Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Originally dedicated to the vagaries of matters involving Whitey Bulger and the FBI but now expanded into more general topics.

TTTT - Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Last Hope Shattered: FBI Labs Make Annie Dookham Look Good

J Edgar HooverAnnie Dookham worked in a crime lab. She performed such shoddy work that the evidence in upwards of 40,000 narcotic cases has been put in doubt. When her malfeasance was first discovered in 2012, investigations and grand juries inquiries began. By 2014 a comprehensive investigative report issued and the Massachusetts court system took extraordinary steps to address the problems she created. Fortunately, no one was put on death row or executed because of her actions. Annie was sent to prison for 3 to 5 years in November 2013.

Few in Massachusetts have not heard of Annie. I had done a few blog posts on her which ended up with a couple of interviews by some of the media concerning her. Her wrongful actions filled the airwaves for days on end.

There is another laboratory scandal. One much worse than that of Annie. It is of national import while Annie’s only affected part of the state. Yet it receives little if any news coverage.

It is the FBI laboratory scandal wherein faulty evidence sent people to death row. While Massachusetts issued report after report and acted expeditiously to clear up its problem; the FBI has hunkered down hoping that the problem will go away.

One thing we know is that unlike in Massachusetts where some of the supervisors lost their jobs, no one in the FBI in a command position has even been reprimanded. As far as anyone going to prison for the enormous damage that has been caused, even suggesting it makes me smile. The FBI rolls along like the Mississippi River as if it is above the law. Unlike in Massachusetts where the drug laboratory was investigated by outside agencies, the FBI investigates itself.

It’s not surprising then to read that “from 1993 to early 2011, F.B.I. agents fatally shot about 70 “subjects” and wounded about 80 others — and every one of those episodes was deemed justified, . . .” The article went on to note that: “The last two years have followed the same pattern: an F.B.I. spokesman said that since 2011, there had been no findings of improper intentional shootings.”

Investigating oneself means covering up ones evils. Recall the first commandment of the FBI, “Don’t Embarrass The Family.” When that is its ultimate goal, all its investigations are undertaken to protect its reputation and not to find out the truth.

The underreported problems with the FBI laboratory go back to the early 1990s. Actually, who knows how far back they really go. We learned about the problems when Frederic Whitehurst who was employed in the FBI labs uncovered and reported scientific misconduct. For doing that his fellow agents turned on him and he was suspended from his job.

You know of Annie Dookham but not Fred Whitehurst. Whitehurst’s efforts led “to a scathing 500-page study of the laboratory by the Justice Department’s inspector general . . . .”  And, the FBI had to pay 1.1 million dollars to settle a suit brought by Whitehurst.

But the FBI didn’t change its way of doing business. As I noted the other day, and as others in the news media are beginning to realize, there are a lot of people in prison who were sent there because of the FBI’s slothful and indifferent work.

Amy screwed up drug tests; the FBI got involved in putting out “flawed forensic evidence involving microscopic hair matches” that have been tracked to 2,600 cases including 45 death row cases. The FBI reviewed 160 of these cases then stopped its review. The results were quite embarrassing. Rather than seeking to undo any wrong, the FBI decided it was best to hide it, apparently deciding it was better for innocent people to be executed or imprisoned for life rather than fessing up to an error.

What actually happened is explained here. It noted “of ten percent of the cases reviewed so far, the “vast majority” contain errors”. The FBI’s errors could be more widespread since it taught the people working in state labs what to do. How many of those labs erred?

Further as the writer explained: Yet hair analysis is just one of many forensic disciplines that hinge on using a microscope to visually compare two samples and declare a match. Ballistics, fibre analysis, tyre and shoeprint comparison and tool and bite-mark analysis all take a similar approach.” These methods were all criticized in a landmark report about forensic evidence in 2009.

I never believed the that the 100% record of justifiable shootings was correct especially after seeing how the FBI agent in the Todashev killing panicked and put more than six bullets in him. My one last hope about the FBI was that the labs were on the level. Now that is shattered.


Ferguson: The Governor’s Illness:

P1010073“I’m sick of it,Governor Patrick said with a heavy sigh. “I’m sick of unarmed, black men being shot by police.

It would have been much better if the governor said with a heavy sigh: ”I’m sick  of it. I’m sick of unarmed, black men being shot by other black men.”

