INTERNAL AFFAIRS

BEATEN, BADGERED AND BRUISED. WHERE CAN PHOENIX BLACKS AVENGE POLICE BRUTALITY?

Second of a series

You might say that Ambrose McCree is obsessed with the beating handed out to Rodney King by the Los Angeles police.

A retired California truck driver, McCree spent March 14 at the Los Angeles City Council's open forum investigation of the videotaped assault.

"I just, I almost cried when I saw that videotape," said McCree. "It was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen. I was speechless."

Electrocuted with a stun gun, stomped with booted feet and clubbed some 56 times with police batons that fractured his skull in 9 places, King brings back violent memories for McCree.

"I knew what that guy was going through," explained McCree. "When I saw that guy being kicked, it was a flashback."

For McCree, 59, the videotaped mauling was a chilling reminder of the beating he suffered at the hands of Phoenix police, a beating that speaks directly on the point of supervision of off-duty officers.

McCree maintains that two Phoenix cops beat him with their fists, and that as one officer continued to punch him while he was on the ground, a second officer kicked him repeatedly in the head.

McCree's viewing of the King tape in the Los Angeles City Council's chambers on March 14 happened on the same day Mayor Paul Johnson wrote NFL owners that Phoenix was not troubled by racial conflict.

On February 28, five days before Rodney King made the mistake of leading pursuing officers on a car chase in California, Ambrose McCree was in an Arizona courtroom amending his multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Phoenix Police Department.

According to his attorney, McCree ended up in a confrontation with the police because of his skin color.

"We believe they [McCree and his driving partner] wouldn't have been stopped except for the fact that they were black," said Ernest Shaver, who is assisting Duane Varbel in the representation of McCree. "In the minds of the Phoenix police, that makes them suspicious. It wouldn't have mattered if they were in a suit and tie. The critical thing is they were black."

The two officers who attacked McCree claim that the victim's black skin had nothing to do with the assault.

When the NAACP's county president, Reverend Oscar Tillman, called for Phoenix Police Chief Ruben Ortega's resignation on February 4, he cited racial insensitivity as the primary issue.

In a subsequent meeting called at Phoenix City Hall to mediate the dispute, the Baptist minister enumerated a more specific list of concerns. Topping that agenda was Tillman's anxiety over what he described as the nonexistent supervision of off-duty police officers who work security details in the private sector.

Chief Ortega, who in the past had refused to discuss the employment of off-duty officers with Tillman, accused the NAACP leader of reckless rabble-rousing and grandstanding in the press.

The McCree case, however, has never been publicized by anyone, let alone Tillman; in fact, the McCree beating preceded the minister's recent move to Phoenix from Tacoma, Washington.

Devoid of the political overtones that infect the Ortega debate, the details of the McCree incident underscore Reverend Tillman's contention that off-duty police officers working private security jobs are virtually unsupervised by the department.

Officer Ron Kobelka, who initiated the assault against Ambrose McCree, had been so violent in the past that the police department itself tried to fire him. He was reinstated by the Civil Service Review Board on a procedural technicality.

In 1980 Kobelka intentionally dropped a prisoner on his face, according to police records. The prisoner, shackled at the feet and cuffed at the hands, required stitches to close the wound in his bloody face.

Sergeant Joseph J. Hauer, who investigated the incident, wrote in his report: "Officer Kobelka should be required to seek some professional counseling. This is the second incident in a period of two months where Officer Kobelka's actions have been overreactive in dealing with the public, which resulted in injuries to the individuals he was dealing with. Since Officer Kobelka's been under my supervision, I have found him to be very quiet and a loner, with very little socializing with other members of the squad. He has the knowledge and ability to perform his duties as a patrol officer, but lately has been unable to adequately perform under stress situations . . . ."

Despite Kobelka's documented propensity toward violence, despite an investigating sergeant's observation that Kobelka did not handle stress professionaly, the department gave its permission for the officer to moonlight at the Sixpence Inn. As if the additional overtime hours were not pressure enough for the officer, the department agreed that Kobelka could work a high-crime neighborhood as a security guard, an area noted for prostitution and violence; two weeks before Kobelka's assault upon McCree, another off-duty police officer in the vicinity had been shot by a pimp. Kobelka himself was involved in at least two violent incidents at the Sixpence Inn while working off-duty, before the beating of McCree.

