Today, the Ohio Department of Public Safety released a report that demonstrates how the Inspector General ignored evidence and misrepresented others in Thomas Charles attempt to allege, without evidence and despite clear evidence to the contrary, that the tobacco sting at the Governor’s Mansion was scaled back due to political considerations.
The report is like a greatest hits of the criticism of the report, but also includes new points that haven’t been addressed.? The report breaks out the response into three areas: The misrepresentated evidence, the ignored evidence, and the evidence of a predetermined outcome.
The Misrepresented Evidence
- “The Case of the Missing Statute“-? The ODPS points out that the “Case of the Missing Statute” is important because Thomas Charles has suggested to the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Collins-Taylor “lied” about her role in the decision because she lacked legal authority to cancel the operation.? The ODPS points out, as have I, that Ohio statute actually very specifically lists approving and authorizing investigation as her specific statutory duties.
- Collins-Taylor was accused, specifically, of lying under oath because Charles alleged that she claimed that her use of the term “boss” in an e-mail didn’t mean Gov. Strickland, even though the actual interview transcript showed that Collins-Taylor, did, in fact, acknowledge that the term meant the Governor.? The Inspector General has since left out this allegation in subsequent press releases and interviews.
- The Inspector General alleged that a “knock and talk” in contraband conveyance cases was “unprecedented.”? As first reported right here (over a month before the I.G.’s report on the exact same charge), the Inspector General is wrong.? The same OIC office of the Patrol conducted? “knock and talks” twice just last year in response to contraband conveyance investigations.
In fact, the ODPS notes that “knock and talks” are routinely used in investigations regarding threats to the physical safety of the Governor.? Not only is “knock and talk” so commonplace that it is law enforcement parlance, but there was actually an entire section on form used by the Patrol? to create an operation plan, such as the sting, that involves an actual “checklist” regarding “knock and talk.”? It’s not only a police term, it’s on their bureaucratic forms that they used to document their plan for this raid.
- The Inspector General mocked Col. Dicken for saying that the operation plan to conduct the raid was “reckless” and Lt. Manion (head of the Governor’s protection detail) for saying the plan presented a “grave danger to the Governor.”? (The quotation marks were used in the Inspector General’s report.)? The ODPS mocked the Inspector General because neither of those officers actually said those words anywhere during their extensive interviews by the I.G.
The Missing Evidence
- The ODPS points out that considerable evidence (witness testimony and considerable, evidence that the Inspector General just flat out ignored, shows that the decision was not even made by Cathy Collins-Taylor, but Highway Patrol Col. David Dicken.
- Like the Fraternal Order of Police, the ODPS points out countless e-mails that Charles’ other basis for alleging that Collins-Taylor lied under oath–that the decision was made Friday– actually contradict the Inspector General.? In fact, the report notes that the full text of Cathy Collins-Taylor’s email, the evidence cited as definitively proving that the decision was made on Friday, actually makes it clear that a decision had not be made.? The I.G. has also failed to explain how this debate over whether it was made Friday night or Saturday morning is even a material issue.? (Lawyer speak ‘who cares?’)
- The Inspector General called concerns about the possibility that the operation was scaled back because the contraband was likely tobacco as being a “smokescreen.”? However, ODPS notes that both the current and former head of the state prison systems called the Patrol, before the sting, and informed the officers and officials involved that this item was likely tobacco, and not drugs.? Therefore, there was considerable debate as to whether the Patrol was even investigating a crime at all.
The predetermined outcome
The report notes that the investigators in their questioning was not probative, but instead asking leading questions seeking to confirm predetermined conclusions and becoming hostile when witnesses testified in a manner that did not conform to that outcome
What’s remarkable is that the report notes that the Inspector General’s made his most sensational conclusions despite no witness testifying as such.? No person who actually spoke with the Director believed that she had made the decision to scale back the sting.? The Inspector General has yet to issue a single citation to any interview of any person who talked with the Director who supports his claim.
The ODPS tears the Inspector General for ignoring the issue of tobacco.? As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the ODPS points out that ironically, despite being accused of obstruction by the I.G., the I.G. refused to provide public records regarding his investigation to the agency, but then made them available to the media.
The ODPS also notes that Lt. Henderson and (Ret.) Maj. Booker, who were interviewed by the Inspector General before they testified to the Senate Committee did not testify under oath privately to the Inspector General with the same level of confidence that they conveyed to the State Senate when they testified, under oath, that there was “no doubt” that the alleged contraband would be drugs.? In their interviews with the I.G., Henderson and Booker told investigators that they had never heard the term “six pack” before, let alone was aware of any incident in when that term was used as drugs.? Either they committed perjury with the Inspector General or the State Senate.? Either way, one of the fundamental questions they need to address if they do, in fact, testify during the confirmation hearing is why they felt the need to express a higher level of confidence that the item was drugs in a public hearing that they knew would garner media coverage when privately had already acknoweldged the doubts they denied existed in their public testimony.
Sgt. Miller, who I identified earlier as the person in the Patrol who first stated that the item was perhaps drugs, testified that it was only his assumption and not one based on any actual facts.
As I reported just a few days ago, the ODPS noted that the allegations that the agency attempted to do a document dump to obstruct the I.G. was an act of deliberate misrepresentation by the I.G. because the reality was that ODPS offered to remove irrelevant documents after their I.T. searches turned up irrelevant documents, but the I.G. insisted on being given those irrelevant documents.
The Columbus Dispatch?also covered the report:
The report cites e-mails and testimony not cited in Charles’ report that support Collins-Taylor’s contention that Col. David Dicken, superintendent of the State Highway Patrol, called off the operation to stop an attempt to drop off contraband for an inmate working at the residence.
Reached late last night, Charles said he has not read the agency’s report but that, “I stand by what we said.”
Thomas Charles refuses to admit he got it wrong.? And worse, his own interview transcripts and documents seized by his office disprove his own conclusions.
Nothing dispels the notion of a rush to judgment than refusing to admit you’re wrong, even after numerous mistakes are outlined in a 26-page report with 150 footnotes largely citing Charles’ own investigation file.