Does Governor Patrick know:More than 100 young black men have been killed by gun in Chicago this year.”

I wrote yesterday that a black man was five times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a white man. I said there was a big problem with this. I do not intend to infer that the problem lies with the police alone. It is impossible to suggest a thing with the rampart violence in the black community.

A black writer for the Boston Globe wrote“Ferguson raises anew the question of how many more unarmed black men must die before the nation declares this an all-American problem.” Why did he wait until Ferguson to talk about this ongoing problem.

Blacks are over-represented among gun homicide victims; blacks were 55% of shooting homicide victims in 2010, but 13% of the population.”

An article noted Here are a couple of facts that every American should be ashamed of: Black Americans are four times more likely to be murdered than the national average. What’s more, four out of five black homicide victims are killed with guns.” 

different writer wrote: “The horrifying homicide rate among black Americans is the most visible and tragic symptom of a much deeper cultural disease. And the cure is a philosophy of reason, individual responsibility, productive work, and life-oriented values.” 

That writer went on: The murder rate among blacks is 7,973 divided by 40,818,541, or 19.5 per 100,000 population. That is horrific (although still below the murder rates in the likes of Mexico, Brazil, and Uganda)”.

Another person said: It’s the black middle class that has to take some responsibility for refusing to say no to thug culture while taking refuge behind racism.” 

That same newspaper writer started his article noting: “The dispiriting saga from Ferguson, Mo., provides another tragic window on decades of indifference to economic disparities.”  He goes on to mention “black male unemployment rate double that of white males”

Why doesn’t this writer talk about the most recent statistics, the nationwide college graduation rate for black students stands at an appallingly low rate of 42 percent. This figure is 20 percentage points below the 62 percent rate for white students” 

Or perhaps he could consider: In 2009-10 the national graduation rate for Black male students was 52%. The graduation rate for White, non-Latino males was 78%. This is the first year that more than half of the nation’s Black males in 9th grade graduated with regular diplomas four years later”

Has he made the connection between education and employment?

His article is entitled “White America’s racial blinders.” If anyone is wearing blinders it is the governor and this writer. He doesn’t see that white America is well aware of these statistics.

There also aware of a few others. Children in single-parent family statistics. Perhaps the governor could have mentioned these. In 2008 it is 65%; in 2012 it is 67% among blacks. The white rate is 22% and 25% respectively. The Asian rate is between 16 and 17%; the Hispanic is 38 to 42%.

Or perhaps we could turn to the prison population. The number of persons incarcerated per 100,00 in each group is: 380 whites; 966 Latino; and 2,207 blacks.

There’s lots of  things that a black governor should have been sick over of when it comes to blacks a long time ago. What has he done about them? When has he ever talked about them?

It’s time not to be blaming Whitey. It’s time the patient started curing himself.



Ferguson: “Scotty, There Is A Problem”

Ferguson fUSA Today wrote: “Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI.”  

I thought that could not be correct since it sounded like a lot of killings. The article did not give a reference to its source. I Googled the language in quotes and ended up finding many references to it but they either cited the initial USA Today article or just made the bold statement as if it is an accepted fact. I was getting nowhere.

It seemed it was becoming one that was being repeated more and more. I saw that today it was relied upon by Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson. He too only cited the USA article.

I felt a need to track it down. I finally found this for the period 2003 to 2009 which incorporates 4 of the 7 years of the time period set out in the USA Today article which I assume is 2006 to 2012.  The article is entitled: “Arrest-Related Deaths,2003-2009 – Statistical Tables” and is put out by the Department of Justice.

Now I felt I could verify the figure or show it was false. Over this seven (7) year period of that study (which I assume would not differ much from the period put out by USA Today since four (4) of the years correlate) there were 4,813 deaths of which 2,931 were classified as homicide by law enforcement.  The highest amount of such homicides was in 497 in 2009, the least was 375 in 2004. The yearly average is 418.

The racial makeup of those killed is white 41.7%. black 31.7%, Hispanic 20.3%, and other/unknown 6.4%.

It would appear that on average each year cops kill 174 whites, 132 blacks, and 85 Hispanics a week. What I have been unable to find is the race of the police officer who did the shooting. I believe most cops are white so I’ll not quibble with that statement that white cops are shooting blacks.