Into this highly charged atmosphere walked an exhausted truck driver who'd just finished dinner and parked his long haul rig. On May 6, 1987, Ambrose McCree and David Hawkins were stopped in the Sixpence Inn parking lot by two uniformed police officers moonlighting as security guards.

Officer William Keehl's police report explained the encounter.
" . . . As off-duty police officers, it is our responsibility to control persons on this property . . . . [We] stopped both subjects since their activity was suspicious . . . . Officer Kobelka asked Mr. McCree what he was doing on the property. He replied, `Who wants to know?' We informed this person we were police officers working on this property and we needed to know. We also told this person that he may be trespassing. Officer Kobelka asked the person if he had a truck parked on the property. This person began to get belligerent and yelling: `Why?!' This person began to raise his voice at police saying, `Yeah, I have a truck parked here!' This person was warned to lower his voice. Officer Kobelka then asked this person if his truck had a parking permit to be legally parked on the property. This person began to argue with police and would raise his voice towards us. We informed Mr. McCree if he would just answer our questions, he could be on his way. He then squared off with officers and took a defensive stance. He yelled he would come and go as he pleased and nobody was going to throw him off the property. We informed Mr. McCree that we needed to know which room he was staying in and where his truck was parked. He would not tell us. This conduct was obstructing our investigation; and his behavior was very combative and threatening. Mr. McCree was then told to leave the property since he was uncooperative. He then said, `I dare you to remove me from the property. I dare you.' We then told Mr. McCree he was under arrest for criminal trespass and obstructing a government operation. Mr. McCree then tensed his arms and clenched his fists. We then took hold of his arms at which time he violently tried to swing and pull away from police. He was told to put his arms behind his back, however he refused to do so. He continued to fight with police. He resisted so violently, he caused both officers to fall to the ground . . . . After a two-minute struggle, Mr. McCree gave up. He was then placed in handcuffs . . . . During this incident Officer Kobelka received a small cut to his right little finger. I received a small cut to my right thumb . . . ."

Mr. McCree also suffered injuries.
The inside of McCree's arm sustained a gaping wound that left a four- and-a-half-inch scar. In addition to numerous contusions on his head and body, McCree also sustained a permanent disability of his elbow. Upon his release from jail, he went to an eye doctor and was told full vision would never return to his right eye and that he would henceforth require glasses. Today he is still subject to traumatic headaches, an affliction the 59-year-old trucker said he never suffered until he was repeatedly kicked in the head by Officer Keehl. Almost one year to the day after the beating, McCree collapsed from a brainstem stroke because of blood clots. His doctor said the head injuries sustained in the assault might have contributed to the stroke, but because of the year's delay, determining the exact origin of the seizure is problematic.

McCree's wounds, according to Officer Keehl's report, stemmed from the truck driver's "suspicious" activity and his refusal to cooperate with the civil questions of uniformed police officers. McCree was so discourteous he even raised his voice, "tensed his arms" and "resisted so violently, he caused both officers to fall to the ground," where each officer injured a finger. McCree was so belligerent he even refused to say whether he was registered at the motel, according to Officer Keehl.

Because police reports tend to have a rather stiff lingua franca all their own, it is impossible to recapture an event with the immediacy of a videotape.

But because Ambrose McCree filed a brutality complaint with the Internal Affairs Bureau of the police department, a follow-up investigation was conducted.

Confidential records of administrative interviews with Officers Keehl and Kobelka, as well as additional written statements from the two officers, illuminate the incident.

Keehl wrote that the two blacks were suspicious because they were walking behind trucks in an area where there had been thefts.

But during the subsequent investigation, Officer Kobelka, in his follow-up report, wrote that McCree said they were registered at the motel and that "the second B/M [black male] showed us a room key."

What McCree did not show was enough respect. Although McCree and his truck-driving partner had demonstrated to the officers that they were registered guests of the motel and therefore not "suspicious thieves," there was a problem with attitude.

A confidential investigative report by Sergeant Steve Carufel three months after the confrontation contained this summary: "Kobelka said complainant McCree was angry, arrogant and challenging. Officer Kobelka said he asked complainant McCree what was his problem. Kobelka was told McCree didn't like the way he was being spoken to."

Although he was not robbing the other tractor trailers in the lot and in fact had a permit for his own truck that he'd just parked, McCree, a registered guest of the motel who had shown the officers his room key, was evicted from the property by the two officers.

