- Pt. I😕 You?d think there?d be drugs involve in a drug raid?
- Pt. II: Trooper lied; the Dispatch denies
- Pt. III: Former Patrol leader mislead the Senate Committee about prior Patrol/KKK photo flap.
Reginald Fields’ story in today’s Plain Dealer?is the first real newsstory that puts the so-called “Troopergate” political mess into perspective.? The entire thing is just a trumped up scandal motivated by politics.
It all stems from Governor Strickland’s efforts to bring a wayward Ohio Highway Patrol back into line.
You’d be hard pressed to make a case that the patrol was adequately policing itself as it acted almost autonomously from any administrative supervision.? Just a review of the Inspector General’s reports over Governor Strickland’s term finds that the Patrol was investigated for wrongdoing in?many of the investigations done by the Inspector General, who is ex-Patrol, and whose wife and son are presented in the Patrol as well. (In fact, most of the Inspector General’s Office is former Highway Patrol employees.? It would be easier to list those NOT formally with the Patrol than list all who are.)
I mean, you had the incident of the on-duty, uniformed trooper dressing up like a Klansman and poses for photographs taken by another trooper at a Highway Patrol post:
You’ve got the investigation that led to the prior Superintendent of the Patrol to be investigated by the Ohio Ethics Commission.
Then there was the off-duty trooper and Gahanna police officer who were pulled over doing over 145 m.p.h., but not given a ticket for days later–and only after the highest levels of the Patrol intervened.? (The Patrol’s enforcement effort at the time resulted in over 100 tickets being issued, even though none approached the speeds of these officers who were intitially just given a warning.)
After joking about going to the academy together, the officer then turned the audio off and lets his fellow trooper a warning:
The officers were only cited for speeding, a minor misdemeanor traffic offense, instead of street racing, a misdemeanor in the first degree.? (Or at least a minor misdemeanor reckless operation charge that could lead to the officer’s license being suspended.)
Yep, the Inspector General even had to investigate the Patrol for widespread cheating on annual tests to certify the troopers to use handheld breathalyzer machines.
After decades of being treated like an autonomous empire and despite these (and other) incidents, the Patrol struggled with the concept that it needed outside supervision from the agency they are under– the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
In addition, the PD is also the first to report that a second situation that has been the subject of rampant speculation by the Columbus Dispatch‘s Randy Ludlow– the allegation that Kent Markus (the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel)– attempted to interfere with a criminal investigation was actually an investigation that was started at the demand of Markus:
Strickland’s office grew suspicious of Anchor in June 2008 after labor lawyer N. Victor Goodman placed about a half-dozen phones calls to Kent Markus, Strickland’s chief legal counsel. Goodman was concerned about the possibility of illegal immigrants working on the project, and he raised concerns that Anchor wasn’t paying workers prevailing wages.
The Ohio Department of Commerce, which handles labor issues, launched an investigation and eventually asked the Highway Patrol for help.
In other words, the Patrol (and Jon Keeling (R-VA)) is accusing Kent Marcus in trying to stop an investigation Kent Markus called for!? (Again, how does Randy Ludlow explain to his editors being scooper YET AGAIN on information that was already in his possession??)
For this and other reasons, I’ve been told by sources close to the investigation that the Inspector General may issue his report sometime this month.? The expectation is that Charles will continue his history of writing reports with a pro-Patrol bias.? However, I’ve been informed that the Franklin Prosecutor’s Office has made it perfectly clear that it finds no criminal case to be had here.
Those on the right hoping to turn a non-criminal tobacco sting and a jurisdictional question on a search warrant into a criminal case that will last through November will be sorely disappointed.