Sunday, March 27, 2005

Chapter 28 / The Funnies

Sinclair listened to the tape recordings from the night of the incident. He looked over the transcripts of the computer messages along with the notes that MacDougal had given him. With all the information at his finger tips, Sinclair was still in the dark as to what he should put in his letter. He wanted to be truthful while at the same time protect himself from not only the Department; but also from any possible civil retaliation that might stem from the incident.

TO: Chief of Police FROM: M. S. Dosilmeyer

Via Chain of Command Police Officer

Northwest Patrol

Night Shift

DATE: July 7, 1986

SUBJECT: Response to Internal Affairs Investigation # H - 85584

I, Officer M. S. Dosilmeyer Badge # 908, am assigned to the Northwest Patrol night shift. On the night of March 12, 1986; I was dispatched to a disturbance at the Tropical Grove Apartments located 1600 Pech near apartment # 80 J. The call went out at about 05:50 hours. Upon arrival at 05:53 hours I heard four gunshots at that location.

I notified the dispatcher, requested back up units and advised that they should approach with caution. My attempt to locate the source of the gun shots was difficult at first
because the sound echoed off the walls of the apartment buildings. I heard another shot go off and was able to determine where the shots had come from. Before any back up units arrived I was forced into a confrontation with the suspect who had come out of his apartment with a pistol in his hand. After a short struggle for the gun the railing on the second floor gave way; the suspect and I fell to the ground. Upon impact the suspect’s head was crushed, rendering him either unconscious or dead.

The fall broke both of my legs and I lost conscious. At this time I have a limited memory of what transpired and
have depended on the use of the Departments recordings of radio transmissions and computer related documentation of the incident.

On the evening of June 22, 1986; I was visited by Sgt. Perry and Sgt. Nichols of the Internal Affairs Division. At the time of their visit I was unable to answer any of the
questions because of physical limitations. They instructed me to write this letter and to include an answer to the following issues.

Did I at any time refer to the suspect as a Son of a Bitch or any derogatory racial slur? No.

Did I punch or kick the suspect at any time prior to or during the arrest? No.

Did I consider the increased danger level applied to the situation based on established Departmental guide lines? Yes.

While making the arrest, which take down techniques did I use in accordance with departmental procedures? I used the old "falling from the second floor" trick.

( Not listed as a primary take down technique by this department at this time.)

“That should get a laugh out of my attorney; just before he red lines it out of this letter.” Sinclair laughed; sarcasm assisted him as he struggled to contain his disgust.

He went on with the letter.

After noticing that the suspect was injured, did I attempt to use any of the First Aid that had been taught at the Department’s In Service School? No.

Why did I not call for an ambulance when I noticed that the suspect was injured and needed immediate attention? At the time, I was myself injured to the point that I could not move and I was later informed that I had been unconscious.

Prior to this incident, did I have any confrontations with this suspect either on or off duty? Not to my knowledge.

I issue this letter with the stipulation that I continue to have a loss of memory regarding this incident due to the injuries that I sustained during this incident. Any facts
which have been omitted are unintentional and do not reflect an attempt to hinder the investigation by this Department.

I further submit that I was ordered to write this letter, via the chain of command, by Sgt. Nichols and Sgt. Perry as a condition of employment. In view of possible job forfeiture, I have no alternative but to abide by this order. It is my belief and understanding that the Department requires this letter solely and exclusively for internal purposes and will not release it to any other agency. It is my further belief that this letter may not be used against me in any other subsequent proceedings other than disciplinary proceedings within the confines of the Department itself.

For any and all other purposes, I hereby reserve my Constitutional right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and any other rights prescribed by law. My compliance with this order shall not be construed as my giving up my right to remain silent.

M. S. Dosilmeyer

Sinclair reviewed the letter several times prior to shelving it. He knew that he should call his attorney before handing the letter over to the Department. He then turned on the computer and read the letter to himself; the words were immediately recorded to disk. Breathing out his frustration; he picked up the newspaper that Nurse Stuart had left at his bedside table.

The front page headline, “OFFICER RAPES JUVENILE ON DUTY “. Sinclair read the details of how the officer had been found molesting a fifteen year old. According to the story, it had happened while the officer was on duty in the back seat of his patrol car. He allegedly had stopped her for hitchhiking on the freeway and instead of taking her to the station he had driven to a secluded part of Memorial Park. It had been reported by a member of the District Attorney’s special investigative staff who had been out jogging and thought it odd that a marked patrol unit would be parked so far off the road in the bushes.

“ ‘ Must have just transferred to night shift. Any fool knows that we never set up on bushes, only buildings.” He laughed to himself; some officers had very elaborate specialty pillows. They were inflatable and conformed to the neck making it possible to sleep upright and avoid painful nerve pinches. His thoughts returned to the issue as it was presented, more like an indictment than a news feature. Sinclair did not like the way the press painted the issue.

“Another of the BLUE has placed himself above the law !”, the implication shot gunned the entire Department. Sinclair had no facts other than what was in the paper. He did not know the officer and yet he had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the article.

“Just what we need, another front page embarrassment!” The remarks instantly appeared on the computer screen; Sinclair had forgotten to switch it off. He glanced over at the words on the screen; “ ‘ Must have just transferred to night shift. Any fool knows that we never set up on bushes. . .” The corner of his mouth bending to indicate his contempt for officers who defile the uniform. Reading more of the screen, “Just what we need, another front page embarrassment!”, he erased the comments and closed the file.

“Let’s catch up on the comics.”, turning to the end of the entertainment section. Sinclair enjoyed the word scrambles and trivia quizzes that appeared daily. His favorite was the one box cartoon of Dennis the Menace. He always found William hiding within the inked borders, a salute to youthful adventure and life. The Phantom continued to exact justice in the jungles. The four panel strip featured the hero smashing the evil ones with his Phantom’s Head ring. The mark indelibly embedded on the bad guy’s chin as a reminder of how justice prevails.

“I wonder what the Phantom would think of an I. A. D. investigation. I bet he’d put a robe on and never leave the cave again.” Sinclair had a hard time putting the “letter” to bed as he glanced over the rest of the comics.

Nancy bested Slugo at eating cookies. Sinclair began to grit his teeth; forgetting about he comics. He still held a grudge, a painful memory of how the Department had taken issue with him for enforcing some very minor traffic ordinances.

“Everything you observe always has to be black and white!”; he remembered the words of the Deputy Chief, painting gray areas to illustrate the need for compromise. The statement was true; most everything that Sinclair observed was eventually taken apart within his mind to find out the truth or fiction of it. Sinclair questioned just about everything; how else was he to know the truth for himself. It made things difficult when dealing with supervisors. Sinclair stood his ground and never backed down. He was the first officer to ever receive a forty day suspension for insubordination. About the only consolation was that he was still a policeman. The Civil Service Commission was forced to overturn each and every line of the Department’s trumped up issue. He had acted fairly and within the scope of his position. There was no justification to imply that he had been at fault; that is except the charge that he had no respect for supervisors.

Sinclair had never argued that point; what bothered him was that they should not have
pursued the issue. He felt cheated; there was no inner satisfaction for having the knowledge that he was right; only a bitter stone that rubbed him raw occasionally. Sinclair wished that he had held his tongue; that he had never argued with them.

Crankshaft backed over another mailbox with the school bus, Snuffy Smith was playing checkers with Lukey, and Fred Basset was relaxing in his masters chair. The tension that had built up in his shoulder relaxed some more. All was well with the world. The funny papers were important to Sinclair; they distracted him long enough to forget reality. Letting the paper fall to the floor, he closed his eyes and fell asleep.