"Officer Kobelka said motel policy did not allow potential troublemakers on the property," wrote Sergeant Carufel.

From his home outside Los Angeles, McCree denied that he intended to make trouble.

"After we told them we were registered and showed them the key, the cops continued to badger us," said McCree. "I said, `We don't have to put up with this bullshit,' and I turned away from them and started to walk towards our room. That's when Kobelka jumped me. I fell to the ground. The other cop, Keehl, began kicking me in the head."

In his report, Sergeant Carufel noted that Keehl admitted punching McCree but was less sure about the head-stomping.

"Officer Keehl mentioned he does not remember intentionally kicking complainant McCree. He said it was possible, however, that complainant McCree could have been stepped on during the struggle."

Informed of the details of the McCree incident, Reverend Tillman just shook his head.

"You see, this is exactly what my criticism is about. Why was that officer allowed to even be working off-duty?" asked Tillman.

Of course, Reverend Tillman's criticism of the police department's oversight of moonlighting officers such as Kobelka enjoys the perfect perspective of hindsight.

Yet Chief Ortega's own files contain the records of Officer Lance Gibson's statements regarding Kobelka's propensity for overreaction.

On June 15, 1980, Kobelka and his then-partner, Officer A.L. Smith, stopped a couple they suspected of smoking marijuana.

When Kobelka ordered 21-year-old suspect Paul Abbott to empty his pockets, the young man took off running and shouted, according to Kobelka, "Leave me alone, asshole."

Other officers joined in the three-block pursuit. Officer Lance Gibson caught up with Abbott just as the suspect declared, "I give up, man, I give up."

Officer Gibson instructed Abbott to turn and grab the nearby fence and spread his legs, which the young man did.

At that point, Officer Kobelka arrived on the scene, running.
According to Gibson's report, Kobelka said, "So, I'm an asshole, am I?" and then grabbed the suspect in a choke hold.

As other officers gathered on the scene, witnesses say Officer Gibson began to shout, "Jesus, Ron, there's no need for this," "That's not necessary, you're being brutal," and "Calm down, you guys, you don't have to do that."

Officer Gibson was adamant that the suspect had surrendered and offered no resistance, and that Kobelka was simply livid.

"Up to this point [the application of the choke hold], the suspect had not said anything abusive to me or Officer Kobelka and had not offered any resistance whatsoever," wrote Gibson in his report.

As Abbott was being strangled, Gibson, though alarmed, nonetheless grabbed the suspect's free arm.

"During this time, the suspect was saying, `I give up, I give up,' over and over. This was not very audible as the suspect was still being choked," reported Gibson. "However, I could hear him clearly. In just an instant, the suspect began to crumble under the effects of the choke hold . . . . At no time did the suspect offer any resistance to me prior to Officer Kobelka grabbing him from the position in which I had him. And even after Kobelka grabbed the suspect, the suspect was free to kick and thrash about, which he did not. The suspect was in my custody, assuming the search position and would have been searched and cuffed per policy, without incident, if Officer Kobelka had not interfered."

Gibson was compelled to file his report as part of an official investigation into the incident when fellow officers complained that Gibson was not ®MD120¯vigorous enough in arresting Abbott.

Gibson was absolved of any wrongdoing, with investigator Sergeant Joseph J. Hauer noting, "Officer Gibson is a very aggressive officer who has been counseled in the past for coming on too strong in citizen contacts."

Though his name was cleared, Gibson discovered that his protestations over the brutality of his colleagues carried consequences beyond the investigation.

Sergeant Hauer recommended that Officer Gibson "be transferred to another district. Because of this incident, there are hard feelings toward Gibson by squad/shift members."

As for Kobelka, "because of his willful and deliberate mistreatment of a citizen," it was recommended that he be sent to the Disciplinary Review Board. Supervisor Bennie Click, now an assistant chief on Ortega's staff, concurred.

Despite such documentation of Kobelka's problems, despite the department's unsuccessful attempts to fire Kobelka for excessive use of force, police administrators nevertheless approved Kobelka's four years of moonlighting before he was finally terminated over his atttack on McCree.

Kobelka's off-duty partner during the beating at the motel parking lot, Officer Keehl, was asked last fall if Ambrose McCree ever punched or kicked either officer.

"We didn't give him the opportunity," replied Keehl.
The police department did not significantly discipline Officer Keehl. With merely a reprimand in his file, Officer Keehl is still eligible to moonlight.