The idea that cops kill such a large number of people is striking. We never think of that many killings happening in the United States. I’ve posted here previously that there were too many without realizing how many actually were happening.

Almost 15 whites, 11 blacks and 7 blacks are killed every month by cops. I attributed it to too many cops growing up with video games. I hoped that there would be better training.

I went into the figures a little more. The population of the USA is 63.7% non-Hispanic White; 12.2% non-Hispanic Black; and 16.9% Hispanic. Assuming 300 million people, this would figure out to 190 million whites; 37 million blacks; and 51 million Hispanics.

Of the 37 million blacks the cops kill 132 or 1 for every 280,300 people. If the cops killed Hispanics at the same rate they would kill 182 Hispanics, 97 more than they do.

If the cops killed white Americans at the same rate as blacks, they would be killing 678 whites a year a whopping 500 more than are now being killed. In plain and simple language, the blacks are being killed by cops at a rate of more than five times that of whites.

I’m aware of the different statistical showings when it comes to the involvement in blacks and whites in crime and other cultural disparities. These would indicate to me that the confrontations between blacks and cops are more likely to occur than those of white. But to think of the great disparity in killings, that surely gives credence to a major problem in this country. Why have we been missing it for so long?


Apply The Ferguson Lesson To The FBI

hoover with gunHere’s a quote from the Los Angeles Times editorial about Ferguson Missouri “Even if it turns out that policy and procedure were scrupulously followed in the Ford shooting, it is hard to believe that police cannot refine their encounters with unarmed citizens to avoid the use of deadly force — “

The New York Times editorial board wrote: Chief among the transparency issues for protesters has been local authorities’ adamant and inexcusable refusal to identify the police officer who shot Mr. Brown, saying the officer faced death threats. Residents have a right to know whether the officer has a record of reckless behavior, and whether the officer lives in the community among the residents being patrolled, or in a very different neighborhood.”

The Chicago Tribune noted: “The failure to provide real information, the failure to provide a genuine assurance of eventual justice, has incited resentment, anger and violence.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch added: The bad decisions continued with the arrests and/or detentions of peaceful protesters and journalists. They continued as St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch refused to share even basic information about the case. Not the name of the officer who killed Mr. Brown. Not the autopsy findings about how many bullets struck him and where. Not an incident report. Not the most basic information generally available to reporters when the alleged shooter isn’t a cop.”

USA TODAY editorialized: The Ferguson police department . . .  cannot be trusted to investigate itself or, for that matter, to protect the community. . . By refusing to disclose basic information, including the name of the officer who shot Brown and autopsy results that could shed light on the case, they’ve needlessly raised suspicion.. . .  in New York City, no stranger to this kind of controversy, it took only two days for police to make public the name of the officer who allegedly killed a black suspect in July by putting him in an illegal chokehold.”

There are other newspapers echoing these sentiments. I wonder why now they are catching on. Do we need a riot or two to have the media open its eyes to the reforms we have to make in all our police forces, and that includes our Federal Bureau of Investigations.

A long time ago I wrote complaining about what the LA Times is bothered about which is the killing of unarmed citizens by police. It is not something new. The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson by a cop was only different because a riot broke out.

The NY Times wants more transparency. But when it comes to the FBI it is silent about transparency. Don’t the people of America have the right to know the name of the FBI Agent who killed Ibragim Todashev which is still being officially withheld. And what about the names of any other FBI agent who has killed a person?

The Todashev case was a matter where the FBI investigated itself, something USA Today complains about the Ferguson police doing but never complained that the FBI does it in all its cases. It was almost a year before we learned what the FBI said happened that caused Todashev to be shot multiple times by the FBI agent. Even then, when the Florida prosecutor sought to do his own investigation the FBI refused to allow him to interview the agent.

Which police agency do you think will have the greatest effect on the lives we live as Americans, the Ferguson police or the FBI. It would be nice if the nation’s media paid attention to how the FBI handles the investigation of its agents after a killing and made the same demands of it as it is making of others.

Perhaps the residents of Ferguson who went out into the streets knew more about the system of justice than most others. They knew that without a riot the killing of Michael Brown might have past like a flying bird on a moonless night. It is sort of tragic that is the only way one can make the media notice that something is wrong.


