Friday, November 17, 2017

Good Cop, Bad Cops, Part 6

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
(Disclaimer: The proprietor of this blog and Mr. Wilson have an ongoing years-long friendship, in which the former has benefited on several occasions by the generosity of the latter. However, that in no way, shape or form has influenced the blog owner’s decision to post a series of articles about his case nor the content of what is written below.)
Part Five

(Editor's note: During the course of this series about Trooper Antone Wilson's ordeal, I've relied heavily on his summarization of events, supplementing my narrative with not just my own twist but also some independent research. However, in wrapping up this series, I've decided to let Mr. Wilson have the final say on his own case, with some light editing and the placing of linkage by me.)

How did it come to this? When this twisted narrative began nearly 17 years ago, I had no idea it would consume my middle-age. I innately understood there might be reverberations. Any conflict between police agencies has the potential to metastasize but I couldn't fathom this result. I knew that I couldn't forward an initial complaint because my statement would bring about a point-by-point rebuttal that would shift all responsibility to me. More importantly I knew my "brothers" on the Massachusetts State Police would then use the counter-complaint as a basis for a disciplinary action. No, I had to suck it up and drive on. It really wasn't that big a deal.
     When the complaint against me was forwarded, I was surprised but, I suspected, that the Franklin Police would feel a need to get a preemptive counter-narrative on the record in anticipation of my complaint. What I didn't expect was three reports so poorly-written, disjointed and contradictory. No report agreed with an other report on any point of contention. When the state police internal affairs officers tried to imply, insultingly, that these fabricated narratives would be used to support disciplinary charges my response was outrage and disbelief. The reports and the officers' subsequent statements, if anything, implied that I was the victim. What troubled me the most as that my initial instincts were correct. I could not trust "my guys" to support me; and I thought knew why.  
     What I subsequently endured is referred to officially as a "malicious prosecution" though "railroaded" is a term more commonly used and understood. As the legal process progressed over the next few years,-that's right, years- I felt as if I was a passenger on a runaway train and I had no ability to stop, slow or get off the damned thing. The process is very formal and seemingly official but also very contrived. The Massachusetts State Police disciplinary procedure has been called a kangaroo court but to me it was more like Kabuki Theater. Of course, it didn't help that my appointed attorneys were working against me because of an egregious conflict of interest. I later reported that the hearing felt like a Harlem Globetrotters game. The fix was in and I was the Washington Generals.
     Being called to active duty almost immediately thereafter slowed my ability to get recourse. I  understood the implications of the case, a sloppy, ill-conceived conspiracy and cover-up that threatened to take down scores of affiliated police officials, attorneys and investigators. When I returned from active duty, approximately six years later, I made it clear that I intended to follow-up where I left off. The state police response was a refusal to reinstate me. I had enough time on the books to "retire", involuntarily, assuring a pension and medical benefits. Not satisfied to ride off into the sunset, I got a lawyer and readied for phase three. See you in court.
    Knowing what I knew and fully understanding the brotherhood of legal professionals, I suspected my attorney would try to spike this case as the others did. I tried to stay on top of things, when he'd take my calls, and assumed that, as long as I got no notice of case dismissal from the court, I was in good standing. If you, patient reader, have been following this case, you know how that phase ultimately turned out.
     When I contacted our intrepid blogger a few years back, I asked for his assistance in publicizing this twisted story. I had contacted the local press, spoon-feeding them case particulars and providing elaborate supporting documentation, and was twice rebuffed. I was confused. Despite my own training as a journalist (I subsequently changed my major to Criminal Justice), did I have a disjointed understanding of newsworthiness because I was personally involved in the tale? Flannigan quickly grasped the particulars of the narrative and determined that the case wasn't just newsworthy, it was "radioactive", so hot that the mainstream media in the interconnected world of Bay State "elites" would not touch it.
