First, this letter from December 2010 concerning the FOIA response by the Michigan State Police (remember that litigation had to be filed to get these people to move on anything). The fee break down includes $1,399.38 for redacting tape. On Amazon, you can buy 4,200 inches worth of redacting tape for $24.57. That is 350 feet of cover-up. Apparently they wanted payment for more than 50 times this. While the MSP goes heavy on redaction, that strikes me as a bit much even for them. Many of the redactions were done with black magic marker and were therefore decipherable upon close examination. And the MSP clearly had not been schooled by Jessica Cooper’s office, who used “white out” on some of their redactions, so that it was almost impossible to see, let alone challenge, some of their redactions.
Next up, the November 1, 2011 response from the FBI concerning my dad’s attorney’s FOIA request on Francis Duffield Shelden. The request was denied because, believe it or not, “the facility where the records are stored suffered a catastrophic flood that temporarily prohibits access to these records.” And this happened less than two months prior to the FOIA request. While “[r]emediation is ongoing for records stored in this facility, . . . we are unable to determine if, or when, these records will be available for review.”
Finally, a summary my dad prepared a memo to document a meeting with two representatives of the Oakland County Sheriff’s office on August 29, 2012. The highlights are mine and I resisted the urge to heavily annotate it.
As you may recall, recently Sheriff Bouchard’s office recently responded to my FOIA request in a record-setting 15 minutes online by stating: “Your request for all records regarding the ‘Oakland County Child Killer’ investigation is denied; there are no records responsive to this request within the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office records. You may find the records you seek with the Michigan State Police.” https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56938161/posts/3462468286
So that must mean one of three things. 1. The OCS office takes no notes and saves no emails in the OCCK case. 2. They destroy materials related to the OCCK case. 3. They hide the ball by immediately forwarding to the Michigan State Police every piece of paper, every email and every piece of information, keeping no record of the transfer of information.
You don’t need to apply for grants to figure out why the public doesn’t trust law enforcement. It’s because of shit like this and because 8 out of 10 times, you SUCK. You don’t need a sit-down with members of the community who have the time for such civic engagement to wage a public relations campaign. You already know you abuse your power and pull strings you know you shouldn’t. Use the money for transparency training, FOIA training (it does not involve hiding the ball), and for god’s sake, train even just one person in your agency to deal with child sexual abuse cases. Someone who knows why it takes someone a long time to come forward and how to explain the way the statute of limitations works now and why much older cases may be precluded. Someone smart who has some discretion and compassion. And while you are at it, figure out how to constructively deal with sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, racial profiling and police intimidation. Addressing any one of those issues would be a good use of grant money.
Eight out of 10 means there are some notable exceptions out there and I only hesitate to point them out today and express my gratitude because of possible retaliation or strong-arming from those who continue to abuse their power. I hope at some point soon the curtain is pulled back far enough so that it is safe for people to come forward with what they know and to publicly thank those who have their hearts and minds in the right place.