Ferguson: Humble Suggestions

PeaceI watched some of the happenings in Ferguson last night.

There were three large groups of people and one small one. The large were the police and the good citizens of Ferguson attempting to keep the peace.

The other large group was the media hoping for trouble; the small group was the troublemakers.

Around midnight last night the ratio of all people was 3-2-1 according to reports: for every three (3) police officers there were (2) two reporters and one (1) civilian non-media. Watching it I realized that by removing just one element peace would return to Ferguson.

Without in any way denigrating their work, I humbly suggest that the police stay home tonight. I suggest that the good citizens of Ferguson and those who have come to assist them in keeping the peace turn out in force and take back their city. Last night I was impressed at the willingness of that group to keep the peace at risk of life and limb. They did well.

I say let them continue without other help. As for the police, they are an agent of combustion. I suggest that they stay home for one night and let the real peacekeepers do their work.

If what I saw last night was any indication of the dedication to work and the desire for peace and calm, I am as close to positive as I can be that by letting the good citizens police their own neighborhood we’ll be giving peace a chance to thrive.

Then to continue to insure the peace I would ask the leaders of the peacekeepers to select 30 of their members to become police officers in Ferguson. They would be immediately sworn into the force and then undergo the necessary training to increase their skills to become professional police officers. Part of the training would be to sit side-by-side in police vehicles with their fellow officers. To relieve the city of the cost of enlarging its police force I would expect it to be reimbursed by federal funds (better used at home than in foreign countries). The police force would return to its normal size by attrition and retirements.


Amazing Story of Medical Feat:

Evil125 years ago when electricity was in its infancy two young women, CeCe Cole and Nichola Souter, from prominent Boston families, decided to continue their rebellion against what they considered the stuffiness of the society in which they lived which had cause the suppression of opportunities for women.

CeCe’s first shocked her family when she decided to follow into her father’s profession and become a lawyer. Her father, George Adams Cole blamed her friendship with Nichola for her obstinacy in joining a profession where women were not wanted. Likewise, did Nichola’s father Doctor John Hancock Souter blame CeCe for Nichola’s decision to follow him and enter the medical profession.

CeCe passed the bar but found most doors closed to her; Nichola graduated from medical school but found herself unable to be looked upon as other than a nurse. Each one went into practice by herself working among the immigrant population. Nichola became admired for her work in the emergency room of Boston’s City Hospital; CeCe took up trial work representing the indigent Irish in the Boston Municipal Court.

Their families became used to their involvement in these male-only  professions aided by the grudging admiration of others for their work. They could not quite accept that although each woman was beautiful and ardently sought after by the best young men in the city they seemed only to enjoy the company of each other.

It was hoped that having achieved their professional goals they would tire of their roles as working women and settle down and raise a family. That hope was dashed when they announced their decision to take a sabbatical together in Europe of an unknown duration. To top it off their first stop was to the French Alps. They planned to do the most unwomanly of all things:mountain climbing and skiing.

Off they went to minimal fanfare. Both families were engaged in figuring how to disinherit or at least put as much distance between themselves and their errant, rebellious and prodigal daughter. They let them go without a goodbye. This produced much consternation and recriminations as time passed because no word ever came back about the young women.

The best the Burns Detective Agency could figure out was that they were last seen heading off by themselves on a climb of the 13,500-foot-high summit before planning to ski down the face of the mountain Mont Blanc. It was always hoped that they had done that and went off to other parts of Europe but not trace was found of them. That was unitl 2014 when both were found frozen into the side of the mountain apparently victims of an avalanche.

Now here’s the marvelous thing about this. The manner in which the women were caught by the great snow slide and the depth at which they were buried and the constant deep freeze not only preserved their bodies as they were on the date but maintained them in a state that allowed certain French scientists who had advanced knowledge in the study of cryonics to bring them back to life.

Little publicity has attended this happening because of the newness of the procedure and the unique and special circumstances of the women. The scientists do not want at this time to give hope to others of prolonged life until further study has been done.

Both CeCe and Nichola were brought back into the world they did not know. It was difficult uniting with their family since they were one-third the age of their great, great grand nieces and nephews. They were astonished at such things as automobiles, planes, the internet, the widespread use of electricity, atomic power and on and on. It seemed to them as if they had landed on a different planet.