When the Phoenix Police Department finally managed to terminate Officer Kobelka in the wake of the McCree incident, the city's confidential Separation Notice stated: "There have been fifteen documented complaints, most of which involve undue force, improper arrest, unprofessional conduct, and improper use of police authority . . . ."

Afraid that people might not believe his story, Ambrose McCree has carried newspaper clippings of other black men who've been beaten by police officers. For this man, the Rodney King videotape proved what he'd said all along--these things happen.

Unlike McCree, whose story tumbles almost unbidden from his lips, Fay Wasp is reluctant to discuss what happened to her.

a body bag.' When he said that, I can't explain how I felt. I was scared. I didn't think I'd see my kids again. I was shaking and crying."

As she talks, Wasp breaks down and cries throughout the remainder of the interview.

"They say I struck my boyfriend. I did not strike anyone. This is the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my entire life. I tried to keep it from escalating. I kept thinking of that [King] video. I didn't want things to get out of hand."

Officer Paul Gottwald tells an entirely different story. In his departmental report he wrote: "Officer [Robert] Remsik told us neither subject furnished him with any identification. He also said Wasp admitted to striking the victim, Foster, her boyfriend, several times during the family fight that they had been involved in.

"Officer [Russel] Rader and I stood by with Officer Remsik while he attempted to verify who the two subjects were. As I was speaking with Wasp, we were standing at the curb to the rear of her vehicle and in front of Officer Remsik's vehicle, she became upset, said she was leaving. She turned and walked towards her car in an attempt to leave the scene. I caught up with her and took hold of her left upper arm. I told her she couldn't leave until we had finished our investigation. I turned her around and began leading her toward our car, telling her I was going to put her in the back of our car. At that time she attempted to stop her forward progress by holding back. I immediately took her by the left wrist with my left hand. As I did so, Wasp started to swing her right arm around in an attempt to strike me with her closed fist. I stepped back, pulling her around and off balance. I restrained her with my left arm across her shoulders and walked her, struggling, to our car. She was placed in our car and eventually transferred to 620 West Washington for processing.

"When we arrived, Wasp refused to get out of the back seat, saying several times, very loudly, `No, I'm not getting out, this is wrong, you fucking make me get out.' Officer Rader and I attempted to remove Wasp from the rear seat of our car and were successful, but she collapsed on the ground between our car and another next to it. Because of her extremely loud and uncooperative behavior, we decided to return her to our back seat and take her directly to Madison jail.

"He's no longer sleeping in his room," said Ransom. "I wake up in the morning and he's awake in the living room, watching TV. He never did that before the attack."

On March 2, 24 hours before Rodney King was videotaped in Los Angeles and while Chief Ortega's report was being revised at City Hall, Phoenix police turned one of their German shepherds loose on Jermond Ransom.

Jermond and his friend, David Lopez, were at a birthday party for a girl they knew. The celebration came as a surprise to the girl's mother, who, when she discovered what was going on, threw everybody out. Laughing over the uproar, Jermond Ransom and Lopez left and started jogging toward home.

"I had driven by the area moments earlier and noticed the cop cars and the helicopter," said Jermond's mother, "but I didn't think too much about it."

After jogging across an open field, Jermond and David squatted against a wall, catching their breath. From the far end of the field, the two boys noticed a group of men coming toward them.

"`Hey, hey you,' they shouted," said Jermond. "We saw these guys running at us with flashlights. It was dark out, and we could see these lights." Jermond said he didn't recognize the men advancing across the field as police officers.

"I was scared and kept running."
Jermond boosted himself up over the wall and ran a short distance until he saw several unattended squad cars parked near the side of the road.

His friend David, who never climbed the wall, was apprehended immediately and handcuffed.

When Jermond saw the cop cars, he ducked into the bushes nearby.
A police helicopter hovered above him, and momentarily the other officers arrived on the scene.

"They didn't need dogs to find me. I wasn't hid that good."
That is an understatement. The bushes Jermond Ransom crouched in are particularly thin and give the sort of camouflage that only a panicked thirteen-year-old would think offered any real concealment.

According to Jermond, the police officers quickly spotted him. Instead of reaching in and extracting the seventh grader, instead of ordering the kid out of the bushes, they put a dog on him.

