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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where do I start?

I guess we could start by saying we are sorry. We received an e-mail about a case from earlier in 2000. It doesn't have anything to do with the current administration, yet it's a perfect example of how NOT to protect your citizens. I have been wrestling with this story for about a month now. It has rolled around in my head and caused me many restless nights. The kind of story that you wish wasn't true. The kind of story that causes you to lose faith in your protectors. I will briefly explain what has been haunting my "tiny slices of death" (thanks Edgar A. Poe).

I cannot go into much detail as Chico could say "dadgummit! That's an active investigation". Let me assure you, the case was closed "PENDING" years ago.

A young lady was sexually assaulted, beat, stabbed and mutilated in early 2000. A crime savagely committed behind the closed doors of her own home. Her attacker was an unknown male that had followed her home from a club in East Memphis. The attacker made small talk in the parking lot of her duplex and was soon invited inside.

While inside, events turned horrifyingly bad. The attacker struck the victim in the head and choked her until she became unconscious. He then began to experiment with items throughout her home. Not wanting to leave a witness to the crime, the attacker cut her throat and poured cleaning agents on her to cover up DNA. The attacker adjourned into the bathroom to clean the blood from his person.

As the dawn of a new morning approached, the victim's friend showed up early at the home with breakfast in hand. As he approached, the front door was slightly ajar. As the door opened, the friend saw the victim laying in a pool of her own blood. Clinging to life, she called to him, but no sounds left her mouth. The damage to her neck only permitted an inaudible murmur. At that point, the suspect appeared from the bathroom. The friend asked what had happened and the suspect charged the friend in an attempt to flee the scene. The suspect was able to flee, with the friend in pursuit. After a small foot chase, the suspect was able to disappear like the dew of the morning on the grass outside.

The friend rushed back to call 911 and administer first aid. Through his quick thinking, the victim survived. The victim had lost a major amount of blood and suffered a small stroke. This left her with a permanent disability. Now she was forced to bear the scars and physical damage of an event that will never be forgotten.

Stay with me now, here comes the juice.

Thousands of man hours were exhausted in an attempt to locate the suspect. A crime like this deserves the full attention of the MPD. Every officer that worked in the precinct had heard what happened. Several task forces were assigned to help Sex Crimes with the case. The first problem is that it took a sex crimes investigator 30 DAYS to visit the victim and obtain a formal statement.

There were many let downs in this case and it started with the Memphis Police Department. At this point in my reading, I became embarrassed to be associated. Crime Scene did a sloppy job of processing the scene and left evidence behind that should have been seized. The Sex Crimes investigator didn't think it was a solvable case and bent to pressures of a mounting pile of new cases.

Several months went by and the attention/manpower on the case faded. The case was dead in the water. Only a faint memory of that tragic night remained in the mind of all that were involved with the pursuit.

The case was about to be laid to rest until an uneventful morning turned the investigation into a hot potato. The friend of the victim was out shopping at the sundry on Mud Island and made a break in the case. The suspect came face to face with the witness while shopping and was positively identified. There were specific characteristics about the suspect that I cannot reveal as it may violate GODwin's law. Anyway, the friend then called the police and the suspect was apprehended.

The suspect was taken to 201 Poplar for interrogation. During this time, the Duty Chief J.D. King (yep, the property room incident) showed up and wanted to know what was going on. King purportedly was contacted by an attorney and briefed on the situation. The attorney was calling on behalf of the suspect, because the suspect's brother was a Memphis Grizzlies basketball player.

After a brief discussion, investigators were forced (by King) to let the suspect walk free. The suspect lived in another state, but frequented Memphis as his brother played for the Grizzlies. Upon his departure, the suspect stated "I'm never coming back to Tennessee".

Why did King force investigators to kick loose a 100% POSITIVELY identified suspect? It's simple. SEASON TICKETS!!!!

J.D. King was over the property room at the time. Guess was else went missing along with our identified suspect? You guessed it. Critical DNA evidence in the case that could link the suspect to the crime.

I know this sounds like a crime drama, but it's real life. It's life on the Memphis Police Department. We have been dealing with this kind of arrogance and disregard for laws too long. We need to clean up our act and clean up this city. The city council has been neutered. Too many new people on deck without a bat to swing while up to the plate. It's time to call in the designated hitter. Who will that be?

Again, we sincerely apologize to the victim of this crime. All of us are not out for self-enrichment. If we were, we wouldn't (SHOULDN'T) be police officers.