Saturday, December 17, 2011
How Rodney Monroe's Culture of Lies and Dumbed Down Crime Numbers Failed Victim Number 3
Early on the morning of December 15 CMPD detectives with the "Sexual Assault Unit" now headed by Major Vicki, interviewed Lavatae Evans for more than an hour. Police knew they had the right man, but were not sure if a crime had been committed because CMPD detectives felt that both victims ages 19 and 20 were lying about their relationship with Evans.
It is a well known fact that CMPD Officers are under pressure to show lowered crime numbers to Chief Monroe, particularly with regards to violent crime. Adding two rapes to an already violent month would not look good on CMPD's Compstat reports.
CompStat (short for COMPuter STATistics or COMParative STATistics) is the name originally given to the New York City Police Department's accountability process that has since been replicated in many other police departments including CMPD. But, the program is a number driven process that is inherently flawed.
Evans is a career sexual predator and criminal with a history of sex offenses. Information that was available to CMPD included prior arrests and convictions for first-degree rape of a child, first-degree sex offense against a child, kidnapping, auto theft, robbery and drug charges.
Despite questioning Evans for less than an hour, and even though Evans had not requested to leave, CMPD Detectives told Evans he was free to go. Within minutes of leaving CMPD headquarters Evans had zeroed in on his 3rd victim in less than 12 hours.
When the 3rd victim called police and identified the suspect as Evans, CMPD knew they had a major public relations nightmare on their hands. But when CMPD's Public Information Office first released information about the Evans arrest they failed to mention that just hours before they had Evans in custody, as a suspect in the first two rapes.
When Cedar Posts received the anonymous email early Friday morning it was clear that a major cover up was underway. So why did CMPD fail to mention that Evans had been in custody just hours before he committed his 3rd attack in less than 12 hours, when they first announced his arrest?
The answer is simple CMPD is totally consumed with the public perception of their operations and lying is the way they have elected to control perception.
With the heat turned up on Chief Monroe and questions from all directions thanks to the email, CMPD's plumber Rob Tufano began to deny and minimize.
CMPD's spin presented by Major Foster during a 3 o'clock Friday afternoon press conference was pure political posturing. Foster stated that as a result of the "inconsistent statements" by the victims, police didn't have sufficient evidence to charge Evans or enough probable cause to hold Evans while he was at the Law Enforcement Center.
Probable cause is defined as "a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime".
Major Foster went on to say that investigators can't rely only on a victim pointing out a suspect to make an arrest.
"We have to do an investigation," she said. "We want to be fair to both parties."
Foster said Evans was free to leave at any time but cooperated in the investigation. She said officers had his address and believed they'd be able to find him if charges were later filed.
"The best we could do was try to verify the information."
Yet CMPD's over the top response to Evan's 3rd attack that included both SWAT and VCAT units dramatically conflicts with Foster's statements. If CMPD detectives were so confident that they could re-interview Evans at anytime why the SWAT and VCAT response?
The bottom line is that Evans should not have been released before CMPD Detectives had re-interviewed the victims. While Detectives might claim they didn't have probable cause, they certainly would have if they believed the victims. But in a culture where crime numbers mean everything Officers and Detectives are driven to "dumb down" the numbers. A rape becomes just an assault, and victims are minimized. The result of this culture is that victim's statements are often discounted, particularly minority victims.
In this case CMPD failed to protect victim number 3. The physical and emotional damage done to this victim is beyond what civil lawsuit that is sure to come can compensate. The damage to CMPD's reputation and that of the Chief is beyond recovery as well.