. That gave her the impression that Deena and Michael were allegedly working in harmony to subvert, conceal, and cover up the truth about what happened to her little sister. Shauntel also said that the fact Kelly missed picking Phylicia up for a hair appointment was suspicious. “Getting our hair down is what we do as females and if “Simone” (Phylicia) knew she was getting her hair done it, she was probably on the internet bragging about going to the salon, that’s a big deal especially for a teen girl.” Shauntel said the general demeanor of the Baltimore Barnes family gave her the impression that they all already knew that her sister was dead. Shauntel said it was as if they were actually having Phylicia’s repast. There were a volume of family members there cooking, and no one had a sense of urgency to find young Phylicia, Shauntel alleges.

Shauntel said that Russel Barnes did hold a prayer circle in which they called on God to help resolve the situation. Se went on to say that her mother (Janice Mustafa) told them all that she appreciate and thank them for their prayers, but she needed them to go with her to help find her baby. Shauntel says that never happened. In fact she says that no one from the Johnson family nor the Baltimore Barnes family assisted them in helping look or search for Phylicia. Shauntel noted that even the Guardian Angels helped their family beat the streets to locate Phylicia. Later on the Barnes’ in Baltimore did begin to pass out flyers and stand on the street corners in the Reisterstown Plaza area regarding Phylicia’s case, but Shauntel believes that was only after investigators shut down Deena’s apartment and turned it into a crime scene. Shauntel blames Deena a great deal for what happened to Phylicia. She was disgusted by the sex tape that was found on Deena’s cell phone. She has always displayed visible anger regarding the kinds of things they introduced Phylicia to.

Shauntel admits not having viewed the sex tape that was used in Johnson’s initial criminal trial, but says she was told that the tape depicted a scene in a school playground near Deena’s apartment, where Johnson was performing oral sex on Deena while looking up at Phylicia. Shauntel also said that Michael and Phylicia went streaking (nude) alone on at least one occassion, and it angered her that Deena allowed this to happen by introducing Phylicia to this sexual culture. Shauntel says her sister didn’t know anything about what she was being exposed to. She says that the nearly 500 text exchanged between Michael and Phylicia were characterized by investigators as inappropriate, and she believes that her inexperienced little sister probably had feelings for Johnson. “It’s like she had her own secret little life that she could be a talking point with her friends that she could brag about,” Shauntel said. Before Phylicia’s mother left to go to Baltimore after learning that her daughter had gone missing, one of Phylicia’s closes friends tearfully described to Janice Mustafa with guilt, that Phylicia had revealed to her some of the activities that she had been allowed to participate in while visiting Baltimore, which adds credibility to Shauntel’s perspective about her kid sister using her interaction with Johnson as a talking point with her friends.

After all this time Shauntel says she still believes that Johnson is at the very least one of the people responsible for the killing of her sister. In many of my articles over the years about Phylicia’s case, I have highlighted that I believe that Johnson may not have been the only person at Deena’s apartment on the morning of the day Phylicia went missing. I reminded her of a Tweet by Glenton “Bootz” Johnson (Michael’s younger bother). Michael has always been on record as offering 1:30 p.m. as the time he last saw Phylicia alive. “Bootz’s” tweet was at exactly 1:27 p.m. that day and read “don’t tell her twice, whoop her ass.” The fact that Sleuth Detectives (Online Psychics and Investigators) were able to preserve the text and other social media content of the Johnsons, indicates that the data was available to investigators, and Shauntel is extremely troubled by the information having never entered the case at all. We even discussed the fact that the Tweet and its digital time stamp would have given police a location of the cell tower that his phone was connected to. It may show that he was near Deena’s West Baltimore apartment when he made the Tweet. The cops could have pressed him for answers, got him on the record, and established his credibility on the matter. This never happened as far as we know.

There was even more information that investigators missed opportunities to get people on record, like the January 28, 2011 Tweet (exactly one month after Phylicia disappeared) by a girlfriend of Dorian Carpenter (A Johnson cousin, who was one of the people who hanged out at Deena’s apartment on a regular basis, and one of the initial people that investigators spoke to when Phylicia went missing), that read “its trapped at the damn, don’t pull the lever.” It was a piece of information that I personally received via email from online Sleuthers, and information I turned over to the Maryland State Police detective investigating Phylicia’s murder. Shauntel has a serious problem understanding the Tweet. “If you know somebody did something, why would you just put it out there like that,” she said. I told her that the girl may have been attempting to send a message as to where Phylicia was, before her nude body was discovered near the Conowingo Damn inside the Susquehanna River in Northern Maryland. Shauntel admitted that it was simply incredulous and not a coincidence that a girlfriend of a Johnson relative, who hanged at the apartment where Phylicia was staying, gave an early lead describing as to the type of area where the teen would ultimately be found. We both agreed that the girl definitely knew something about the case, and the cops simply missed it.

During the first trial Shauntel learned through testimony from Deena Barnes that Deena had observed Michael Johnson attempting to touch Phylicia in her private area, a incident that Shauntel says should have prompted Deena to prohibit Michael from having any further contact with Phylicia. Shauntel also believes that, although the state’s star witness (James McCray) may have lied on the stand regarding having allegedly testified for Montgomery County in a criminal case, he may not necessarily have been lying about seeing Phylicia’s lifeless body at Deena’s apartment before Johnson disposed of her sister’s body. The fact that McCray lied is unfortunate, but the state knowingly withholding discovery (exculpatory evidence) from Johnson’s legal counsel was the state simply shooting itself in the foot, while knowing full well that it almost certainly would result in the judge declaring a mistrial. Shauntel believes that McCray wasn’t lying about his account of seeing Phylicia’s body wrapped in sheets. “Why would he (McCray) implicate himself in a murder case and risk potentially being criminally charged himself?” Shauntel was eluding to how charges are often filed for a person’s involvement in serious crimes after the fact, and Shauntel doesn’t believe McCray was lying about seeing her sister wrapped in a sheet at Deena’s apartment because the state could have charged him.

