March 13, 2011

Kangaroo Court

Not talking wildlife this time, I'm talking about the farce which will take place on March 24th, at 10:00 a.m., in the Big Rip.  In case you've forgotten what a kangaroo court is, briefly stated, it is an unfair, biased, judicial proceeding where the outcome is known beforehand. What are you talking about, Missy?  The city board's decision to provide suspended police chief, Landis Garrison, a public hearing. Supposedly there is a report of over 800 pages detailing allegations against him. So why is it a kangaroo court?  Because they have been trying to fire him since last fall.

Motions were made at the January board meeting to fire him but didn't get a second.  Then they decided to suspend him, with pay, pending the outcome of yet another investigation.  Here's the deal:  With all of the investigations, he has not had the opportunity to defend himself against the allegations.  The January board minutes are filled with lengthy descriptions of  alleged transgressions of which only two of the five merit any real concern.  It can be assumed that the charges are nebulous because the agency conducting one of the first "investigations" has declined to produce a final report.

And just what are the infractions that have the city fathers so upset?  According to the minutes: 1) Signed out while an incident was in progress;  2) Officer asked for backup during an incident at the station--Chief seen leaving the building;  3) Told employees that they were not to go to or talk to City Hall; 4) Instructed that a tape asked for by the city attorney not be released; 5) Did not inform another officer (since fired) that she would be suspended without pay, as instructed.  Oh, not listed as a matter of concern in the listing, he also failed to keep appointments with elected officials.

In the letter sent to Garrison by Attorney Hill, read at the March board meeting, informing him that he was being granted a hearing although he was "an employee at will," the following were added:  "not having a good working relationship with the district attorney and  general unsatisfactory conduct."  Not to mention charges from both inside and outside the department. The inclusion of "an employee at will" kind of sends the signal, doesn't it?

And then there are the whispers:  "Black officers are leaving the force because of him."  "The number of speeding tickets have increased since he's been the chief."  "My son brought him a plate of ribs and he didn't say thank you. He was so hurt."  (Maybe you shouldn't have taken ribs, or chittlin's, or any other "ethnic" dish.) "He's asked for a white Escalade."

Poor judgment; abysmally poor public relation skills; not knowing how to play the political game.  Guilty. Enough to be railroaded?  I think not.  Dereliction of duty?  Prove it...beyond a reasonable doubt.

The community is divided--what else is new--it is a Black/white issue. It is abundantly clear in reading the minutes that Aldermen Chipman, Lague, Shelby, and Hendren have every intention to terminate. Whether he mounts a substantial defense or not.

Where are his supporters?  Will they show up at the "hearing" and will their presence have any bearing?  NOT.  They won't be allowed to speak.  I, for one, intend to be "in the house" so I can see this farce for myself. 

Be safe.  Be Blessed.


Doinmelee731 said...

I agree, yet there is so much more that could and should be brought out regarding this issue. I pray that it does because it is so time for the people of Ripley to stop sitting idle.

DCnTN said...

I don't know all the ins and outs behind this debacle but the manner in which the board has handled it is deplorable. Supposedly, a man is innocent until proven guilty. Doesn't appear to be the norm in this fair city. And, just where are his supporters?