Nichola quickly learned that the medical profession had made such advances in the time she was imprisoned in the ice that it would be impossible for her to resume her medical practice. You may imagine how much it had changed in 125 years.

CeCe after being backed a few weeks quickly went back into the practice of law. She felt right at home going back into court and handling cases. Nothing had changed in the 125 years since she had left.

Ferguson On My Mind: It Is Not An Outlier

(1) Janus

We should all be thinking of Ferguson, Missouri, and what has happened and is happening.


It began with a police officer killing a young black man Michael Brown. The circumstances of the killing are disputed. We know the policeman, Darrell Wilson, was a white man on a force that was about 90% white in a town that had become 70% black.

These are the circumstances under which Wilson shot Brown:

1/ Accidently:

2/ Intentionally:

A:  Wilson was looking to kill a black man so he shot and killed Brown who presented no threat to him;

B:  Wilson believed his life was in danger so he shot and killed Brown who he believed presented a threat to his life.

As a result of Brown’s death, riots and protests broke out. The rioters believe Wilson intentionally killed Brown. They suggest Brown had his hands up and Wilson just decided to kill him, shooting him six times.  From that we have the chant: “hands up, don’t shoot.”

The police suggest there was a struggle for Wilson’s gun in the police car; a shot went off and Brown fled; Wilson went after him; and Brown turned back when challenged and started to run at Wilson.

There is an audio recording done immediately after Brown’s killing. It seems to support the police version.

Here’s what is reported that is on the recording: “The alleged witness tells the man that Brown was in the police car with Wilson and then got out and ran away. ‘Then the next thing I know he doubled back towards him cus (sic) the police had his gun drawn already on him,’”


As a result of the killing protests and riots took place that evening. These protesters were peaceful and rioters were not. The police from Ferguson and the County of St. Louis were called out. A minority were dressed in military-type gear. At least one armored car with a machine gun on top was also called out. (Of course, we’ve seen the picture of that splattered all over the media.) The result of the police action was to stop the rioters and bring some stability to the area. This was done without anyone being killed or seriously hurt.

The media and politician take on the police response was overwhelmingly negative. They all of a sudden decided the police were the problem and not the rioters. The problem with the police response was it was militarized. The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, decided the police response was causing the problem.

Senator Warren of Massachusetts joined in to condemn the police response proclaiming “this is America, not a war zone. The people of Ferguson just want answers.”  She felt no need to condemn the rioters. It was reported Senator McCaskell said “she thought the police response had become part of the problem. “The police response needs to be demilitarized.”” No one credited the police with calming the situation without loss of life or serious injury. Actually, we’ve been led to believe otherwise.

The governor brought in the Missouri State Police and put a black police captain named Johnson in charge. The first thing Johnson and some of his men did was to join hands with the protesters and participate in a Kumbaya parade. At first the friendly and kind approached worked. Peace descended on Ferguson for a night.

After a night’s respite, the riots again broke out. Stores were looted and set on fire. One person was shot by the rioters and someone shot at a police car. Molotov cocktails were thrown at police. The looters were not confronted by the police and no arrests were made. It was obvious after a second night of rioting the Kumbaya approach was not going to work.

Governor Nixon has now called it the National Guard. Was that his recognition that the militarized police response was correct? No, he now blames all the riots on the police reaction. As with all these things, we don’t know what would have happened in the first place if the police had not put on a forceful show with military gear. We only know that having done it no bad results followed and that doing without it things got worse.

We now have the very real military response with the National Guard rather than the limited military response of the police. We have still not focused on the underlying causes of the problem.


Sure most of the protesters were peaceful but without the protests would there have been riots? Without the protesters exciting the community by false narratives or suggesting racism was the reason for the killings there may have been no swamp from which the rioters could spring.

Ferguson with its hatred boiling below the surface did not happen overnight or with the killing of Michael Brown. It has been a long time coming to a boil. It is also simmering below the surface in many other cities of America. The gap between the black communities and the white communities is growing greater with each passing day. Perhaps no one knows how to stop this chasm from growing.

The politicians, pundits and demagogues without answers suggest this is a police problem. They fear facing the real problem. The people are getting the old political shuffle of throwing up a dummy (the police) which everyone can whack away at to hide the reality of the situation.

