Thursday, February 20, 2014

CNN Reporting on Michelle O'Connell Shooting Case; Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR Gives Interview -- the Whole World is Watching -- Justice for Michelle O'Connell -- NOW.

It started with two gunshots and a dead woman on Sherlock Place in southern St. Johns County, on the night of September 2, 2010. Ear-witnesses heard an argument, a scream, a shot, more argument, another scream, another shot, and silence.
Michelle O'Connell, Deputy JEREMY BANKS' girlfriend, was dead, shot by his semi-automatic pistol, issued by the Sheriff's Department. BANKS said it was a suicide. The Sheriff's Department says it believed him, conducting an incompetent investigation, at best.
More than three years later, the truth was finally fully revealed by The New York Times' 14,000 word report, "Two Gunshots on A Summer Evening," by Walt Bogdanich & Glenn Silber (New York Times, November 24, 2013), and "A Death in St. Augustine" PBS Frontline, November 26, 2013.
The whole world watched St. Johns County and Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR. The world watched SHOAR say, "Give these two guys a hand," coercing some 500 deputies no to believe it was a homicide. The whole world watched SHOAR slink away from a New York Times photographer, his copy of the New York Times under his arm.
Yesterday, four score and seven days after the Times story, embattled Sheriff DAVID B. SHOAR finally sat for a TV interview, with Cable News Network (CNN). Only yesterday.
See this morning's St. Augustine Record banner headline.
After 87 days of inculpatory silence and building community outrage here at coverups, it was time for SHOAR to talk.
Perhaps Sheriff SHOAR (and his brother-in-law Public Information Officer Commander CHARLES MILLIGAN) suddenly felt like talking on national TV.
Or, more likely, one of those dodgy, tree-killing, swamp-filling real estate developers -- for whom SHOAR and his political machine are shills -- said something.
One can just imagine one of them saying, "David, we've got a problem. This is what you're going to do."
Perhaps one of those dodgy developers commissioned secret public opinion polls, learning what we all know -- no one in St. Johns County believes Michelle O'Connell committed suicide.
It is beyond cavil: Sheriff DAVID SHOAR presided over a coverup. Rather than conclude that he should have recused himself, SHOAR told the St. Augustine Record he should have been at the putative suicide scene that night. He ignores his blatant conflict of interest. The Police Chiefs of both St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach would have recused heir entire departments under smilar facts. So would former Sheriff NEIL PERRY. Someone needs to ask SHOAR, "Why didn't you recuse yourself?"
As United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis said, "when government becomes a lawbreaker," it "promotes anarchy and disrespect for the law."
That is what St. Johns County faces: a Sheriff who reckons he is above the law.
Is he?
Is there justice for anyone victimized by the St. Johns County political machine?
How many victims are there here?
Who do we see about that?
There is so much for Sheriff SHOAR to answer for -- and CNN has the perspicacity and people to tell the many stories.
People should feel comfortable sharing their truths with CNN, knowing that CNN has the resources (like the Times and PBS) to do justice to the Michelle O'Connell story.
Two decades ago, I saw first-hand how CNN's high-quality work helped transform and transmogrify another corrupt Southern community (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) that had long been bossed by bullies (Lockheed Martin and the United States Department of Energy).
I fondly remember CNN's magnificient, detailed investigative coverage of those two powerful bullies and their attacks on an ethical physician, Dr. William K. Reid, M.D. in Oak Ridge, Tennessee for asking questions about environmental health problems caused by nuclear weapons plants' heavy metals and other toxicants.
CNN aired a two part, twenty minute investigative special by investigative reporter David Lewis and producer Steve Singer, "Poisoned Atmosphere," airing six times daily on February 21 & 22, 1993.
CNN interviewed sick Oak Ridge nuclear plant workers, including my clients, about illnesses apparently caused by nuclear weapons plant workplace and community exposures. CNN established beyond peradventure how the contractor, Martin Marietta, caused the retaliation against Dr. Reid.
The ensuing years of environmental justice activism helped:
(a) change federal laws on nuclear weapons plants,
(b) disburse billions of dollars in workers' compensation payments and health benefits to sick nuclear workers, and
(c) persuade the Department of Energy to oust the world's largest arms merchant, Lockheed Martin, from its 15-year monopoly codlock on contracts to run five nuclear weapons plants in three states with 20,000 employees.
CNN's "Poisoned Atmosphere" investigative story helped empower nuclear workers nationwide.
CNN's investigation helped give the Department of Energy both spinal and testicular implants.
It ultimately led to a public apology to sick workers (but not Dr. Reid or whistleblowers) by the Secretary of Energy, William Richardson (but not by President Clinton, who had apologized for Bosnia, Rwanda and slavery).
I first reported on Oak Ridge, Tennessee nuclear plant pollution for the Appalachian Observer in 1981 and won DOE delcassification of the world's largest mercury pollution event in 1983 (4.2 million pounds), and later represented whistleblowers after I graduated law school and finished my judicial clerkships at the Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C..
Then, CNN's "Poisoned Atmosphere" story in 1993 helped make all the difference.
Soon the Nashville Tennessean was on the case, reporting on the toxicants and the victims.
Thus, I look forward to CNN's continuing coverage of the Michelle O'Connell case, related corruption in St. Johns County, and the investigation of our Sheriff DAVID SHOAR.
In the words of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill in 1937,"We are entering an era of consequences."
The whole world is watching.
Justice for Michele O'Connell.
NOW.

2 comments:

peg said...

THANK YOU, CNN, WALT BOGDANICH, NY TIMES, YOU HAVE BROUGHT ATTENTION TO THE CASE OF MICHELLE O'CONNELL, SHE WAS A YOUNG MOM, LOVING, AND FULL OF LIFE, ONLY PROBLEM, JEREMY BANKS.
AND SHERIFF SHOAR AND THE COVER UP OF HER DEATH. PLEASE KEEP IN YOUR HEARTS, THE YOUNG DAUGHTER, ALEXIS, WHO LOST HER MOM. THIS CASE NEEDS ATTENTION AND JUSTICE.

Patty Oconnell said...

Justice is coming, thank you FDLE, Behind the Blue Wall, Glenn Silber, Walt Bogdanich, Ed Slavin, Jason Carroll and there will be more who will share the truth and Justice For All, not just for the people who Sheriff Shoar wants justice for