Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Departure of Ray Ray

The departure of Ray Tarasovic "Ray Ray" surprised many people, as he was billed as Chief Monroe’s right hand man. In the wake of his departure many people have written Cedar Posts with suggestions, information, emails and scuttlebutt with regards to Tarasovic’s return to Richmond. Often his departure is linked to the Marcus Jackson case.

The following events and statements are simply nothing more than conjecture, therefore:

All characters and events – even those based on real people – are entirely FICTIONAL.

The light rain had been falling for about an hour when the black Crown Victoria wheeled onto Charlotte’s Trade Street. The sounds of rain splashed pot holes and city buses gave way to the unmarked police cruiser as it blew through a red stop light and headed up the rain slick pavement.

Behind the wheel of the speeding Crown Vic sat the Chief of North Carolina’s largest Police department, Rodney Monroe.

Three blocks later as another traffic light turned red, Monroe managed to bring the sedan to a stop in the middle of the cross walk.

In the shadow of the city's largest buildings and rain eased to a fine mist. The wipers of the Ford slammed rapidly back and forth across the windshield until they began to clatter across the dryness. It took awhile for Monroe's mind to connect the noise from the windshield wipers as they bounced across the dry windshield, to the lack of rain and adjust the wiper setting from fast to intermittent.

Impatiently waiting for the light to change he subconsciously began to rub his short stubby fingers across the two stars that adorned the collar of his white uniform shirt.

He hated the two stars; in his mind a chief deserved four stars, just as Cathy Lanier the Police Chief of DC Metro wore. That a job he once thought would be his, and with the four stars he felt he was due. He reached for the switch that controled the Crown Vic's the interior lights, and adjusted the mirror’s reflection to view his collar.

“Damn it! Two f-ing stars!” he mumbled to himself.

“Eisen”houser” had four stars, hell no that f-er had five stars and I want five f-ing stars on this uniform damn it!” To hell with tradition in Charlotte, the whole city is full of morons! No one here knows anything about how to run an f-ing police department! I swear if hear one more time from Putney about the tradition of the Charlot Meckburg Po lease Dee Partment, I’ll have that “Uncle Tom” sent back to patrol. I wonder how he’d like to see his name as watch commander?”

The traffic light turned green, and Monroe stomped the gas pedal forcing the Crown Vic to roar up the next block, squarely hitting a puddle at the corner of Trade and Tryon Streets, sending a shower of water towards two young Bank of America employees trying to get out of his way.

Monroe glanced in the rear view mirror and through the rain speckled back window he could see that both girls are now soaked.

“They should be arrested for jay walking anyway!” He muttered out loud.

Ten minutes later as expected, the interstate is a parking lot and he’s crawling along at a slug’s pace. But a half of a mile before his exit, the chief hits the blues concealed in the grill and the breakdown lane of the road at the same time.

A dozen miles away, deep within the offices of Charlotte’s transportation department a couple of city employees are watching the traffic back up along I-85 via the NCDOT traffic cameras. The images they view are crystal clear streaming real time video of everything that happens along I-85 and hundreds of other intersections and roadways around Charlotte. Watching the monitors they notice the Chief's Crown Victoria running up the shoulder.

“There he goes”, notes one of the employees.

“Yep right on time”, replies the other.

“Must be nice to be King Rodney” they both say together with a chuckle.

The Chief’s car heads up the exit ramp and the traffic managers turn their attention towards the more important matter of an overturned 18 wheeler.

Rodney Monroe is less than two miles from home when his personal Black Berry cell phone starts playing his MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” ring tone. The only people who know the number are the close CMPD officers known as the "inner circle", his Richmond henchman Raymond Tarasovic, and two very trusted close female friends.

Monroe knew that whenever Ray calls, it isn’t good news.

“Hey Buddy we have a problem” Tarasovic tells the Chief.

Ray’s voice is calm as always since nothing ever worried Ray. Monroe long ago figured it was either the alcohol or Xanax that Ray ate like Tic-Tacs, or Both that kept Ray's emotions under wraps.

