EDGAR CO. (ECWd) -
It's becoming ever so clear there is a person or group of people within the Sheriff's office that will stoop to any level possible in order to influence the upcoming election. Levels that include lies, fabrications, and outright forgery.
Every resident in this county received their free edition of the Prairie Press today and on the front page was an article about a Special Prosecutor being tapped.
What I found so interesting is the information we have paints a different picture than what was reported. Is this another case of those trying to cast dispersions on the Sheriff by telling the press part of the story, thus the whole story isn't reported?
I received a phone call last month from a distraught mother who had received an "anonymous" letter in the mail claiming her son had been beaten by a jailer and that Sheriff Ed Motley was trying to cover it up.
Most will recall the last "anonymous" letter writing campaign in this county that we covered. The entire letter had a clear intent of doing nothing but casting negative light on the Sheriff with a laundry list of false claims. (Click here for that article)
What makes this second "anonymous" letter so interesting is several factors.
- The person who sent it knew about a jailer beating up an inmate.
- They claimed the sheriff was trying to cover it up
- They wanted the state police called
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- Is this letter an acknowledgement of wrongdoing by the jailer?
- Is the person who sent this letter a witness to a crime?
- Have they themselves called the state police to inform them of what he knows about the beating?
- Did he call the state police to inform them that the Sheriff was supposedly covering it up?
- Is it an employee of the Sheriff Department that is bound by law to report these types of incidences?
It will be telling to find out who sent this letter, and based on the last anonymous letter, it is clear it is from someone within the Sheriff's office who has an axe to grind. Surely Dee Burgin didn't have anything to do with this did he? Let's not forget he was caught lying on a police report, found guilty of violating a woman's civil rights, and has such an axe to grind he has spent a small fortune on signs campaigning against his current boss. Prints from the letter might be quite telling!
After receiving the phone call about the above letter I assured the mother I would find out if anything is being covered up since it's not hard to determine if an investigation is going on, which if it was it would mean no coverup as claimed by the letter.
The first thing I did was file a Freedom of Information request for a copy of the Video overlooking the jail cell for August 8th, 2014 between 2pm and 2am August 9th, 2014. That would be from the cameras the current sheriff had installed so that no cover up could take place like it did with the last sheriff.
I informed the mother that if there was any truth to the letter as it relates to a cover up, the response to the FOIA will tell us what we need to know. I assured her I had a hard time believing there was any coverup by this Sheriff, but if there was we would expose it.
Many have forgotten about the two convicted jailers under the past administration. Although they were in fact convicted, it wasn't because of any efforts by the past sheriff and considering there were no cameras in the jail it made it easy to abuse people's rights. Camera installation was one of the key improvements Sheriff Motley put in place after taking office to ensure full and transparent access to what goes on in the County Jail.
I received a response to my FOIA and was informed the video could not be provided at this time because it was part of an active investigation. I also received a phone call from the Sheriff who was curious as to how I found out about the incident that was in fact under investigation. I informed him of the call we received and the anonymous letter referenced above. The letter is being turned over as it may well play a key role on other potential crimes.
The mother of the inmate contacted me about a week after the initial call and informed me that the investigation had been completed according to Chief Deputy Metcalf and forwarded to the State's Attorney for a decision on prosecution.
As pointed out in today's paper, Mark Isaf, Edgar County State's Attorney, has recused himself and asked the court for an Appellate Prosecutor, who in fact did assign them to this case.
It does make you wonder why Mr. Isaf recused himself in this case, but more interesting to me is the fact he asked for an appellate prosecutor - something many people in this county felt should have been done regarding the sale of Ready Mix to the county by Chris Patrick, former County Board Chairman and owner of Zimmerly Ready Mix. Considering the close relationship in that case, one would have thought the same effort to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest or undo influence would have been taken then.
The jailer in question in this case is Jamy Sanders. I found it odd that there was no mention of his name anywhere in the coverage in the Prairie Press but there was full coverage of each and every past action by the inmate who made the complaint. Nor was there any mention that the jailer in question was not on duty but was in fact called by his wife who was the jailer on duty. Supposedly she contacted her husband to come in and deal with the problem of the food tray being thrown on the floor.
It has been rumored that the union will not be defending the jailer however at this time we have not been able to get confirmation of that from the Fraternal Order of Police union officials. When we get any verification either way we will report on it.
County Board member Mike Helstley has made insinuations that the Sheriff was covering up this event which means he knew about the event. If he knew enough about the incident to claim the Sheriff was covering something up why didn't he call the State Police?
Helstley actually attempted to insinuate that Sheriff Motley is doing the same thing that Crippes did with the two convicted jailers. Finally, a county board member that agrees that Crippes was covering up crimes!
Clearly, Mr. Helstely has not read the Dignity Articles we ran on this problem. On one hand we have a current Sheriff that installed cameras that offer protection to both the corrections officers and the inmates from false accusations and on the other an active, well documented coverup, and he thinks that is the same thing? Click on each of the 5 articles to get a grasp of how bad it really was with the past Sheriff. I, II, III, IV, V.
The record is clear once again. The coward writing the letter has again fabricated information with what appears to be nothing more than another attempt of casting dispersions on Sheriff Motley.
Will this lead to yet another law suit against the county that may well have been prevented had the county boards, past and present, done their job and listened to the Sheriff who has been pleading for more corrections officers? How many more deficiency reports from the State Department of Corrections will it take for them to wake up? Will this end up being the broken straw that leads to the jail having to be shut down?
At some point people are going to wake up, however, I am afraid it's going to be to little to late. Too few public officials understand the importance of compliance with all the laws, not just select ones they want to comply with. Failure to recognize that will continue to keep this county under the thumb of law suits for years to come, and it's We The People who will end up paying for it all!
Wake up people!