Now after two mistrials and an illegal acquittal by the last judge who chaired the second trial, she has little hope that Johnson will be convicted for the murder of her little sister. I tried to comfort her by suggesting that we shouldn’t speak his acquittal into existence, but Shauntel said “I’m just telling you what my gut feelings are. They (the state) don’t have this guy’s testimony anymore, so what do they have now? All the social media stuff and text? Are they going to go back and use that now?” Shauntel also said that the state let Deena and others off the hook even though they were in a nude sex tape with Phylicia. “I don’t know, something happened, but I just don’t know what it is, and the way they investigated her case without using all the social media stuff.” Shauntel says she’ll be in the court room for the third trial in March, “but I’m not getting my hopes up, it is what it is. I just think he’s gonna walk.”

For other articles I’ve written about the Phylicia Barnes case, go to home page and type in here name the top right corner of the. 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Writer David Adams

 

An Officer Down: The Dichotomy Of Baltimore’s Policing In Wake Of Slain Detective

The entire city of Baltimore has been on edge the last few months with a rash of shootings that has raised the homicide rate in the city to over 300 for the second straight year. Crime as a whole seems to have began to spiked with a rash of violent crimes being committed by juveniles in downtown, becoming a major concern for city leaders, and while being highlighted in the media primarily because the crimes have struck at the heart of the city’s main financial district (the Inner Harbor). The Mayor and city leaders have tapped into every resource possible in a desperate attempt to curve the violence, but appears to be spinning its wheels as the body count continues to rise. As the crime wave swarms over the entire city, no one seems to be immune, while two Baltimore cops have also fallen in a month’s time, and are glaring casualties to the brutality of senseless street violence.

Last night 18-year Baltimore police veteran, Detective Sean Suiter became the city’s 306th homicide victim, when he was shot in the head by an unknown gunman while investigating a lead into a previous homicide. The cop’s investigation took him into the Harlem Park section of the city, one of the toughest turfs on Baltimore’s west side. City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis had been asking all night that the city pray for the fallen officer and his family, as the cop’s condition was dire and appeared bleak because he sustained injury to his brain. Despite the efforts of doctors at shock trauma, Det. Suiter eventually succumbed to his injuries.

The threads on most local news outlets social media websites were filled with heartfelt expressions of condolence for the cop, his family, and the entire city of Baltimore as a whole. The basic sentiment seems centered around a common theme, which is the exhaustion that everyone has with the violence in Baltimore. The discourse regarding “how to solve Baltimore’s violence” is a decades old dialogue that seems to fall upon death ears. The issue tends to reduce into finger pointing, blaming, and a culture of divisiveness resulting in a “us against them” between city government, its police force, and the citizens who largely reside in marginalized and poor sections of Baltimore.

Split right down the middle are diverse perspectives related to the recent killing of a city cop. Some point to a volume of police misconduct incidents like cops who were caught planting drugs of citizens, the recent indictment of 8 police officers in the department’s now defunct gun unit, and the handling of the Freddie Gray case that led to riots a few years ago, as perhaps the most pervasive premise for while its now open season on police in Baltimore city. The relationship between cops and citizens in Baltimore has always been tenuous at best.  Other postures consist of people who regard cops as public servants who protect the various communities that make up the multi cultural communities of the city.

However, regardless what position you possess regarding city politics and the violent crime that plagues Baltimore, one thing is blatantly obvious, and that’s the manner in which cops react to crimes when one of their own are slain, verses when a normal citizen is killed. Some have made the argument that if city police would respond in the same manner when killings of citizens occur as they do when a cop gets killed, that the city probably wouldn’t have as many homicides or as much violent crime. Police officials go to tremendous lengths to bring cop killers to justice and even take unusual measures to catch these kind of killers, like bringing entire classes of police trainees from the police academy to beat the streets knocking on doors, and to obtain even the slightest amount of intelligence that they hope will aid in their investigation.

Its this dichotomy of policing in Baltimore that has fed an ever growing visceral hatred for cops in the city that has spanned decades. In a town where “stop snitching” is the anthem for this kind of crime, a$69.000.00 dollar bounty may not be sufficient to lure support from the community to help solve this crime. Maybe my perspective is unorthodox, or perhaps poorly timed in the wake of this senseless tragedy, but in many communities, not particularly for this fallen police detective, however the tears are few primarily for this city police agency who has failed them, abused them, and remain indifferent from the very people they are charged to serve.

Now in an irony made only for a television crime series like “The Wire” and “Homicide,” city police are now dependent upon the citizens of Baltimore to help jump start their most current and intense hunt for a murderer who killed a cop last night. Those of us who know Baltimore cops well, already know how it will all unfold. They’ll get their man, because they will leave no stone unturned in their pursuit, even if it means having to violate the law or the civil and constitutional rights of private citizens to accomplish this. The citizens of Baltimore wonder though, will city police ever exercise such diligence and tenacity investigating a murder when a common citizen is gunned down as a result of senseless violence?

While cops vehemently mourn the killing of one of their own, other locations all over the city that possess makeshift memorials where Baltimore’s children have fallen, serve as reminders of the horror, the danger, and the shame of a city so engulfed with violence that it snatched the life of a soldier sworn to protect her citizens. There can be no distinction between the police response when citizens fall to gun violence juxtapose to when one of their own is struck down, and if Baltimore ever heals from its own contestation, the gap between its government, police, and her poor citizens must be mended to insure the life of brave cops like Detective Sean Suiter wasn’t lost in vein.

 

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime writer David B. Adams

 

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