THE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE OF THE FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF FLORIDA
It has already been reported that John Molchan publicly threatened Rakeem Florence with perjury in a capital case if he recants. Not a surprising move since Florence asserts that Molchan directed his testimony. So now, of course, Molchan is trying to prevent him from recanting.
Now another monkey wrench has been thrown in Molchan’s efforts to prevent the truth from surfacing in this case. An attorney assigned to Gonzalez Jr. disclosed he had a conflict of interest because this attorney had represented someone ,who was not charged in this case, that has knowledge of what transpired that July night in 2009. The “confidential informant” has information that will exonerate Gonzalez Jr. This was discussed on the record in hearing.
So if Molchan were truly pursuing justice, he would want to make sure this death penalty case was handled fairly. Up until now, he has had no interest in making sure the conviction was sound.
Gonzalez Jr. had a hearing on June 10, 2021. This hearing was to discuss the reason his newly appointed attorney claimed he had a conflict and could not handle his case. The attorney disclosed to Judge Geeker and State Attorney Molchan that he previously represented someone on the periphery of the Billings case in a case unrelated to the murders. This person disclosed info about what happened in the house on that July night to his attorney. Being jammed up, this person had his attorney try to negotiate a deal for him on his case by providing information that would change everything in the Billings cases. Here’s what he says:
The State Attorney’s office was not interested in justice or truth. A white collar crime trumped the truth. That pesky paperwork to deal with verdicts already out there., there was no real time for that. Mr. Molchan, tell me again, why you are offended by the implication that you are anything but ethical??
This is a death penalty case….is it really too much to ask that things be done right?
I am writing this to obtain clarity after your pronouncement that Rakeem Florence’s recantation was moot due to the fact there was overwhelming evidence and his testimony being corroborated by the surveillance video. I take exception to both statements, specifically in the Patrick Gonzalez Jr. case.
I want to first remind you that this young man was a black 16 year old. He knew people that were on the periphery of this investigation. Your former boss, Mr. Eddins, informed the public this is a capital case. Florence is of the demographic most prone to false confessions. He is the only person of color, besides his family members, when he is interviewed by law enforcement. The circumstances of the crime, ie the media circus, the Sheriff constantly on television calling for public outrage as well as public help in finding the perpetrators of these murders, all culminate in a situation that probably seems like a no win situation to young black man. Imagine coming forward with information (which he & Thornton got straight on the way to police station) and realizing you could easily become a scapegoat. He was in over his head when he got there. Even his mother thought he only knew about some aspect of the murder; she did not believe her son was there.
This is an excerpt of the cross examination by Michelle Hendrix of Florence in Donnie Stallworth’s 2nd trial, which ended in a hung jury.
Do you know if Florence or Thornton ever talked to Hugh Wiggins, prior to them coming forward?
Here is a story that Gary Sumner’s mother told to me. Prior to the murders, Sumner and Wiggins had a business arrangement. Wiggins provided some capital to help Sumner stay afloat. As so, Wiggins called Sumner and told him he had dropped off a white van, after hours, at the shop. The next morning, Gary gets in and grabs the keys left in the dropbox. He gets into the van to move it inside. He claims there were 4 dead bodies in the back. He got out of the van, called Hugh to say the message was received. He believed it was a threat. Now whether you believe this story or not. It does not even matter if it was true. All that matters is that the teenagers thought it was true.
Also, I find it fascinating that you never called Florence to testify in Stallworth’s third trial, but I do know why. Michelle Hendrix impeached him with all the other testimonies he gave in the other cases, ex. Coldiron, Gonzalez Jr. etc. She really proved his testimony was worthless. Despite that you seem absolutely sure he was telling the truth. I am going to take a moment to speculate why you are all on-board with Florence and his testimony. I think you are more invested in this story than you are about finding the truth. Morgan conducted a shotty investigation, which the SAO never questioned just prosecuted. No one seriously looked at the family, who should have been scrutinized because they financially gained so much from their parents death. Morgan is a keystone cop. And yet, you took this far-fetched narrative rather than looking at the real issues. Here are some really good suspects: Hugh Wiggins, Justin Billings, Cab Tice. Remember originally Blue Markham told police he sold the van used in the crime to Cab Tice.