“They just arrested Jackson” continued Tarasovic.

“Damn it! Who the hell authorized?” Monroe screamed.

“Internal Affairs” replied Tarasovic.

“What the “F”? I told them it was just a couple of Mexicans they aren’t even in the country legally” Monroe’s voice was now an octave higher.

Ray started to reply but Monroe cut him off.

The Chief was already turning his Crown Victoria around to head back to “Uptown” Charlotte.

Ray listened to the onslaught of expletives from the Chief followed by “….I told them it didn’t matter and I’d handle it.”

Ray could only listen, he glanced at his watch which read 6:05 and wished he’d left his office an hour earlier. He would have missed the call from Internal Affairs and would be slamming back drinks on his favorite bar stool. A place called Vinnie’s Raw Bar at Mountain Island Lake. The place suited him, hooters waitresses without the hooters prices.

Monroe had run out of four letter words and was now trying to verbally justify his actions regarding Jackson’s hiring.

“How am I going to explain this F-ing mess” the Chief asked Tarasovic.

Marcus Ramon Jackson was a rookie CMPD officer that Monroe had personally pushed through CMPD’s selection process and training class. Jackson had screwed up twice formally and a dozen times off the record since he arrived at CMPD. But this time it was serious.

“God damn it who authorized the arrest!” Monroe asked again.

“There’s more….” Ray’s voice tapered off.

“How much more?” the Chief demanded.

Monroe was now listening intently as Ray read over the brief placed in his hands moments before.

“Meet me at 1035 in 15” barked the Chief.

1035 was the number of a suite at the Ritz-Carlton, a perk that the Chief often used for meetings when he didn’t want a big audience.

Monroe had access to the room 24/7 a freebie offered to Monroe after he helped the hotel manager quietly deal with a CMPD Vice Unit sting of an ongoing prostitution ring that was based in the hotel.

Monroe pushed the red end call button on his Black Berry cell phone and then base lined the Crown Vic down the right side of the interstate. Punching the gas hard the Ford P-71 4.6 liter V-8 roared back down I-85’s slick concrete pavement toward Uptown Charlotte and the Ritz-Carlton.

Eight miles away Ray looked out the window of his office, the rain a steady mixture of wind and tiny cold droplets pressed against the glass. He wondered why he ever followed Rodney to Charlotte, at least it wasn’t snowing, he thought to himself. Richmond and the Washington DC area were already covered in the white stuff, and that he didn't miss. He hated the cold.

20 minutes later Ray Tarasovic was at the Ritz –Carlton Hotel. Ray was no stranger to Monroe's perks, but the suite was way over the top even for Rodney. The suite was lavish, overlooking Uptown from above it had a full sized bar, glass top dinning table for eight that doubled as a conference table. The marble and granite bath room was equally ostentatious.

What made it worse was the chief made no effort to hide the hotel perk even going so far as to complain to Charlotte's City Council about the noise that drifted up from EpiCenter, a collection of bars and restaurants located next door to the hotel. Monroe had more than once sought a city ordinance that would allow him to arrest bar owners for too much noise.

Once inside Tarasovic sensed that Monroe was about to have one of his famous fits of anger, which never scared him before, but now Monroe was a sworn police officer and he insisted on wearing his service weapon at all times.

The thought of the little Webster sized man waving his gun around like Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi on a wild rant scared the crap out of Tarasovic. Thankfully the tension in the room eased when Rob Tufano entered the spacious suite. Tarasovic didn’t like the former WBTV reporter but this time he was happy to have someone of at least a little sanity in the room.

Over the next 45 minutes Rob, Ray and Rodney planned out their spin on the Marcus Jackson arrest.

The plan was simple throw Jackson under the bus, but more importantly throw him under the former Police Chief Darrell Stephen’s bus.

Stephens was an understated bureaucrat who rarely made headlines, but he had been well respected by CMPD officers. Within days of arriving in Charlotte, Monroe had every trace of Chief Stephens removed from the CMPD headquarters. Monroe refused to drive Stephen's unmarked Impala instead ordering a custom Crown Victoria out fitted to the extreme. He also fired Stephens' assistant and had ordered a million dollar renovation of the command staff offices. As far as Monroe was concerned Stephens would take the fall for hiring Jackson.

