Before it was over, my girlfriend and I found that the police were no longer our allies, but our enemies.
Murder and a Police Cover-Up
In doing broadcast news I've generally found police to be helpful and professional, but this is a case where some clearly weren't.
I was doing documentary work for a TV station in the South a number of years back when the murder of a young black man came to my attention.
The whole thing came to light when (as they say in the crime world) "an informant" contacted me. Five things subsequently became evident.
1. The man, who was being pursued by state police, was
forced off of major freeway onto a remote dirt road and shot while he
was still in his car.
2. The young man involved -- a respected and well educated
black man with no criminal record -- had reportedly discovered information linking
some police officers to drug trafficking. (The area was a major corridor for
drugs.) Evidence suggested that the police involved were trying to make sure what
he knew wasn't discovered by the media.
3. Unlike other autopsy reports, all related information
subsequently (depending who you talked to) either disappeared or "wasn't
available." It was then reported that the body disappeared from
the facility that had done the autopsy. Thus, ballistic evidence was not
4. When the man discovered that the police were
after him, he got in his car and tried to escape to another state beyond the
jurisdiction of the state police where he lived. He almost made it; they caught up with
him not too far from the border of the next state.
We found two people who supposedly knew what the murdered man knew but,
after they found out what happened to him, they wouldn't talk to anyone.
In trying to gather information, we tried to talk to the police. We found them "professionally pleasant" but unable or unwilling to provide useful information.
In the process of attempting to do our research, some things started happening. And here, frankly, it's hard to separate reality from ensuing paranoia.
First, it seemed that wherever I went to try to get information there was an unmarked car following me. Given what had already happened, I didn't want my girlfriend to come along.
It was well known that we were working on this story together.
Even so, my girlfriend reported that while she was out someone went through her apartment. (Possibly they went through mine too, but unlike hers, my was so messy, it was hard to tell!)
The documentary aired.
No arrests were ever made.
Beyond this, we learned one rather scary thing from this.
You get a very lonely feeling when you've broken no laws, but the people who most threaten you are the very people who are supposed to protect you.
Plus, with people getting into your apartment and possibly planting
incriminating evidence, it's clear that you and a loved one
could conceivably be arrested and jailed as criminals.
The latter wasn't as far-fetched as it might
In the back of our minds was the case of a reporter for a newspaper in the same state who a few years earlier had clearly been "set up" and then jailed for several years -- effectively stopping him from doing further research on a story involving local corruption.
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