Here is just some of the cross-examination by Hendrix:
In fact, Florence tried to withdraw his plea on April 27, 2011. Yet now you seem to think Florence is disingenuous. This young man is the prime demographic of the textbook case of false confessions. As Ms. Hendrix proved in her cross-examination, his testimony was never consistent. He was not a good witness and you realized this as well. You opted not to put him on the stand in Stallworth’s third trial. It seems obvious you believe Florence was single-handedly the reason the jury was hung. So in your repetitive trials against Stallworth, after running him out of money, forcing him to opt for a public defender, you did not investigate whether there was something hinky with Florence’s testimony. You could and definitely should have further inquired as to why his story was ever changing. I mean, if the interest is in justice, that would have been the only prudent course. Yet your concern was the win; it was never justice.
Interestingly, I emailed Rakeem and asked him to explain what he called “evidence” of his coercion. This is his reply:
I hope, Mr. Molchan, you realize he is asserting you coerced him and provided the narrative that was factually questionable. You mention that the video surveillance corroborates both Florence’s testimony and Thornton’s testimony. It sounds like the reason it matches the video is because you crafted his testimony. Now ethically, it plainly looks to be improper for you to blast him on the news, knowing he does not have the same access to those media resources you have. Nevertheless, you are the one saying his recantation is moot, especially since he is accusing you of coercing this testimony. Convenient.
In reading every page of the thousands of documents dumped into the public domain prior to trial & the trial transcripts, I must presume you either do not know what evidence is, or you are so arrogant to think the pittance of information presented in Gonzalez Jr.’s trial, would put him on death row if presented today.
Here are some excerpts from the trial transcript of Mr. Eddins’s opening statement:
The highlighted portion is misleading. There was no “proof” only testimony by admitted co-conspirators.
This entire section is factually anemic because Leonard Gonzalez Sr. never testified in his son’s case, nor was his statement entered into evidence. In fact, this is a violation of Rule 4-3.4(E) of the RULES REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR. That rule provides: A lawyer shall not … in trial, allude to any matter that the lawyer does not reasonably believe is relevant or that will not be supported by admissible evidence, assert personal knowledge of facts in issue except when testifying as a witness, or state a personal opinion as to the justness of a cause, the credibility of a witness, the culpability of a civil litigant, or the guilt or innocence of an accused. The state attorney was doing none of these things; he was exaggerating the totality of the evidence. This statement alludes to Sr. testimony which was never admitted. Carol Brant was Sr.’s common law wife and her testimony would only be admissible if it were corroborating Sr’s testimony, but it was not. These statements potentially taint the jury with facts which were never admitted into evidence, such as the Brady violation by not submitting the most recent criminal history of Smith and Eisa which was unknown by the defense and would have contributed to the weight their testimony carried to the jury.
Mr. Molchan, to recap, there was no legitimate, untainted testimony evidence that Gonzalez Jr. plotted anything. Not to point out the obvious but Thornton’s testimony was concocted in tandem with Florence’s.
As for the physical evidence, your office destroyed the red van you claimed was used in the crime. That evidence is no longer admissible. Carol Brant passed away. So, there are two co-conspirators, who developed their story together and now one has said it was false. You have no credible person to say Jr. plotted this crime. As for physical evidence. In the video, the shooter grabs Bud and Bud grabbed him in this struggle. This is confirmed by the only eyewitness, the child in the room. GMA reported the child stated:
There is DNA under Bud’s nails. And a profile for that DNA was developed. But Patrick Gonzalez Jr. is excluded as a contributor.
There is no DNA evidence to put Jr. at the seen or any of his DNA on any clothing. And let’s talk about the guns. The murder weapon was never linked to Gonzalez Jr. except by Hugh Wiggins who had possession of all the guns, the bloody clothes and the safe. Now tell me why he would not be the logical suspect? Remind me again who the owner of the weapons was. There seems to be no report showing the ATF established whose guns they were. You have Jr.’s fingerprints on the 2 of the guns not shot in this crime. You never established he did anything but touch those guns. Let’s say he did touch them, there is no evidence to suggest he touched those guns that night or during any crucial timeframe. Fingerprints do no come with a time stamp.
Morgan is a keystone cop and the SAO hitched its wagon to his “investigation”. Your office did not question it when he did not investigate the family, the people with the most to gain. What about Cab Tice? Remember Blue Markham told investigators that he sold the van used in the crime to Cab.