Until we recognize it is not the cops; it is not even the rioters; but it’s what has happened to a large part of our society that is the problem. We will never get ahead as long as we hide things behind the idea of “the rogue” situation; that is, that one thing is an outlier when it truly represents the core of the matter.

What we are staring straight in the face with the Ferguson riots is that there are two different cultures in our society. It is beyond race. It is like Janus. One culture which produces those who look to the future with hope; and the other in which the people look and see all hope is gone.


The Enduring Libel: Watching Lies Work Their Evil

(1) Dante's infernoMichael Burggren, 53, a 20-year resident of South Boston is said to be handing out a flier that readsNo to Bulger Library! … No! Bill Bulger used his office to protect a mass murderer.” He is an example of how the people of Boston have been bamboozled.

I have no idea who Burggren is or where he was prior to his last 20 years in South Boston. I do know he knows not of what he speaks. It is libelous to suggest Bill Bulger used his office to protect his brother Whitey. It is a libel born out of ignorance by people who have been deliberately misinformed by the media and others.

That Burggren and those that associate with him in this dastardly cause have no personal knowledge of what they speak does not make it less of a libel. It is just an example of how ignorant people injure others based on rumors and innuendos. I’d like to ask Barggren and those who believe like he does, upon what basis do they make that lying assertion. Give me one, just one, example of Billy Bulger using his office to protect Whitey Bulger his brother. If you cannot, you ought to bow your heads in shame.

Had Billy Bulger used his office in such a way he would have to have been able to influence others to not do the jobs they took an oath to perform. Those others would have to be people in law enforcement. For the only way that Whitey Bulger could have been protected was to keep him from being pursued by law enforcement authorities.

I can say categorically that “Billy Bulger never used his office to protect his brother” because during the years Billy had the power to do such a thing and during such time as Whitey Bulger was actively involved in his criminal activities, I was actively involved in organized crime investigations overseeing and participating in more wiretaps and bugging operations of organized crime people than any other prosecutor in Massachusetts. I was there and can speak from personal knowledge; none of those who suggest Billy interfered have such knowledge.

I worked very closely with those in law enforcement at the state, city and town level who did this work. These men skilled in the ways of organized crime met with me on an almost daily basis. We discussed and planned investigations of Whitey Bulger.

Whitey lived in my county in the City of Quincy. He operated his criminal enterprise out of South Boston, a short drive over the Southeast Expressway and down Morrissey Boulevard from Quincy. The Town of Brookline which was part of Norfolk County penetrated Boston separating its sections of Jamaica Plain from Brighton. Where Whitey operated I worked with law enforcement officers. I also worked closely with the state police’s organize crime unit, the Special Services Unit, that had state-wide jurisdiction.

Never in any of my many investigations did the relationship between Billy and Whitey affect anything. Never was it a consideration in any decision I or the others made. In my thousands upon thousands of conversations with men skilled in investigating organized crime did I ever hear the connection even mentioned although we often discussed Whitey. The Quincy police detectives who were relentless in their pursuit of Whitey were in continual contact with me and never suggested anything relating to Billy and Whitey.

The suggestion that somehow we backed off of investigating Whitey because of Billy is insulting. It besmirches the reputation of those hard working dedicated detectives. It is a libel of not only Billy but of all the law enforcement officers in the state at all levels who I worked with for more than 20 years who attempted to gather evidence for us to prosecute Whitey.

And from where do these libels emanate? They came from people in the media and enemies of Billy seeking personal revenge on him such as Professor Dershowitz. These people have no knowledge of our investigations. They cannot point to anyone who can honestly say that because of Billy he or she backed off from getting Whitey.

Had Billy any power to affect law enforcement it was at the state level. He had direct control over the budgets of the DAs and state police and indirect over the cities and towns. Examine the records of the time. The Massachusetts State Police were zealous in their pursuit of Whitey. They almost got him in 1980 when he operated out of Lancaster Street; after that they continued after him without let up. Where’s Billy’s protection for his brother there? The DAs likewise followed the evidence that they had. My office turned over to the FBI a person who was extorted by Bulger. Bulger’s handler reported that Whitey hated my office saying we had a vendetta against him.

