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Prosecutorial Discretion- a prosecuting attorney’s power to decide whether or not to prosecute, the power to look the other way and allow a crime to go unpunished even if it was committed publicly. Prosecutorial Discretion– a 100% fictional story which describes tactics that the author, Nobody, believes would be effective at persuading a look-the-other-way prosecutor to stop looking the other way…tactics which are completely underhanded and dirty…tactics which are completely unfair, illegal, violent and risky…and are described for informational and entertainment purposes only.
Nobody was a Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Specialist in the US Marine Corps and served several tours in Iraq including combat in the April 2004 Fallujah battle. He helped organize several pro-Constitution rallies, including one in which participants carried pistols and rifles directly across the Potomac River from Washington DC in 2010, an event which was covered by the Washington Post, MSNBC, Time magazine and other major news outlets. Nobody currently works as a certified corrections officer at a minimum security prison.
Monday, Oct 22nd
Adam Reese was driving home from his job in Kansas City, Missouri; he was almost to his apartment on the eastern outskirts of Independence when he felt his phone vibrate. At the next red light, he took a look at the message, which was from his friend, Ed Hawkins. The message said, simply, “chek ur email;” Ed wasn’t the type to send text messages, so it was probably important. And, based on the timing, Adam had a pretty good idea what the email was about.
As soon as he got home, he went straight to the computer without even taking off his shoes, locking the door, or grabbing a beer from the fridge, as was his usual afternoon post-work ritual. He turned on the computer and waited, becoming aware that his breathing and pulse had accelerated. Adam recognized that he was feeling the same kind of rush he’d felt when he took his first bungee jump or when he first heard a shot fired in anger in Samarrah, Iraq in 2004. His body was doing this despite the fact that he was pretty tired from his long day at the produce warehouse moving boxes with and without mechanical aid. Plus, he prided himself in being calm and stoic, so he tried to keep his excitement and its physical symptoms in check as soon as he became aware of them.
“C’mon, Adam, how would you ever stand up to a polygraph interrogation?!” he whispered to himself as he now noticed the butterflies in his stomach. He decided to go ahead and grab a Sam Adams bottle from the fridge while he waited for his relatively old laptop and cheap internet to get around to opening his gmail account. His email finally opened, and he clicked on the one from Ed. Ed would always blast out emails linking to stories, but the text message Adam had received was a signal that this one was special. The email title was the same as the news article linked inside it: “State To Settle for $125,000 in Excessive Force Lawsuit Stemming From Videotaped Incident.”
Adam, his friends and activist associates were very familiar with the public details of this incident, and they had a pretty good hunch as to what not-so-public details filled the information gaps…as did anyone who followed the case, which received a ton of state and local attention plus small a degree of national attention through Drudge Report and smaller blog-type websites that focused on police and government abuses. The settlement of the lawsuit represented the closing of the books on this incident, so far as the state was concerned and so far as the news was concerned.
The excessive force story began three months previous and involved a pretty good beat down and tasering of a motorist by a young Missouri State Highway Patrol officer. It took place in Lafayette County on Route 70 between Odessa and Concordia. The portions of what took place that were visible from the dashcam looked pretty bad, but there were portions that were not visible when the officer and the victim were out of view. From the dashcam video, it appeared as if the officer was making an effort to get the man out of view, but that was a subjective call. The news stories said the man was arrested for interfering with the duties of a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
Once the video was released, however, all charges were dropped. It looked pretty bad, despite the gaps in the action. The Highway Patrol’s internal investigation, based off of the dashcam video, interviews with the victim, and, of course, interviews with the arresting officer, resulted in a slap on the wrist for the patrolman, Officer Michael Garges. The gist of the Highway Patrol investigation’s conclusion was that Garges was justified in using force, but that the force he used was a little too excessive. They had to at least acknowledge that, because, in addition to the ugly video of the beat-down, there were also some pretty ugly pictures of the victim’s bruised and swollen face all over the news with a few of the news outlets going so far as to show “before and after” pictures.
However, a few days after Officer Garges went back to work for the force following his short unpaid vacation, a second video showed up on YouTube. This one was apparently shot from a cell phone held by one of the passengers in the back seat. It showed pretty much all of what the dashcam video did not show. While Garges’ side of the story was that the arrestee was making aggressive moves and physically resisting when the officer told him to sit on the ground, the cell phone video and audio showed that the only aggressive and resisting moves the guy made were a few ballsy and colorful words.