With real leads uninvestigated, how in the hell can you claim you are competent. There is so much reasonable doubt,. To sum it up, no physical evidence, no credible circumstantial evidence, leads not investigated. If Gonzalez Jr.’s case was tried today, how could you justify the amount of energy and taxpayer dollars you wasted aggressively pursuing a unviable set of cases. These are people’s lives, Mr. Molchan. There is so many unanswered questions, and you are a public servant. Years ago, I was told there is “no justice in Florida”. I have to say there seems to be so much tunnel vision.
Checkmate, Mr. Molchan. Your case is inviable. It’s time to put your ego aside and find the truth.
The FBI raided Scott Haines’s house. They are talking to EVERYONE who lives close or works near him.
This is a victory a long time coming. In a group effort to expose the abuse of power and corruption, finally there has been progress to clean it all up! This is a direct result of a combined effort to help a family being fleeced by Scott and probably Eric Haines!
Recently I had a conversation with a deputy I frequently talk with. We discussed a few different things like Sheriff Chip Simmons, morale of the agency and employees that are still shining bad light on the ECSO. It was an honest conversation about the overall aura of the agency. Here is how the conversation went:
JS: So how is the morale of the agency?
Deputy: We expected, when Chip was running for office, he would run through the doors and give the agency back to the good employees that want to do good in the community. But there has been little movement in ridding the agency of the cancer. There are still “problem” employees or in some cases, criminals within the agency.
JS: Isn’t he concerned about looking like an extension of Morgan?
Deputy: It is rumored he wants to be viewed differently than Morgan and understandably so. However, keeping the holdovers that destroyed the optics of the department will only fuel the people claiming Chip is more of the same. The fact of the matter is it appears Chip has done little to hold people accountable for their actions and this continues to make the ECSO lose respect in the community.
JS: Doesn’t he realize he is under a microscope and by allowing those “hold-overs to remain, he is still destroying the potential the community had for him?
Deputy: He has been lackluster in his efforts to regain the confidence of the employees. People should never be harassed, and Simmons should not involve the department as the arena for political retribution that we witnessed under Morgan’s tyrannical regime. He had a front row seat of the destruction of good people at the hands of incompetent bullies under the command of Morgan and Eric Haines.
JS: Right. Joe Zarzaur pulled the curtain back on many of the shenanigans in the ECSO.
Deputy: Lie after lie has been identified in sworn testimony given by Morgan and Haines. Haines was even identified as a person with animus toward women in his command. Judge Vinson said that in a federal lawsuit filed against the ECSO involving Morgan and Haines. Yet Chip retains Haines and seems unlikely to make Haines answer for his poor leadership decisions and actions. Granted those actions happened before Chip, but Haines is still an employee and his actions on behalf of the agency will always remain relevant whether they happened yesterday or last year.
JS: You and I spoke about the recent shooting. Others have reached out to echo your views on this. That seems to be a circumstance created by Mindy and Haines that reared its ugly head.
Deputy: You mean, Sgt. Veltkamp? Most all of us believed her actions were questionable. It was difficult to have much sympathy for her because prior to being promoted, many felt she was a weak deputy and had trouble making good decisions. Her mental condition is in question here, as well. Imagine if she were an accurate shot, she’d have killed an innocent citizen on his property. In today’s climate, every deputy is afraid of being crucified. With cell phones and cameras, most of us are over cautious. Because you never know if one of your dumbass decisions will be played constantly until your family is harassed and the jobs are gone. What scares the hell out of me is that Sgt. Veltkamp has a position of authority with a known mental deficiency or at least an inability to manage emotions.
It is unfair to the agency and Sgt. Veltkamp. Maybe the friends that were attempting to cover up her breakdown were not actually friends. Did her friend help her or just kick the can down the road for a more serious incident to happen later? I think the incident that put Veltkamp in the spotlight speaks for itself.
JS: Do we know if she is stable at this point? What follow up was done to assure her emotional and mental fitness for the job?
Deputy: Unfortunately, Veltkamp could be a victim of circumstance. Her emotional state may not have been as serious as it seems. However, when your closet friends have lost credibility and proven they are less than truthful people, the perception makes everybody question. Mindy Young is the friend believed to be most instrumental in the cover up. Hell, look at Mindy. We all saw the texts that came out that showed she planned the demise of a complainant officer in an investigation she was conducting. She plotted to cause the employee to feel her “sting” with the subject officer in the complaint. This is proven with actual text messages that exchanged between Mindy Young and Eric Haines. This is beyond disgusting and a violation of Florida law.