     He did not immediately get involved because he was wary of crossing the line from social commentary to investigative reporting. When he did finally decide to publish he insisted that he preface all posts with the caveat that I had provided him with financial contributions in the past. Indeed I had. From the time I first read his blog posts I couldn't understand how such a talented writer could produce such quality in relative obscurity. I believed, and I've told him so, that his talent is, at a minimum, equal to Lee "Rude Pundit" Papa and Esquire's Charlie Pierce. What I found fascinating, however, was that citizen bloggers hold themselves to an implied standard with an ethical bearing greater than every police official and attorney I've encountered in conjunction with this case. 
     One other thing; we have not examined a critical part of the case, the why- Because of blogger's ethic. Significantly it is the most fascinating, twisted and titillating part of the case. At the outset, Flannigan told me that "...a good looking woman is behind or in front of every scandal". My case is no exception. The glaring question that any reader should ask is, "...why did they go so hard after this guy?".
     I believe it was my support for a colleague, a female Trooper, who brought a sexual harassment complaint to court against a respected state police supervisor. That case was filed before my run-in with the Franklin Police. The facts surrounding that side story won't be examined and they don't really affect the overall narrative. But tellingly, Flannigan would not go with any part of the story that he could not verify from the source. I tried to contact her (she has since retired), but I suspect she does not want to relive a such a painful period. We didn't press her for a response and the decision was made to work around it. It is also the juiciest part of a very juicy story. Hopefully it will eventually be disclosed.(Editor's note: Sexual harassment and discrimination within the clannish Massachusetts State Police is a more endemic and systemic problem than most realize.)
     Since my "retirement", I've worked as a private security contractor, an Emergency Medical Technician and served several tours on active military (Army) duty. In 2016 I did a year-long deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a Military Policeman. I recently completed an extended tour as a Drill Sergeant, at Fort Benning, Georgia. Thank heavens for the Army. It has helped keep me grounded. I've argued that I have no debilitating psychological effect from this case but I there is residual. I find it intolerable that I have been dishonored by so many dishonorable men. Nevertheless, I understand that most of the affiliated elements are merely forced into cover-up mode after compromising themselves so thoroughly. Tell one lie and you are forced to pile deception upon deception to maintain it. Right? Mama wasn't wrong.
     As this goes to cyberspace the Massachusetts State Police are again involved in a major scandal that involves police officials, attorneys and judges. As in my case, the Colonel-Superintendent and his deputy were forced to resign. A sitting judge figures prominently in this case, as in mine, and I suspect  more "retirements" are on the way. As I no longer reside in Massachusetts, Flannigan is my eyes and ears back home. He reports that the case, despite its gravity, did  not initially get the spotlight that one might expect for a major scandal. As I suspected, the local media is wary of digging too deeply when the criminal justice system is being scrutinized. Still, they are reporting something and I think I know why.
     Most stories don't get any traction until a dedicated attorney introduces it into the legal system. At that point the complainant has a credible spokesperson and case particulars have an "air of legitimacy". Additionally, it is now a public record. The Troopers exposing the current scandal are strongly supported by the union. The union worked against me at every juncture. My case is predicated on gross legal misconduct so I've had difficulty getting a dedicated attorney who will take on and expose an inbred legal community. No lawyer, no press! Since the media wouldn't bite Flannigan took it upon himself to make the story go viral; "...if the fourth estate won't push it, we'll try the fifth estate". 
     As the news media becomes increasingly co-opted and irrelevant, the blogosphere is, thankfully, stepping up to fill the gap. The goal then is a reversal of the typical procedure. Get the story out and with publication and circulation we can get an attorney or legal assistance organization to represent us. What we need is an aggressive muckraker to get off their ass and knock on some doors and an attorney with the persistence of an ambulance chaser. What they'll find is a story that is very atypical. It is not merely about sexual harassment or even gender and racial discrimination. Members of the Minority Trooper's association were instrumental in maintaining this cover-up. No, this case is much more complex and nuanced. But, for all its phases and plot twists it is, at heart, a wrongful termination of an Army Reservist whose mobilization was used against him in furtherance of a conspiracy and cover-up. Thank you for your service, indeed. Our goal, then, is to get the story out and then let a case develop from there and, hopefully, legal resolution. 
     Sunshine is, indeed, the best disinfectant.

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