A Weak Case

Lawyers will tell you, it’s not what you know but what you can prove. Sometimes even proof isn’t enough. Other things often come into play.

 A Weak Case

It seemed like I was always in trouble for going too far; I usually felt other officers didn’t go far enough.

It’s not often you get a “domestic” call in the middle of downtown and in the middle of the workday. But you know these things can explode quickly so you always go to them with an open mind. When dispatched to something like this, you have to remain aware.

The car was stopped at the curb and two men and a woman were standing next to it, but not next to each other. One  of the men was a uniformed fireman, who probably stopped to see if he could help, the second guy was wearing shorts, tank, and of course slippers; she was in business dress, and was standing by the car hood crying.

She was a tiny thing, and he looked like he spent a lot of time pumping iron.  He didn’t have the look of an ex-con, but he was obviously was a heavy gym rat and surfer. They weren’t exactly fighting but there was real tension between them.

He was not yelling but appeared to be speaking very forcefully and took an immediate aggressive attitude when I arrived. He was in his early 20’s, as was she, and he seemed intent on her not talking with me. I was a little uncomfortable in trying to talk with both of them so it was a relief when another unit showed up for back-up. I separated the two, asked the back-up to just keep him there while I go get her side of the story.

She began by telling me her name was “Toni” and he was “Erik”, and they hadn’t been boyfriend and girlfriend for almost a year. She had broken up with him because he was too demanding and possessive. Today he had come to her work place and asked her to have lunch with him. She agreed, not thinking he meant anything but lunch.

He didn’t take her to lunch. He drove to her bank; he knew where to take her from when they were dating. He told her he was in trouble and she needed to withdraw all her savings’ and give it to him. When she refused the first time, her grabbed her hair and twisted. When she still refused he punched her in the breast. Then, as if to just make his point, he punched her breast several more times, until she got the idea he was going to hurt her badly if she didn’t do as he said.

She went into the bank and took out several hundred dollars, not all of it like he had demanded. She was so frightened of him she didn’t say anything to anyone in the bank. He was so sure of his hold over her, and her fear of him, he didn’t even go inside with her. She went back to the car and he demanded the money before he’d give her the car keys back. She gave him the money, got back into the car and started to return to her workplace. As she drove, he counted the money and told her it wasn’t enough. They had stopped for a traffic light when he told her she needed to go back to the bank and get a cash advance on her credit card. No ATM’s then, really.

Once again she found the courage to tell him no. He put the money in his pants pocket, and reached for her hair again. She got out of the car and standing in traffic where she could be seen by other people. He got out and started to berate and yell at her but couldn’t convince her to get back in the car. She was afraid that if she got back in the car, she might never get out.  Someone must have seen them and called 911. It was about this time the fireman saw them standing in traffic and stopped to see if he could help. That’s where they were when I got there.

About then the fireman told me he had to get back to the station and could he leave? I told him to go ahead and if I needed information from him, I’d contact him there.

After hearing her story I had her standing by the front of the car, and approached the ex-boyfriend. I told him to empty out his pockets. Now it was crunch time. He stared back at me with a hard look and I knew he was getting ready to try and fight. I stepped back, popped the safety snap on my holster and put my hand on the revolver butt. I tried to force a look that said I would use it if he tried to fight.

My back-up unit arrived and was a young officer named Jeff. He and I were friendly, and he had often spoken of how he liked the way I handled cases, but it appeared he wasn’t ready of this. Fortunately he was standing behind Erik so the confusion on his face couldn’t be seen.

The standoff lasted several seconds, they only seemed like hours, when Erik finally turned around and took out his wallet and some loose change out of his pockets and put them on the car. I had him place his hands on the trunk and spread his hands and feet, and then I reached into his right front pants pocket and withdrew a large bundle of cash. I asked where all the money came from and he replied it was from his paycheck. When I asked why he hadn’t taken it out he said that he knew all cops were thieves and he didn’t want his money taken. I asked how much was there and he gave me a figure that was quite a bit less than Toni had said she had taken from the bank.

Funny, he didn’t know how much his paycheck cash was or what was in his pocket. I quickly counted the money and what a surprise, it was exactly the same amount as Toni had told me she had taken out of the bank.

I will be the first to admit I didn’t like this guy from the beginning. I may have been the victim of some male hormone thing, she was pretty and small and I wanted to protect her. Mostly this guy pissed me off with his “can’t touch me “attitude. He seemed to think he was going to walk away from this situation. I had other ideas.

I wanted to take him down for hitting her and then it occurred to me, he had taken money from her by force and she certainly was afraid of him. That “force or fear” made this a robbery.

