A READER ASKS: WHY DOES THE POLICE DEPARTMENT HAVE A SPORTS CAR IN THE PATROL FLEET?
MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT HORAN'S INVOLVEMENT IN THE FLOWERS SCANDAL
Did you see former County Commissioner Jack London's column in the Citizen last Sunday. It was an amusing piece. Jack proposed a series of local "celebrity" boxing events including a bout featuring me and Police Chief Buz Dillon. As you probably know, both Buz and I have been in the news for months, since he had me arrested last June for, gasp, printing the truth. I would have some questions about a Dillon-Cooper matchup, however. Isn't there a rule over at the Police Department that an opponent has to be handcuffed before a cop can punch him in the face?
In any event, if the bout were scheduled on a weekend, Buz may not want to drive all the way into Key West just to punch a handcuffed suspect. Didn't you know? The Key West Police Chief doesn't live in the City of Key West. A reader writes: "If the city is not safe enough for the Police Chief to live here, is it safe for the rest of us? Police officers do not list their numbers in the phone book, presumably for security reasons. Then they drive their marked police cars home (at taxpayers' expense) and park them right in front of their houses. Duh!"
Here's another tidbit in the Duh category. The State Attorney released a number of new documents in the Beerbower case this week. Among those documents is a finding by investigators from the State Attorney's Office that, even when Officer Steve Austin went to Internal Affairs Inspector Bob Christenson and told him, in a sworn in-writing statement, that he had seen Officer Beerbower hit a handcuffed suspect in the face several times with his fist, the KWPD did not launch an investigation! (I can tell by your body language that you don't seem to be surprised.)
Here's what the State Attorney's investigative report says: When investigators found out about Austin's sworn statement to Christensen, "the Monroe County State Attorney's Office requested a copy of the KWPD Internal Affairs investigative report and determined that an investigation had not been conducted." Duh!
Isn't this what we've been telling you all along? Surely you recall our series of reports last year that revealed that Lt. Al Flowers had lied in court and that Christensen had declared the citizen complaint about that lie "unfounded" without even conducting an investigation! You may also recall that, when Buz refused to investigate, I went to the Florida Department of Investigation and Buz got so mad at me for exposing the coverup that he had me arrested!
Now the State Attorney knows what we've been reporting all along. In Buz Dillon's police department, coverup is the rule, not the exception.
Another reader writes: "I am curious to know why the Key West Police Department uses a marked, two-door fastback sports model patrol car with black tinted windows. What is the story behind that? What is the point of this vehicle? If the officer makes an arrest, is it necessary to pull another car off patrol duties to transport a prisoner? What kind of gas mileage does it get? Does it have an ejection seat?
"Personally, it seems to me that a sports car with police markings and blue lights is pretty silly. But more importantly, I think it indicates a cavalier attitude which has no place in professional law enforcement. It's showy. It's inefficient. It's just downright unprofessional. Nuri Suzuki, Key West.
Here's a followup to last week's editorial that asked the question: Did Attorney David Paul Horan provide the false information that resulted in Police Lt. Al Flowers' forced resignation? Specifically, did Horan tell Flowers that a suspect Horan wanted arrested was "wanted" in Canada? Did he tell Flowers that the suspect was wanted for murder? Horan has admitted to investigators that he "may" have gotten false info from "a source at the Sheriff's Office" but he won't reveal who that source was. For obvious reasons. Sheriff Rick Roth told us that it would have been "improper" for any of his people to provide to Horan the kind of information Horan says he was provided. Presumably, if Horan were to name his source if he really had one that source would probably be fired. (Then, of course, he could sign on at the Key West Police Department.)
But Horan may have problems other than just feeling guilty about getting friends in law enforcement fired. One of the reasons Flowers was forced to resign was that he "caused" false information to appear on an arrest affidavit specifically, information that indicated that the suspect was "wanted" when, in fact, he was not wanted. Also, according to the State Attorney's investigation report, Flowers told the caretaker at the suspect's house that the suspect was wanted for murder. Where did Flowers get that false information? Did he get it from Horan? Or did he just make it up?
Horan admitted to investigators that he called Flowers and "used influence to get Flowers to do something that was his job anyway." What specifically did Horan tell Flowers? Did he tell him about the false info he says he got from his "source" at the Sheriff's Office? Did that information include the mythical murder charge?
There are two State Statutes that deal with this situation: 1. "Whoever knowingly gives false information to any law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree." 2. Whoever knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of a capital felony, commits a felony of the third degree."
These laws are on the books for a reason. Providing false information to a law enforcement officer is a serious matter. What if somebody calls the cops and tells them that you are wanted for murder and, furthermore, that you may be armed and dangerous. The cops come to your house, nervous and agitated. You, without a clue why they're there, innocently reach for your wallet and they shoot you down like a dog.
Last week we reported to you how aggressive Officer Beerbower became with an innocent housesitter after getting a report that there might be a prowler in the neighborhood. She said he treated her like a criminal.
We've asked Horan to talk to us about this. He won't. And Flowers doesn't want to talk either. Maybe it's time for the investigators from the State Attorney's Office to get Horan and Flowers in the same room and find out once and for all who told who what. Where did Flowers get the false information that the suspect was wanted in Canada? Where did he get the false information that the suspect was wanted for murder? Who was the source at the Sheriff's Department who provided false information? What information did Horan pass along to Flowers?
Inquiring minds want to know.