I certainly wish the best for Sgt. Veltkamp. But some people are not made to be in law enforcement, or any position giving them a gun. I hope some leadership, some place at the ECSO will pick up this issue and remove the problems and the criminals of the days of inept leadership under the Morgan regime.
JS: I heard from someone else that Veltkamp was cleared of the shooting.
Deputy: I believe that is true. In honesty, there is no record of her psychiatric state in the past, thanks to Mindy. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have issues that people need to be aware of. Maybe it is even more important for her psychological status be more widely known. The man in the store is very lucky. Next time, people may not be so lucky.
JS: But as a few people have brought forth info, is there really good reason to be concerned about Veltkamp?
Deputy: Without a doubt. A seasoned officer with a clear head would not be in the situation she found herself in. I hate to say, this makes female officers look bad all around. Veltkamp’s problems play into the stereotype that female officers are weak and are liabilities because of their emotional reaction. I don’t find that to be true, but she certainly makes the case that can be used against other women in law enforcement.
Channel 3 reported that David Morgan pre-filed for Pensacola Mayor. Grover Robinson announced he wasn’t running again a little over 10 days ago. So this comes as no surprise. I predict the consolidation of services talk will escalate. I think the system is rigged. If this plays out as I predict, there will be no denying the corruption in the Panhandle.
I was surprised to see someone else had already pre-filed. Chase Anderson “Andy” Romagnano. He pre-filed in November 2020. As I look at his Facebook page, I find this post from Wednesday at 1:40am:
“Legally, I should have been sworn in as Circuit Clerk and Comptroller of Escambia County, Florida on January 5, 2021 but they just don’t want me to have it even though legally I should have been sworn in 3 months ago and already earned near $40,000 worth of salary already just over these three months
But Escambia County is wholly corrupt, they act people in Alabama, and I don’t think they understand just how awful a place Alabama is and why no one decent who wants to accomplish anything in the world would ever want to live somewhere as horrible as Alabama.
Having said that I have passed word through intermediaries, the fact is, when you have no money you cannot afford to take Kaplan LSAT classes nor even pay the fees for the real LSAT test and I would prefer to take those course against before the test.
I scored 161 on the LSAT in December 2008 and I have sent an email to someone with influence over admissions at Loyola New Orleans College of Law asking that the LSAT requirement be waived on the basis of poverty and making it clear that I need my law license to earn a living and time has passed, and generally if the admission was approved the things would get done and I even have sent in the FAFSA application and last time I lived off campus, this time I indicated “on campus” which would include enrollment in the meal plan because I am broke, do not have my car, I need my JD badly.
I have received no response from Loyola and in 2010 I received my notification in May I was admitted for the fall and so the wheels .would have to turn quickly and understand if I was going to “find something else” I already would have and I would not have had years of hell where all I am thinking about is “I should have my law license” because “then I wouldn’t be treated like this.”
I indicated to some persons that if it was arranged to have the LSAT requirement waived and myself admitted to the law school at the University of Alabama I would take it because so many want me to “be in Alabama” when I have made clear I absolutely despise them
The reality is at any law school at any school anywhere in America if someone in admissions really goes to bat for a person any number of exceptions can be made to what otherwise is a requirement, the persons getting these opportunities owing loyalty forever.
I am 35 and I honestly should have probably had my first child by age 32 but for people constantly messing with my life when it was without a point just to hurt me when I never would have done it to them because honestly I just don’t care about other people that much, I only care about business and the main problem with Mobile, Alabama is everyone there wastes so much time on the most unimportant and trivial nonsense and it takes energy away from making money and that is why no one who actually wants to accomplish anything wants to live there and why half the people in my high school class left for better.
But if I am not going to be sworn in to what by Florida law I should have been three months ago, someone has to find something for me and understand I cannot rely on “immediate blood relatives”, what others might call “family” because my immediate blood relatives don’t believe me, personally hate me, do not want to see me succeed, and I mean in Pensacola I know of no one to go to where I say “I need favor X” and it gets done the way you can do by walking into a precinct captain’s office in Chicago or Queens
.It’s not possible to “pull yourself up” when you have nothing and no one wants to do anything for you and everyone treats you like crap and this is the problem we Italians have, we don’t look after each other the way Jews and Lebanese do, of course Italian Jews, get looked after by fellow Jews on account of being Jews but we Italian Gentiles all we do is fight amongst ourselves, cut each other down and this is why we still have not made it in America. I am being screwed out of what I legally should have been sworn into 3 months ago just because people in Alabama are worthless, heartless scum who are so unhappy with their own lives that whenever someone leaves their worthless state to try and have better they just can’t accept it.