Without further comment I took out my handcuffs, advised him he was under arrest for the crime of robbery and hooked him up before he was really aware of what I had said. He was so surprised he didn’t even try to resist. I asked Jeff to put Erik into his patrol vehicle so I could have her secure her car and I would transport her to the detective’s office and then begin the booking process.

Later Jeff told me that on the way to the station Erik had said I must have been afraid of him since I had my hand on my gun. Jeff told him that I wasn’t afraid of him at all; I was just trying to decide whether or not I should kill him. There was less paperwork that way. Jeff could be very convincing at times. Judging from the way Erik was acting in the station, this must have been one of those times.

When Toni realized someone had believed her and was really doing something about it, she really started crying. I figured it had been a bad relationship, and she was relieved it was, maybe, finally over.

We got to the station and I walked Toni to the booking area. Jeff and Erik were already inside starting the process so I had her sit outside while I went to the watch commander to give him the facts of my arrest. I’ll say I felt pretty proud of myself.

I stood in front of the Captain and laid my case out step by step, and he looked at me like I had grown a second head. Then he slowly, as if speaking to a very young, very stupid child, explained to me that a boyfriend cannot rob his girlfriend. I did not have a robbery, what I had was a domestic beef involving the couple’s finances. I was to write a report reflecting just that. I stood there with mouth open and a pretty confused look on my face so the Captain went on to explain to me that the girlfriend wouldn’t show up for court, they never do, and it would waste the detectives time, my time, his time, the prosecutors time and so on and so on.

But I was nothing if not determined. I told the Captain this girl would show up, and she would take this case all the way and basically fought to get this case filed. He wasn’t the Captain for nothing, so he told me to go ahead and take it to the detectives and they’ll also tell me there was no case.  Maybe then I’d believe there was nothing here.

I guess I got lucky that day. I got detective to accept the case, as long as I did all the paper and leg work, and file the charges. I had a pretty sure bounce in my step when I walked back to the captain and told him the detectives were accepting the case and would file the charges. He, in all his sage wisdom, just sort of shook his head, and told me to go ahead and process the paperwork. I felt good.

I felt good because it was a good arrest and a pretty good piece of police work. I knew that 996 out of 1000 cops would have written it off as a domestic and let this guy walk. But not me, I was too much of a cop.

I followed up with the detectives and he had filed the charge with the prosecutor’s office. He had interviewed the “victim” and found her to be credible, but he did say he felt the case was week due to the former relationship.

Three months later I got a subpoena for a court appearance and met Toni outside the courtroom.  We sat there for over 4 hours and the case was never called. During the lunch recess I approached the prosecutor and asked him what was happening. That’s when I found out the “handling detective” had decided it was a weak case, advised the prosecutor to let Erik plead out to a misdemeanor assault, and drop the robbery charge. All without consulting me, or the victim.

I walked outside to tell Toni, I didn’t feel very good. Not good at all.

The next day found me in the detective watch commander’s office with the detective, my sergeant, and the detective’s lieutenant and they all wanted to know why I was making such a big deal. Was I banging her or what?

My response to that comment got me my first suspension for “insubordination”. Before it was over I told all of them; “You’ll see him again.”

When asked how I knew that the answer was easy; “He just beat the system. He thinks he’s bullet proof. He’ll do worse next time.”

Seven months later there has an atrocious crime committed in the middle of one of Honolulu’s favorite beaches.

A young man and his girl were sitting on the beach in the evening when they were attacked by three men. The young man was repeatedly beaten and stabbed. At one point the knife wielder put a finger in one of the 9 stab wounds and remarked he could fell the victim’s heartbeat.  After months in the hospital the young man “recovered”, but he had lost the hearing on one side, and was ruled totally blind for the rest of his life.

The three attackers took turns using the girl in every vile manner possible extending the assault to over 6 hours.

She was badly beaten but was able to identify one of the assailants. Of course, it was Erik. He gave up his partners quickly enough, and they all stood trial, were convicted and given really long sentences

Over the next 2 years I’d see Toni now and then. We even went to dinner a couple of times.

Then came the day when the attorney that had handled Erik’s defense was arrested for cocaine trafficking. The arrest was big news because it caused many of the attorney’s cases, convictions only, to be overturned and set for retrial due to “inadequate legal representation”. One of those he had “inadequately represented’ was Erik. Erik was released on bail pending retrial.

About 7 o’clock that night Toni called me from the airport. She was scared and was leaving Hawaii.

She never came back.

Gently Floating Motes

Jimmy Kimmel went to great lengths to make fun of the recent “Go Fund Me” drive for the southern wall. That little drive raised nearly twenty million dollars in less than 30 days. I wonder how much money Kimmel could raise for….well anything.