"There he is. Get him!" is what Jermond remembers the officer saying.
"I could see the cop, and what he was saying was, `Get him! Get him!'"
What did Jermond Ransom think when the dog attacked him?
"I wasn't thinking, I was just yelling."

The thirteen-year-old was bitten on the inside and outside of his leg and scraped in numerous other areas.

When the shepherd finished mauling Jermond, the boy was handcuffed, interrogated and accused of breaking into homes nearby and stealing Cadillacs.

Both David and Jermond denied the charges and said they were on their way home from a party.

Jermond said when the boys protested their innocence, a female officer commented, "Well, if they ain't going to talk, then we better get the dog again."

Later that night, Donna Ransom discovered a message on her answering machine from the police informing her that her son had been arrested for stealing a vehicle.

"At the station we were told he burglarized a home in the area," said Jermond's mother. "The police were so cavalier about it. It's just so nonchalant. After we'd been there some time and they were releasing David, it became clear my son wasn't there. `Oh, by the way, your son was hurt.'"

Donna Ransom rushed to the Maricopa County Hospital, where the police had taken Jermond.

"He was sitting in the corner. His pants were all bloody. I could see he was terrified. The first thing he said was, `Mom, can I go home? I want to go home.'"

Jermond's mother cannot understand what happened to her son.
"I went back to the spot where this happened," said Donna Ransom. "The area is not overgrown. There isn't a lot of vegetation. This thirteen-year-old boy could not have been hidden. Sending a dog in after a child is just poor judgment."

When the police detained Jermond, they made a point of photographing his jewelry.

"He was wearing two rope chains with a total value of maybe five dollars and an inexpensive earring. That's what kids wear today. He was dressed nicely. His whole thing was skateboarding until a couple of months ago when he discovered girls. He's not in a gang, doesn't get into fights. He's not rowdy. His troublemaking consists of talking too much in class."

The police told Donna Ransom that Jermond fit the description of someone who'd been stealing cars and breaking into homes in the area. The police subsequently arrested others in the case, clearing Ransom and Lopez.

WHEN YOU TALK about blacks who say that they are victims of police brutality, it is often a one-sided discussion. The individual officers refuse to comment, referring all inquiries to the chief's office--where silence is the rule.

In this environment, law enforcement's story is left to departmental reports of arrests, confidential Internal Affairs Bureau files and court records. This paper trail is devoid of human nuance. In the parking lot shooting of Johnny Ray King on January 5 at Vinnie's Nightclub, for example, the official documents do not disclose that the officer who discharged his weapon, Arnie Stallman, is the adopter of a black baby. That is hardly the profile of someone you expect to find trapped in what has become a racially charged incident.

And when you talk about blacks who complain of police brutality, it is also impossible not to consider the reality of police work where officers must keep the peace in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Our ghettos and housing projects have their share of felons, drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, Bloods, Crips and others locked into the poverty cycle.

Deputy city manager Pat Manion said that all statistics and incidents regarding alleged police brutality must be viewed through this prism to be fair. "Because you have more crime in the inner city and more minorities," said Manion, "the numbers are skewed."

But Ambrose McCree, Fay Wasp, and Jermond Ransom do not fit into this convenient profile.

Although he was staying in a motel in a tough neighborhood, McCree was gainfully employed, wearing his company's uniform and, according to the police, able to produce a room key. His crime was an unwillingness to gladly tolerate a roust.

Wasp was stopped in the white neighborhood in north Phoenix where she lives. She supports her children with her job at American Express.

Jermond Ransom was stopped outside the posh Pointe resort after leaving his friend's party. He was guilty of nothing worse than the typical judgment of a thirteen-year-old.

Far from being hard-core antagonists of the inner city, they all are middle-class blacks. What they also have in common, according to officers' records, is a lack of deference to the police.

"What's your problem?" asked Officer Kobelka of McCree. "Fuck you, this is wrong, I'm not getting out," said Wasp. And thirteen-year-old Jermond Ransom ran.

That is what the police say happened. What the blacks say happened next is that they were attacked.

Asked to comment upon these three unfolding incidents, Reverend Tillman said they underscore the reforms he is trying to introduce.

With the proper oversight of off-duty employment, Officer Kobelka would never have been allowed to moonlight, said Tillman. Wasp's and Jermond Ransom's cases are the kinds that will never make it beyond the Internal Affairs Bureau review of these incidents. Tillman believes that someone other than police officers ought to examine these incidents.

The question that lingers is what sort of success Tillman will have with his proposals.