We, the organize crime investigators in this state and I, always considered Whitey a target. We never had a second thought about going after him. We never for a moment thought of Billy during those investigations. It’s time to listen to people who were there and know what went on and not those who live on libel and pass on scurrilous lies.


The Fergurson Riots And The O’Brien Syndrome

fergusonThe New York Times editorialized on Ferguson, Ohio with the sub-heading Abusive Police Tactics in Ferguson Will Only Delay Justice.”  News about it was featured in every major newspaper across the country. There is a national wringing of hands.

What happened is a young black man was killed by a cop under circumstances that are still unclear. After his killing riots broke out. The police moved in. Some were heavily armed; most dressed as every day cops. Some in the media said it looked more like a military take over than a police department.

Ferguson is part of St. Louis County. It is located to the northwest of the City of St. Louis. It is surrounded by four major highways each one coming to within a mile of it: Interstate 70 runs to its south; interstate 270 to its north; interstate 170 to its west, and state highway 367 to its east.

ferguson aIts population jumped from 11,500  in 1950 to 22,100 in 1960 and  reached its peak of 28,700 in 1970. Since then it has slowly declined. In 1990 it was back to 22,200 the size it was in 1960. Its land area  is about the size of Dorchester, MA, a little over 6 square miles; where Dorchester squeezes about 92,000 into its area, Ferguson has a population a couple of thousand less than Dedham, MA which has 10.6 square miles.

In 1990 74% of its residents identified as white and 25% as black. In 2010 the whites numbered 29% and 67% were black. By comparison, Dorchester in 2010 was 37% black, 14% Hispanic, and 28% white.

Ferguson fA conservative columnist for the Washington Post who grew up in what he said was “an overwhelmingly white, resolutely middle-class neighborhood west of St. Louis” described Ferguson as: “about 20 minutes north around Interstate 270, past the airport — was never an intended destination. It was a working-class area that did not figure or matter much in my world. For all I knew, it was a foreign country.”  

That columnist, Michael Gerson, is 50 years old. He’s talking abut the time around 1980 when Ferguson was majority white; but as he said it was to be avoided because it was working-class. Gives you a good idea of where that man is coming from.

ferguson gGerson joins into what has become the prevailing mantra on the Ferguson problem writing: “But many people I know who differ on these matters shared the same immediate, emotional reaction: The images of tear gas, rubber bullets and sniper rifles from Ferguson don’t look like America.”

Our senior senator  from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren tweeted: This is America, not a war zone. The people of #Ferguson just want answers. We all want answers.” 

ferguson e Another senator, Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri piped up: “The militarization of the response became more of the problem than any solution.” It is reported in the same article “She said her goal has been to get the police force to stop using “military responses” and “see if we can’t get back to good, solid police work that keeps the protesters safe.”” 

Another article states:  a militarized police force has been firing rubber bullets and spraying tear gas at residents peacefully protesting the killing”

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old ManOur president spoke out. “There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,  There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protesters, or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Rising libertarian Ron Paul joined in wrote: There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.” 

ferguson police gWe get it. Peaceful demonstrators. Cops dressed and acting like soldiers in combat. Those are the sound bites all over the news. If the American people buy into it, we’re surely a nation of fools.

Here’s why: As the photographs on this page show the demonstrations weren’t exactly peaceful: the police confronted a riot. How then do we expect our police to act in a riot? Shouldn’t they have the tools to protect themselves? Were all the police dressed as military? Take a look at other photographs on this page and you’ll see that most weren’t although some were. You’ll find those showing the police in military gear get the most emphasis.

Riot police stand guard as demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MissouriLet me give you one thought to ponder at this time since I’ll have more to say later on Ferguson. I call this the O’Brien syndrome. It is when something is done well the person suffers for it.You might have heard it expressed as: “no good deed goes unpunished.”

It is named after John O’Brien the probation commissioner who has been convicted of racketeering. The results of O’Brien’s alleged crime was an improvement in the function of the probation department. Crime significantly decreased under his leadership.

Ferguson 1 In Ferguson, the results of the police action is that they acted boldly and at times in an authoritative manner. This show of force was such that no one was killed or seriously injured. Have you heard anything about that? Does the military go into a city and exercise such restraint? Didn’t the police response bring about a good result?

As for the New York Times editorial board, it’s nice to sit in that New York City high rise and criticize police but when your out in the street trying to keep order things change quickly and decisions are made fast. What may appear abusive in your safe office is sometimes life saving in the field.