They are celebrating a warehouse being built in Theodore saying “1,500 jobs”, that is what they celebrate in Mobile County, warehouses, and not anything that actually attracts quality people and they wonder why the hell they have a brain drain.
Huntsville should go ahead and secede from Alabama and annex into the state of Tennessee. But I am trapped in Pensacola broke and I would love to leave, I am sick of my life being shit and being treated like shit, but where the hell do I go?I would need a job, lodging, etc lined up and no one wants to do a damned thing for me and I don’t get it because I would have been the first to do it for them, and then collect the IOU for the favor to be redeemed in a future election. I need my JD and law license but if I can’t get a number of waivers, and basically my admission ordered at a law school for fall 2021 I have to wait till 2022 and need to do something in the mean time but it is now a point of personal pride I have that law license for the awful way people have treated me and all the disrespectful things they have said to me. Just because they feel bad about themselves and have to pick on someone else to try and feel better about themselves. Sean Driscoll once said of me I would give the shirt off my back to help others, but no one could do a damned thing for me. So I will simply say, for those who actually want someone loyal to them and who always repays loyalty, I really am the opportunity of a lifetime so think of what it means to have someone owe it to you, rather than listening to morons following the crowd to pick on them.
But poverty, ostracism, mistreatment, this shit cannot continue, I have had all I can stand, if I am not to be sworn into the office I legally should be sworn into someone has to do a favor for me ASAP to get me the hell out of Pensacola to somewhere where I might can make it like Nashville, Brooklyn, Providence, etc.
I would do it for you.
Why can no one do it for me?- Andy Romagnano/rightful Circuit Clerk and Comptroller of Escambia County, Florida (as Pam Childers lacked the minimum valid signatures….someone please file a petition to disbar David Stafford….)“
So after reading this, I really wonder which candidate is worse.
Bad decisions have a tendency to boomerang back around. According to sources inside the ECSO, a deputy who was Baker Acted twice and who happened to keep her standards was involved in the standoff last week. Pam Veltkamp, a friend of Mindy Von Ansbach Young, created a standoff and shot at a business owner 14 times, erroneously thinking he was a suspect. Here is the ECSO press release:
On 3/27/2021 at 3:51 a.m., the ECSO responded to a call for a suspicious vehicle parked in the back lot of Blue Angel Groceries on Olive Road and Whitmire Road. When the deputy arrived, he located a suspect sleeping in his vehicle. The deputy observed a handgun and numerous narcotics in plain sight on the floorboard between the suspect’s feet. The deputy woke the suspect and attempted to take him into custody. The suspect exited the vehicle and engaged in two physical altercations with the deputy and attempted to flee on foot. The suspect then returned to his vehicle and reached toward where the firearm was located, forcing the deputy to fire at him. The suspect escaped on foot. A perimeter was established, but the suspect was not located. A large amount of narcotics and a firearm were located inside the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was identified as John Lee Johnson Jr. There were no injuries reported.
During the investigation, one of the witnesses provided a false identity to investigators. It was determined that the witness, later identified as Hassan Moorer, had active warrants for Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Larceny, Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Battery with Bodily Harm and Robbery with a firearm.
Deputies returned to the Blue Angel Grocery looking for Hassan Moorer and they were directed to the back of the open store by an employee. When deputies entered the building and announced their presence, they were met with an individual, who was not Hassan Moorer, pointing a firearm in their direction. Deputies fired at the individual and were able to secure the area. The ECSO SWAT Team was activated and arrived on scene. The individual surrendered and there were no injuries. The investigation is still ongoing in reference to the firearm being pointed at the deputies. Per protocol, the deputies have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The ECSO is looking for John Lee Johnson Jr. (DOB: 3/19/84) who is wanted for Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting with Violence, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of a Firearm while in Commission of a Felony, Sale/Manufacture/Deliver Cocaine, Sale/Manufacture/Deliver Ecstasy, and Sale/Manufacture/Deliver Controlled Substances.