I always enjoyed Glen Campbell and his music. I can remember watching his television show and guest appearances. Recently I spent some time listening to his last CD “Ghost on the Canvas” and his Greatest Hits CD’s. He bravely fought his Alzheimer disease and continued performing as long as he could. His death in August of 2017 was the sad end of a great life. I can highly recommend both CD’s for any collection. Adios, Glen. Adios

You gotta wonder about some people and how the got their job. I recently watched a UPS driver make a delivery at my Hilo home. He parked behind my car in the driveway, walked up to the front gate, and threw the package over the gate into the yard where the dogs sat watching him. He stood right in front of the big sign that said “DOORBELL”, with the arrow pointing to the doorbell, and ignored it. Good thing it was only exterior alarm camera’s and nothing fragile.

One of the big holiday events around my house, is the quarterly doggy spa day. Boy do they look pretty.

Right now there seems to be some misconception that movie/recording star means really smart and knows about everything. We have Jim Carrey, a second rate comedian that hasn’t done anything worth watching in years and is now acting like a painter; Aylssa Milano, an actress with almost no credits as an adult except when acting as a witch; Robert Davi, (who ?) a delusional Sinatra wannabe; Samuel L. Jackson, better known for his language and not his talent;  and of course the ancient wise one CHER (always in caps). All of these people somehow have decided they are experts on everything and keep telling us we’re all going to Hell and it’s all Trumps fault, the white man’s fault, the rich man’s fault, and WE (but not they) need to pay our ” fair share” of taxes.                     My my my, how did they get soooo smart?

So glad to hear Tulsi Gabbard has announced her run for the president. Now she can do for the country what she has done for Hawaii ….I got nothing here.

And we have a final score: Jeep 4, Storyteller 3.                     It was a close game. I still lost.

Floating Dust Motes

Remember  Kathy Griffin, the comedian? I use the word comedian in a vague kind of way. Recently she was complaining there were no women included in the “Highest Paid Comedians” listing.  I’m going out on a limb here, but could it be that none of them were that funny?  Just sayin’.

Recently there were several news stories about an 11 year old boy who had performed, in drag, at a nightclub were the patrons, mostly male, threw money on the stage while he “performed”. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if that had been an pre-teen girl at a strip club? The way the reporters praised his performance, and the actual performance itself, is wrong on just so many levels.

Recently an Oklahoma grandfather defended his home and self against 3 young men wearing gloves, hoods, masks, and armed with brass knuckles and knives. The grandfather used an AR-15 to defend his home and self, and fatally shot all 3 invaders. And investigation showed the young men, and their female driver, were returning to where they had already stolen tools and electronics earlier that same day. These young men had no qualms about invading, stealing, and violating another persons home, and when caught paid the price for their actions. Now   the relatives are complaining that by using the AR, the grandfather did not “fight fair”. Yes, they are actually saying he didn ‘t fight fair. Oh, and the female driver is refusing to accept any responsibility for what happened. She “was only drivin’ the car”.

You can’t make this up.

How To Collect A Bill

I have mentioned that I have had several “careers”.

Among the jobs I’ve held, probably the least liked, by other people, was “Civil Process Agent”. Me, I enjoyed the hell out of it. As long as people sued and got divorces, there was work.

Right next to that was bill collector. I was good at both jobs, which probably says something about me as an individual.

Really, how many bill collectors get thank you cards from debtors? I did. Sometimes, I just got inventive.

HOW TO COLLECT A BILL

Paul Dugan, the best man at my wedding, worked for a heavy equipment sales and repair company. The company had a lot of outstanding bills due. They weren’t sure on how they wanted it done or maybe Paul was just throwing me some work. Yeah, whatever.

The bill was $6K, a small construction company that just kept putting the bill off. It was for work done, repairs to equipment. There had been no complaint about the materials or the work performed. They just weren’t paying.

Paul convinced this boss to give me a chance to collect, fee of 10% of what I collected. Collection agency’s usually charged 25 to 40% a deal.

The construction company was located in the Mapunapuna Industrial area, in an overhead office with stairs front and back. The office was basically 2 rooms, a receptionist’s small waiting room, and the bosses office took up the rest. There was a wall and door between the two rooms.

I studied the bill, made my plan, and then made several calls to them. Each time I got the equivalent to “the check is in the mail”. In other words, putting me off.

The target day arrived and I waited down the street and watched as the owner and receptionist arrived unlocked, and went inside. I waited a while, and then followed.

I was wearing a suit and tie, carrying a brief case, and looked business like and very professional.

I introduced myself to the receptionist handed her copies of the past due notices, the work invoices, and told her I needed to see her boss.

I knew he was there I had watched him enter and knew he hadn’t left.

Her response was as I expected, the boss wasn’t in and she didn’t know when he “would be in”. Now to put my plan into action.