A couple days after the second video came out, two things happened: the victim decided to sue, and Garges made the decision to resign. That was only about a week ago, and Adam Reese was already reading about the state deciding to settle. The state had tried, briefly, to investigate the motorist and find out who his passengers were and who recorded the video, but, after a few leaks came out that this was going on, the state figured that continuing to do so would only make things worse. They figured $125,000 was a fair amount to sweep the thing under the rug and stop the front-page headlines. As Adam read the story, he thought the amount a bargain for the state. The victim also thought the payment was a little skimpy, but it was the most he could get without giving up the name of his passengers, claiming he knew them by first name only. The state, fortunately, wasn’t too interested in pressing for the names until after the cell phone video came out, and, by then, they had decided to cut their losses. This was good, because the passenger who recorded the video had wanted to wait a while before releasing it, just to see if the cop could be caught in a lie.
The vehicle’s passengers were college students, a couple of whom had a bit of an idealistic streak. The videographer, in fact, had met Adam briefly at a CopWatch training session, and they had also exchanged a few online communications prior to the incident. From what she did know of Adam, the videographer had decided to trust him, and Adam helped facilitate the release of the video in a fairly secure, anonymous manner. At the time she had filmed the incident, she said not a word out of fear, keeping quiet until finally telling Adam about her recording. And even after the video came out, she had absolutely no desire for her name to appear on anyone’s enemies list.
Adam re-read the article in the email just to be sure of all the relevant facts. He called Ed and his other friend, Jason Parker, to see about meeting to discuss the incident face to face, using the words “play trivia at One Trick Pony” to describe their plans over the non-secure phone.
‘One Trick Pony’ was the local sports bar serving burgers, wings, and some pretty greasy Tex-mex. Should’ve been called ‘No Trick Pony,’ Adam thought, but it worked as an easy meeting place, plus they had trivia with cash prizes every Wednesday. So Wednesday trivia night at One Trick Pony had been designated by Adam and his soon-to-be partners in crime as the default time and place to meet up. More specifically, the crew had had the forsight to designate Wednesdays at Pony’s to be the rendezvous place and time in the event the state of Missouri settled the Garges incident without Garges himself being charged with a crime.
Wednesday, Oct 24th
Adam met up with Jason at the bar at about 5:30 pm. Jason was already almost finished with his first beer and reading the local news on his iPhone.
“Ed coming?” Adam asked Jason. Ed and Jason knew each other before they’d met Adam almost a year ago at a local meeting of the Constitutionalist group, the “OathKeepers.” The three of them had since broken off into their own separate little club where they could discuss things more freely.
“Naw,..said he had something going on……Check this out,” said Jason, handing Adam the iPhone. Adam looked at the screen showing a video clip as it opened up. Although there was a lot of noise in the bar, Adam could piece together what was being said: “Officer Michael Garges has just been re-hired with the Columbia, MO Police Department after resigning from the Missouri Highway Patrol a few days ago. If you recall, Officer Garges was involved in this incident……” And the news then showed the infamous cell phone and dashcam video to give the audience a re-cap.
“Not at all surprised,” said Adam.
He then ordered a Samuel Adams and asked the bartender when the trivia would start and what the prizes would be. After a little chit-chat, the bartender brought Adam his beer and asked him if he would like a glass for it. The bartender’s body language suggested he might be lingering around to chit-chat some more, so Adam said, “Yeah, sure,” to the glass this time so as to get some quick privacy. The bartender walked back to his station to get the glass.
Adam quickly turned to Jason and said, “Oh, hell yes, it’s definitely on. I’m a go if you and Ed are.”
“Oh, you know I’m down. I will have to double check with Ed and get back to you to confirm,” said Jason.
The bartender returned with Adam’s glass and left to attend to other customers who had just come in. The place was filling up a little bit.
As he finished pouring his glass, Adam pointed to the picture on his beer bottle, and said to Jason, “You know this guy was a law-breaker and a badass? You ever seen that John Adams miniseries where they tar and feather that dude?”
“Yep, seen it…….They were right to choose that guy from ‘Sideways’ for the role of John Adams. I forget his name, but he was also in that Howard Stern movie where he played Howard Stern’s boss. He’s pretty type casted by now.”
“Yeah, but I’d trade places with him in a heartbeat.”
Jason, never really one for light conversation, stopped to think a couple seconds before replying, “I don’t know about that, myself…….you know, considering the history we’re about to make……..This isn’t just about the one mission we’re on. You know I still plan on taking this as far as I can take it even after we do this thing. I’m done looking for peaceful solutions.”
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