The ECSO is also looking for Hassan Moorer (DOB: 12/6/82) who is wanted for Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Larceny, Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Battery with Bodily Harm and Robbery with a Firearm.
The problem is there are a great deal of details left out. Hassan Alissa, the owner, was sleeping in the back of the store when deputies entered. He heard yelling and after the drama earlier he grabbed his gun. He did not hear the deputy identify herself as law enforcement. She was yelling “Hassan” thinking he was Hassan Moorer, believed she had cornered the suspect but whatever dialogue happened at this point, they were both armed, not understanding who the others were. Alissa called 911, not realizing the people in his store were deputies. But when deputy Veltkamp saw the gun, she should was in control of that situation. Alissa pled to the dispatcher, who he credits for saving his life, to call this deputy off. There is nothing he could have said at this time that could have diffused this situation. She believed he was the suspect and would not have believed anything he said.
Pam Veltkamp should have been Baker Acted at least twice in the last 3 years, but thanks to her good friend Mindy, she voluntarily committed herself both times. The first time was just prior to her promotion in December 2018. And one other time since then. Each time, Mindy secured her law enforcement standards were preserved. She was assigned as a School Resource Officer, which is one of two places, troublesome deputies are relegated to rather than being fired. The other place is the courthouse. The point is that Mindy should not have gotten special treatment for this chick either time. Psychological fitness is necessary to be a law enforcement officer everywhere. She may be a great person but if she has mental issues, having a badge and a gun makes her a danger to everyone she encounters. Naturally Eric Haines was a part of keeping this lady on the streets because of his closeness to Mindy, his mini-me.
So while Eric was micromanaging some deputies, he was giving this chick a pass. Then Morgan even promoted her after her first breakdown. In what world, is that a good idea? Now we shall see what Chip does now.
About a year ago, someone came to me with information on Sir David. It was the craziest thing I had heard to date. Morgan said he was going to be Mayor of Pensacola in 2022, but it would be a consolidated services Pensacola, meaning integration of the county and city together under him. I thought the old man had finally lost his marbles. First of all he had no real pull with the Downtown Crowd. Secondly, there was no chatter even about that anywhere,
Fast forward to Morgan announcing he was running for mayor at the end of last year officially. And now I get this email, from Mel Pino.
So now I have to ask how Morgan knew there was going to be a push for a charter. Is he psychic or a gypsy? No! This has been in the air for a while, at least among the back room dealers. The public input into things such as this is just window dressing. THE FIX IS IN.
Morgan fancies himself as the King of Pensacola and Janice will create a place for herself in his court. God Help Us!
So today, I was reminded of why it is important to not make concessions based on trying to be politically correct. For the last almost 9 years, I have made my life’s mission to help someone who was wrongfully convicted. I don’t make any money and I damn sure don’t make any friends. But it is important and I have no disillusions about the person I am focused on helping. He’s got baggage but the one thing I can say, without hesitation, is his trial was a mockery. If advocating for him is politically incorrect, so be it, but it is the right thing.
Most of all, I want to make one thing absolutely clear, I help the people I help because they have gotten a raw deal. Most of the time, they are marginalized people. I vet the cases and I stand behind all of them. I do that because it is the right thing to do. It is literally that simple. I don’t befriend people because they can advance me or my causes, and I don’t ostracize people for their own peculiarities or because they are politically toxic. That’s not me. I am very much the person who follows my own moral compass, rather than the popular views of others. I call few my friends and I rarely have been proven wrong because I have an instinct for people. If I call you a friend, I will go through hell and high water for you. If I don’t call you a friend, don’t expect that to change.
Having said all that, I recently went against my better judgment and welcomed someone I called a friend back into my life. This person walked away because of my views on national politics. I was floored because it never crossed my mind to isolate or cut a friend loose over something so ridiculous. This person felt it was perfectly ok and my intuition told me that letting them walk was in my best interest. After the absurdity of the national election, this person wanted to reconnect. Against my own inner voice, I decided maybe it was a good thing to let bygones be bygones. But today, because Trump was acquitted, I was told that an agreement among friends might not be honored.