I told her, “I’ll wait”. And I sat down, opened the briefcase, and took out a very thick book. I think it was Mitchner’s “Centennial”, several hundred pages thick. I opened it and started reading, with page number 1.

I sat there for several hours. I read, she answered the phone, and told the callers the boss wasn’t there. She couldn’t transfer any calls, because that would mean she’d lied to me.

Sensing she was close to breaking, I took a large lunch bag from the briefcase and began eating what appeared to be one of many sandwiches in the bag, I was right, this broke her.

She walked back to the interior doorway, and without knocking went in quickly closing the door. I couldn’t see what was inside, nor could I hear any voices. After all, the boss wasn’t in, right.

She came out, sat back down at her desk; I noticed she hadn’t brought any files back with her.

After 5-6 minutes the phone rang, she answered, and behold, it was the boss checking in.

She explained, over the phone, who I was, who I represented and what I wanted. They talked a few minutes and she indicated he wanted to talk to me.

Of course he didn’t understand what had happened and why we hadn’t received the check.

I was polite, understanding, even reminded him to cancel the prior check “in case the wrong people got it.”

He thanked me, I gave the phone back to the “receptionist” and he told her, loudly so I’d hear it that, she’d better find out what happened to the prior check and to issue me a new check for the full past-due amount. Which she did, and I thanked her, took my check and walked out. His car was still there.

Every time the subject would come up, Paul would brag about how I could collect more with a book and a lunch bag then most people could with a gun.

Of course, Paul’s company was sure I had done something “shady”, why else would they have paid so quickly. Could never convince them I hadn’t. Could never convince them to let me have any more accounts either.

By the way, I did finish the book, just not that day.

Sad Motes

Man, the older you get, the more names you know in the obit’s.

The world of pro wrestling is reeling from the loss of “Mean Gene” Gene Okerlund.  Okerlund was the type of ring side announcer I tried to be during my years with Polynesian Big Time Wrestling.

Okerlund, Gordon Solie ( D.2000) , and Jim Ross epitomized the professional wrestling in/out ring announcing and on screen interviewing. They brought class, style, and a wry sense of humor to the profession.,

In was while I was working for Lia Maivia that I met Rocky Johnson and his son Dwayne, better know now as “The Rock”. I was always grateful to her for giving me a chance to be the ring announcer, interviewer and television commentator for Hawaii professional wrestling.  I stood in the center of the ring and introduced the likes of Rick Flair, Kerry Von Erich, “Ripper” Collins, Don Muraco, Mr. Fuji, and of course  James “Lord Tally Ho” Blears. I got to associate and share a few beers with “Pretty Boy” Doug Summers, Lars Anderson,and many others. For the kid in my heart, this was a dream come true.

I was even recognized on the street as “the announcer guy” more than once. And this led to my being the trainer, announcer, and sometime wrestler with Honolulu’s only professional women’s jello wrestling team. But that’s another story.

So Gene has passed on to the big ringside table in the sky.

Aloha Brother, Aloha.

Aloha, New Year Motes

Wow, what a great New Year. Hilo was rocking the fireworks. It looked and sounded like a battlefield. Sure am glad those aerial fireworks are illegal.(snark) I had to put both dogs in the garage they were so shook up. I don’t much care for fireworks myself. If you want to shoot fireworks, light a 20 dollar bill on fire, and as it burns down shout  ” bang..boom…pow…bang”. Same waste of money, same effect, and you won’t disturb the neighbors.

Somethings get really crazy. Overheard at the KTA store, New Year’s Eve :                      “How much is the the sashimi  ?” ” $89.83 a pound.” (Yes, eighty nine dollars and eighty three cents a pound. For raw fish.) ) “Okay, let me have 5 pounds.” (Guy behind her grabs his chest and mimics a heart-attack.)

Just a thought; if they started a “Go-Fund-Me” for the Honolulu Rapid Transit Rail, how much would they raise?

It was sad to read of the passing of Ray Sawyer of “Dr. Hook and the Traveling Medicine Show”. Remind me to tell you about the 3 days I spent as their driver during a Crater Festival weekend. Well, I’ll tell you about as much of it as I remember, which ain’t much. He had a unique voice and style. I spent most of Sunday morning listening to the Greatest Hits cd while working in the yard.

Also saddened by the loss of “Sarge” from the “AHerdOfTurtles” blog site. I have enjoyed many chuckles and out right belly laughs at the stuff he came up with.  One of the major problems in our world today is the lack of laughter and the ability to make fun of ourselves. IMHO

As always, I hope everyone had a happy safe holiday. I’ll pick up from where I left off last year. Enjoy. And a as mentioned before, leave a comment if you wish. Hate mail will be disposed of, threats will be handled personally, and e-mails will be answered.