Tarasovic handed the Chief, Officer Jackson's file. Monroe put on his reading glasses, and looked at the words, but read nothing of the contents. “So what the hell does all this say” Monroe demanded.

Tarasovic started to explain, he had often wondered why Monroe even made an effort to read a file because he would always ask for someone to explain the contents to him. It was almost as if Monroe couldn't read.

Marcus Jackson was a momma’s boy and early in 2008 when she learned through a friend that Charlotte’s new police chief would be an African American, she encouraged Marcus to apply. The job would be a lock since she had the contacts with in the group who was bringing Monroe to Charlotte.

Long before the formal announcement was made, even while the finalist interviews and public forum was conducted, Monroe had privately been given the job. Only a select few at CMPD and the City Manager’s Office knew the fix was in, while the public saw a parade of candidates in a feel good gesture no one suspected that the choice had already been made.

Jackson had applied to CMPD three weeks before Monroe’s official hire date. It wasn’t much but surely it would be enough to provide cover for Monroe. It wasn’t Monroe’s fault that Jackson wore the CMPD uniform, he was hired before Rodney came to Charlotte. That would be the Chief’s story and he would stick with it.

Rob Tufano would be give a presser 8 PM and Monroe would read only a prepared statement.

Tufano suggested that they also hold another press conference first thing in the morning and Tarasovic and Monroe agreed.

Tarasovic pointed out that Jackson wasn’t formally hired until he was sworn as a police officer and the media would pick up on that fact. But Monroe persisted he would tell the press that Jackson was hired before he became chief and that would be the end of it.

“This is Stephens fault, his staff recruited the guy and have already fired them all” Monroe announced with his back to both men. When he turned around both Tarasovic and Tufano were shocked to see that Monroe's expression was turning to rage something Ray was used to seeing but Rob had not quite adjusted to.

30 minutes later the three were at CMPD headquarters.

Deputy Kerr Putney stepped into the room holding a file in his hand. Putney was at one time considered of CMPD’s best. He was by the book and had the look of a Marine Corps drill sergeant. Putney’s face said it all. He had opted to stay on after Monroe arrived something he often regretted.

Putney knew Monroe would spin the arrest but he had hoped the Chief would want to come clean, up front. But he also knew better, Chief Monroe would never admit fault regardless of how inconsequential it was.

Monroe flipped through Jackson’s file. The domestic incident reports from 2003 and 2005 stood out as did the copy of the court issued restraining order. All of this documentation had been removed from Jackson’s Civil Service Board summary and so Jackson’s approval request sailed through without even a second thought.

The Chief pulled the CMPD disciplinary forms from the file and handed the file back to Putney. Puntey started to remind the chief he that the originals needed to remain in the file but decided against starting a battle he would lose.

Monroe then picked up the Internal Affairs file. Read just the first two sentences and slammed his fist hard on the table.

Ray Tarasvoic started to speak but stayed quiet.

After Monroe calmed down, Tarasvoic advised the Chief against the idea of trying to “spin” the Jackson story. As Tarasvoic saw it the best plan would be to come clean all at once. Rob Tufano agreed, the media would digest the facts report it and then move on. Making the whole mess public wouldn’t be pleasant, in fact it would be painful, but long term it would be better than having the media thinking there was more to this story.

But Monroe objected, and insisted that the story be spun his way. He even wanted to publicly encourage other victims to come forward and ordered that a Latino detective take the lead on the case. This too was against Tufano and Tarasvoic’s wishes.

When they both asked Putney his thoughts he just shook his head and suggested that detective Mike Melendez take the lead on the Jackson case.

It wouldn’t be the first time Monroe was wrong, Tarasovic had cautioned Monroe about conducting a public survey of the department, but Monroe felt that the negative rumors were only a handful of disgruntled employees. The survey provided otherwise and the Charlotte Observer printed a number of excerpts that were leaked by someone in the command staff.