If national politics determines whether you help a friend or support a cause that is right, then you have no place in my life. I knew, inevitably, this situation would crop up again, because this person clearly only sees me as a one dimensional person who is the sum total of my national political view; I’m not a friend; I’m not a confidant. I’m not someone they value, warts and all. I can’t accept that. I give more than that and if that kind of mutual respect isn’t a reciprocated, The relationship is done. Being my friend can be difficult because I have strong beliefs that aren’t always shared, I realize there is a huge majority of people who have no backbone to stand for what’s right for that simple purpose it is right and nothing else. I get that. But when a friend, or a supposed friend, decides that national politics trumps a friendship, then it’s time to cut the loss and move on.
"I never had to hang my head in shame
For puttin' a price tag on my name
Never turned my back on what I believe
Or let my heart be ruled by greed
'Cause buddy if I didn't earn it, I don't want it
That way I can always say, I got it honest
Now you ain't looking at some dude
That was born with a Silver spoon in his mouth
And I might seem like some kind of low-life
To that high-falutin' crowd
But I'm plain spoken, straight talkin'
And damn proud of what I have accomplished
Some folks appreciate that and some don't
But, I got it honest"
EDITORIAL: I want to acknowledge the handling of a serious matter, a little less than 2 weeks ago. My son, who lives in Pensacola, was missing and possibly endangered. I was apprehensive about involving ECSO due to my history with the leadership. However, Chip Simmons, Investigator Lee and Sgt Calogero were fantastic. My son is fine, but I was a wreck. I will never forget what they did.
Having said that, I am still compelled to post on issues I believe are public worthy regarding the agency. Chip’s personnel decisions and actions or inactions, still will ripple through history. I will not pull punches on this matter, because someone should.
Now that the ball is in Chip Simmons’s court, we will all be able to see if he is more of the same (ie Morgan) or whether he will turn the agency around as is hoped. It appears he is riding the fence on the most recent morally bankrupt employee, David Craig. Craig has recently been on administrative leave. It is alleged he exposed himself to a little girl. Can’t confirm for sure but knowing Craig’s history, this certainly fits the pattern of inappropriate actions he has had in the past.
Right after Craig was hired in January of 2009, he immediately began abusing the trust that should be associated with working for a law enforcement agency.
To a layperson, this seems like a string of misdeeds that should not be punished by anything less than termination. Destroying evidence? Fake badge? Interfering with Investigation? Dissemination of official personnel records by someone without the authority to access those records legitimately?
In early 2015, I received an email from a source about Craig:
Hey Jimmie, just thought of something when I saw your comment about chatting with David Craig on Facebook. Are you aware that David was a Reserve Deputy but lost his certificate for policy violations? And, that he contributed a ton of his BLAB tv show time to Morgan during his first campaign and some during the second campaign? Morgan created a job for Craig with a starting salary roughly $10,000 over what a starting deputy makes. I started getting complaints on Craig from Investigations in regards to his interfering with several investigations. The Captain of Investigations at the time, sent me a letter asking me to stop Craig’s getting involved before he blew a case. After several other complaints, one from his immediate supervisor, another Investigator and a complaint about Craig impersonating a law enforcement officer, I went to Morgan. Morgan refused to involve himself in Craig’s situation, other than to tell me to just warn him to be careful. I eventually wrote Craig up and warned him that if he continued to talk to witnesses, take pictures of suspects homes, and other such activities he could be arrested. Craig also has a Domestic Violence past and I’m correct he is not allowed to carry a firearm but does and Morgan knows this. Craig acted as a Bodyguard for Morgan during his election campaigns and carried a gun on him then.
Since then, I have been approached by witnesses who claimed that Craig was banned from the Creighton Road Walmart for urinating in public, and thus exposing himself to shoppers. Somehow or another, even after PPD was on the scene, Morgan was notified and got the PPD to not issue a report. The witnesses heard the call on the scanner and showed up to witness firsthand the covering up of this offense. There is no report or any paper trail on this other than the witnesses, which doesn’t surprise anyone.
I am also hoping to see Chip step up to deal with Steve Cappas. The man confessed to tampering with evidence in the Joe Zarzaur case for the Rodgers twins. Lest we forget.
And Mike Gilmore. He failed to act on information regarding a missing child. Let a lead sit in a file for 2 years, knowing the witness saw the girl in a sex trafficking setting. Not even a footnote in his file.
There are so many issues with personnel. If Chip doesn’t step up and eradicate the vermin, he is just as bad as that vermin. One bad apple ruins the whole bunch, right? What about 3-4 bad apples?