Yes. Senator Paul, there was a difference between the police and military response since no one died. And Senator McCaskill, the police did keep the protesters safe but it would be nice if you had some concern for the safety of the police.

ferguson dYes Senator Warren, this is America. Ferguson looked like a war zone not because of the police but because of the rioters. There have been other riots in America but in almost all there was a loss of life or serious injury.

You want answers? Here’s one. The police acting in a restrained manner responded appropriately as the circumstances dictated and prevented greater damage, injury and death. How about giving them a little credit?

On the Salem Witch Trial Syndrome: Aisling Brady McCarthy

salem_witch_trialsAmerica is the land where we used to put to death witches. I know there are no such things but that didn’t stop the well educated and the less so at that time from being convinced of their existence. The accusers were often children.

The difficulty in shaking a child’s evidence is enormous. We all feel sympathy for children so hard or harsh cross-examination is either out of the question or elicits further sympathy for the child. We saw how in Colonial days a mere accusation and the attendant hysteria caused some women to be burned at the stake.

I remember reading that they had another way to test the guilt or innocence of an accused person in those early days. They would toss the person into a river. If the river accepted her and she drowned then she was innocent of the accusation; if the river tossed her up and she floated or swam ashore she was guilty and then put to death.

Along with that test we had the early form of water boarding. It was called the ducking stool.

That happened long ago but similar hysterias continue to this day. It was back in the 1980s, the local folk will remember the Fells Acre case when children again were at the forefront of accusing others of molesting them. All over the country cases seemed to spring up out of nowhere. It seemed we had become a nation of child molesters.

“Experts” in child abuse used by the prosecution would travel around the country like snake salesmen of old giving testimony supporting the children. They’d tell the jury that whatever the child said had to be believed even though there was a ton of evidence to the contrary.

That hysteria died out slowly. Even though nothing really changed in the nation it seemed that all the molesters had suddenly disappeared. The change happened in part because the prosecutors began to question these so called “experts” and looked with a jaundiced eye at the methods used to determine whether the child was telling the truth. The other part was the defense bar that worked mightily to demonstrate that a fake type system had arisen whereby innocent persons were having cases made up against them.

I prosecuted a murder case that came about during this time. I also oversaw an investigation into accusations by a child of evil and strange happenings at certain day care center. In the murder case where a mother murdered her child it was clear she was abetted by a psychologist who was caught up in the hysteria of the times. In the investigation, despite professionals telling us the child’s wild stories had to be true, I preferred to rely on our state police investigators who did an appropriate investigation and found no grounds for believing anything was amiss at the day care center.

Had we credited the child’s evidence and sent in the “experts” we probably would have brought about a situation where most parents of the children in the school would have been convinced their child had been molested. The “experts” were our modern day witches seeing things no one else could see.

I bring this up because of the “shaking baby” case. The Boston Herald deserves kudos for its coverage. It notes that Dr. Alice Whittier Newton has diagnosed the death of Rehma Sabir as one caused by her being shaken to death despite no outward signs of trauma. Aisling Brady McCarthy has been charged with first degree murder by the Middlesex District Attorney. This is the same district attorney’s office as handled the Fells Acre case.

This doctor lists herself as being the medical director of the child protection program with clinical interests in child abuse and neglect. She’s also the doctor behind the Justina Pelletier matter which I didn’t follow but it seems whatever her input into it it cause untoward misery for the child and her family. She also apparently made a shaken baby finding in another matter that didn’t seem to hold up.

My experience tells me that people in the business of looking for something will often find it even if it isn’t there. That was the case with the witches, the abused children and perhaps it is the case with Aisling Brady McCarthy. My experience also suggests that the defendant has a hard time beating these cases because of the sympathy for the dead child and the probable testimony of the doctor, who even if her evidence is totally conjured up because of a predisposition to make that finding, it will be enough to get the case to the jury.

There are problems with the case. Some injuries to the baby were weeks old and not connected with McCarthy despite prosecution claims otherwise. McCarthy has been held in jail without bail during these proceedings and the prosecution says it is going to present 90 witnesses in the case. The case to me has all the markings of one of those witch trials. At least McCarthy won’t be burned at the stake.