After the leak of the survey Monroe was livid; he trusted no one and was convinced someone on the command staff was out to “get” him.

The survey was doomed from the beginning and when the results didn't turn out the way Monroe had hoped he tried to discount the comments. But what really pissed him off was that someone had leaked the results 24 hours before he had even seen the report.

Once in Charlotte, Monroe had quickly determined that CMPD was not like Richmond. Rank and file as well as command staff in Charlotte was substantially stand up, a really hard working group of people. But Monroe would only trust those who had encouraged him to apply for the job, people of color were the only ones he could trust. Even that cracker Walton had an agenda Monroe sensed.

As soon as Monroe was hired news broke that his college degree from Virginia Commonwealth was in it’s most positive form “honorary” in reality it was totally bogus. Monroe however believed he was the chosen one, above reproach, and that only his inner circle really understood how to run a police department.

An hour later while Monroe was giving his spin on Jackson to the media, Tarasovic slipped into Monroe’s office using his own key and laid his letter of resignation on the Chief’s desk.

Walking out of the CMPD headquarters into the cold night air Ray Tarasovic noticed the rain had stopped and he suddenly felt that a world of weight had been lifted from his chest. He would return to Virginia and look forward to a life away from the madness of Rodney Monroe and for the first time in a dozen months he didn’t feel like he needed a drink.

As he drove down Trade Street he glanced in the rear view mirror and marveled at the number of TV trucks parked along the street in front of the Law Enforcement Center. One day he thought, one day this house of cards will crumble and it will be EPIC.

All characters and events – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional.

Marcus Ramon Jacskon was convicted of several sex offenses on December 9, 2010 and is serving a 39 month sentence in state prison. Jackson is currently held at the North Carolina Department of Corrections Pamlico Correctional Institution Medium Security Faculty in Bayboro, North Carolina.

Jackson has been held since his arrest in December of 2009 and has an expected release date of May 2012.


Anonymous said...

Bravo Cedar. Even though this story is entirely "fictional" it's uncanny how "factual" it really is.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic, Cedar!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It might be fiction but you have Monroe protrayed to perfection.

Thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why you are portraying Ray as a nice person? He was an ass to most of the CMPD staff.

There must also be a reason he was hired as a civilian employee.

Did RoMo ever really say why he left? I don't recall even a BS answer.

Didn't Tufano come to work at CMPD after the Jackson mess?

Oh wait this is fiction so I guess the doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Good Story. Very beliveable.

Anonymous said...

Just one thing, Ray came off as way too likable and sensible and honest.

I heard if you were ever on the receiving end of one of RayRay's nutty tirades, you would need debriefing and therapy afterwards. Scary.

It would really be a toss up as to who was the most irrational.

Anonymous said...

Great story even if it is fiction. But I doubt Monroe thinks much of it.

Ha Ha Haaaa

Anonymous said...

LOL! Great representation!!!

(Except I agree, RayRay was a hole lot meaner, a whole lot!)

Anonymous said...

Cool tale and I love the touch of humor with the "Can't Touch This" ring tone.

Some how I find it all to believable even if it is fiction.

Anonymous said...

Patrick Cannon has the Chief on speed dial.

It's just embarrassing.



A sting?

For missing campaign signs?


And people don't believe Rodney uses CMPD as his own personal department to use and abuse as he pleases?

When the hell is Charlotte, City Council, The Charlotte Observer,going to wake up to his freaking blatant corruption??


Anonymous said...

Pull the records on every vice officer. Cannon better fess up.

If I were the opponent, I would demand the records and then put 'em out. reprehensible waste. how many people got assaulted or robbed during those hours?

Anonymous said...

RayRay was Machiavellian.

He had his dirty hand into everything and WAY up Rodney's butt conducting things.

He and Rodney were the Destructuve Duo, and I am sure he is still advising him.

I would say he instigated 9/10ths of the secretive crap going on at cmpd.

He did not have a clue how to police in this century....same as Shorty.

Anonymous said...

That was really should write a book....The Rodney Chronicles...