The spark that finally ignited the confrontation between Ortega and Tillman was the minister's letter demanding an explanation from the city of why the chief was investigating the minister's background.

The response from the city manager's office to Tillman's inquiry suggests both the possibilities and the pitfalls that must be faced.

Chief Ortega was not the least bit hesitant in admitting he'd been investigating the civil rights leader.

Confirming that he had indeed contacted law enforcement agencies in Tacoma, Washington, Ortega wrote to deputy city manager Pat Manion: "They reported that Mr. Tillman while there was more of a nuisance and hindrance instead of a positive factor. They felt he did more to deteriorate relationships with the NAACP. His constant allegations of racism by law enforcement forced them into a policy of little contact and communication with him. In essence, he was a pain in the neck to them and were relieved when he left the area."

Rather than examine Ortega's demeaning characterization, city manager Frank Fairbanks decided to put a public relations gloss on the chief's probe into Tillman's background.

On January 28, Fairbanks wrote the minister and acknowledged that the chief had checked up on Tillman, but "this contact with the Tacoma Police Department only involved discussions of ways to improve communication."

Had Phoenix officials taken the time to look into Ortega's allegations, they would have uncovered another perspective.

Tacoma deputy city manager James Walton said Oscar Tillman was a key player in turning around that city's relationship between law enforcement agencies and minorities.

"About three years ago, we had a terrible shooting up here and the police circled the wagons," said Walton. "There were three incidents in a row, bang bang bang. The city invited Reverend Tillman to help, and we'd never have done that if he were reckless or irresponsible. He was one of five or so people who served as a liaison between the black community and the police. Law enforcement does not take kindly to criticism, and they often accuse critics of being a loose cannon."

Tillman also worked with the Tacoma area Sheriff's Department. On April 20, 1989, he helped negotiate a mediation agreement with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department that called for the hiring of minorities in general and specifically for the review of "its current policy and procedures governing off-duty employment of commissioned law enforcement personnel in private security capacities."

This agreement was witnessed and co-signed by John Mathis, conciliator in the Community Relations Service in the U.S. Justice Department.

Because of the pressure Reverend Tillman has brought to bear, Chief Ortega has changed tactics.

When the minister met with assistant chief Bennie Click, Ortega stopped by and surprised Tillman by suggesting that he visit more often.

But Phoenix is not Tacoma.
Chief Ortega spent nearly a year trying to have the NAACP remove Tillman from office.

No one invited Reverend Tillman to participate. He kicked the door in.
The city manager's office has now twice attempted to smooth over problems: first, characterizing Chief Ortega's investigation of Reverend Tillman as an effort to improve communication; second, and more substantially, maintaining in the city's March 28 report that there was nothing wrong.

Reverend Oscar Tillman has bulled his way into the corridors of Phoenix power, and now he must demonstrate that he can achieve his original goals without being compromised.

One man expects nothing less.
"Oscar was on the cutting edge of everything that occurred with the minority community and the Tacoma police," said Dr. Carl Brown, for six years the president of that region's branch of the NAACP. "That is not an impression, it is a truth. What your police chief said about Oscar being a `pain in the neck' sounds like the image your chief has of Tillman. Phoenix must be a strange and unique place." end part 3 of 3

Despite Kobelka's documented propensity toward violence, the department gave him permission to moonlight.

Almost one year to the day after the beating, McCree collapsed from a brainstem stroke because of blood clots.

"After we told them we were registered and showed them the key, the cops continued to badger us," said McCree.

®MDBU¯Must use this pullquote

"In just an instant, the suspect began to crumble under the effects of the choke hold."

®MDBU¯The following pullquote should appear on the same page as the picture of Fay Wasp. Thx! DJB.

She wrings her hands, whispers and begins to shake as she recounts the events of that evening.

"If you don't get back in the car, they're going to take you out of here in a body bag."

®MDBU¯The following pullquote should appear on the same page as the picture of Jermond Ransom. Thx! DJB.

"They didn't need dogs to find me. I wasn't hid that good."

®MDBU¯®MDBU¯The following pullquote is a must use. Thx! DJB.

Chief Ortega spent nearly a year trying to have the NAACP remove Tillman from office.

®MDBU¯Please try to use the following pullquote if possible. Thx! DJB

"Law enforcement does not take kindly to criticism, and they often accuse critics of being a loose cannon.

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