Black convicts free after 30 years: five questions racist cops must answer

brown and mccollum
Leon Brown and Henry McCollum

Henry McCollum, North Carolina’s longest-serving death row inmate, and his half-brother Leon Brown were released after more than 30 years in prison on Tuesday after DNA tests proved their innocence of rape and murder. The exoneration followed dogged investigations by the two men’s lawyers and by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, an independent body that operates with the full statutory powers of the state.

The exoneration and release of the two men now puts the spotlight on the police department in Red Springs, North Carolina, that carried out the initial investigation leading to the 1984 convictions of the then teenagers and their subsequent languishing behind bars.

Here are five questions the police authorities in Red Springs now have to answer:

1. Why did the Red Springs police department consistently deny that it had any evidence in its possession relevant to the murder convictions of McCollum and Brown? Only last month the commission found a box full of physical evidence being held by the police that had been in the department’s possession since the early 1990s.

2. Why did the Red Springs police department consistently fail to disclose to lawyers for the two men or to the local district attorney’s office that detectives had requested a potentially critical fingerprint test just days before the 1984 McCollum-Brown trial? The test would have compared the print found on a beer can at the crime scene with the fingerprints of Roscoe Artis, a convicted sex offender and murderer who lived just feet away from the field in which the body of the victim, Sabrina Buie, was found. Neither the request for the test, nor the fact that it was cancelled a year later before being completed, was ever disclosed.

3. Why was the crime scene investigator, who knew all the details of the crime scene as well as key findings from the autopsy of the victim, involved in the interrogation of McCollum, thus risking that his “confession” would be contaminated?

4. Why did detectives write out confessions for both Brown, then 15, and McCollum, then 19, and ask them to sign the statements? Why did they do so knowing that the confessions were incriminating, that the boys were both intellectually disabled and that they were being interrogated in the absence of any legal representation?

5. Why did the police continue to pursue McCollum and Brown knowing that key elements of their confessions were inconsistent with each other? In their “confessions” the two boys incriminated three other youths as accomplices, and yet when the police investigated those three individuals they found they had watertight alibis and were never prosecuted?

Incompetent racist creeps! And you can extend that subtle description all the way up to the Supreme Court and scumbags like Anthony Scalia.

Take a wander through this companion article at slate.com – the second half of the article focuses in on Scalia’s Old Testament ideology. He actually advocates that if someone [by his low-life standards] receives a fair trial, they should be executed even if innocent!

Thanks, Mike

BP ruled “grossly negligent” in Gulf oil spill

BP Plc was “grossly negligent” for its role in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, a U.S. district judge said on Thursday in a ruling that could add billions of dollars in fines to the more than $42 billion in charges taken so far for the worst offshore disaster in U.S. history…

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans held a trial without a jury last year to determine who was responsible for the April 20, 2010 environmental disaster. Barbier ruled that BP was mostly at fault and that two other companies in the case, Transocean Ltd and Halliburton, were not as much to blame.

“The Court concludes that the discharge of oil ‘was the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct’ by BP, the ruling said.

BP said it would appeal the ruling…blah, blah, blah…

BP has already been forced to shrink by selling assets to pay for the cleanup. Those sales erased about a fifth of its earning power…

Barbier has yet to assign damages from the spill under the federal Clean Water Act. A gross negligence verdict carries a potential fine of $4,300 per barrel fine.

BP says some 3.26 million barrels leaked from the well and the U.S government says 4.9 million barrels spilled. The statutory limit on a simple “negligence” is $1,100 per barrel…

Even after the Clean Water Act fines are set, BP may face other bills from a lengthy Natural Resources Damage Assessment, which could require BP to carry out or fund environmental restoration work in the Gulf, and other claims.

They deserve to pay every penny of fine, every dollar of public compensation, every billion of responsibility owed the environment of the Gulf of Mexico.

Surface Mining At Ground Zero

trinity2

Wind-blown sand still uncovers sun-bleached bones of men and mules dead for centuries along New Mexico’s Jornado del Muerte, the waterless hell where Spaniards died traveling between Santa Fe and Chihuahua. Few large areas in the United States can match its barren, flat desolation.

Near the center of this vast expanse lies man’s first great insult against the earth – – Trinity Site.

Ground Zero, where a massive steel tower holding the first atomic bomb was vaporized at 5:29 a.m., July 16, 1945, was a slight depression in the silent flatness. For a radius of more than 100 feet melted sand in the form of green glass covered the desert like a splotchy carpet shining in the light from above, dull by night, bright by day. This monument to man’s inhumanity to man, the largest blur on the landscape, was surrounded by a high fence, tight strands of barbed wire, a locked double gate and multilingual warning signs.

The gate was chained shut. Three padlocks served as links in the chain in 1951, any one of which permitted entry when unlocked. A large steel lock was stamped AEC, for the Atomic Energy Commission. A heavy brass padlock was stamped War Dept. The third padlock, a new one hardly larger than the links it secured, replaced one of these links recently melted in two by Jesse Petty’s gas torch. Jesse, my best friend and fellow draftee army buddy, from Carrizozo, New Mexico, had snapped the chain back together wit the little lock during his trip to the site.

Jesse had volunteered, I’ll go out there and cut the chain for you and put on a new padlock, but I won’t go in there, not for anything,”

He had given me the keys when we each returned to Guided Missile School at Ft. Bliss, Texas, from our weekend trips to different home cities.

My plan was to drive a truck to the Trinity atomic bomb site, use my keys to pass through the unguarded US Government gate remove the radioactive glass called Trinitite and transport it close to Los Alamos for a proper burial at its spiritual origin…

…While living in the remote desert of northern New Mexico I had seen an aerial photograph of the radioactive site in a popular magazine. It looked like a giant scab. It was an impurity waiting to be taken away. Writers wrote about it. I was determined to remove it without a trace of publicity. My self-appointed task was to gain entry to the government glass and haul it off for burial, to repair the desert, clean away this radioactive afterbirth.

And so it goes. I’ve never heard this story before. Our online compadre, Mike, just suggested it. I read it – and it is fascinating.

When I was still on the road I’d drive by Trinity site every week or so and think about getting in on the annual visit. Always figured my years of pissing off the FBI, CIA, every piece of alphabetized fascist crap-mentality in government would probably get me arrested and thrown out. Never have visited.

Dr. Pray’s story is fascinating. The Feds let on that the Trinitite, the atomic glass burned from molten sand at that first test site disappeared over years of tourists taking souvenirs. Ralph Pray’s story makes a lot more sense.

He died May 30, 2014.

Thanks, Mike