Time & Patience
I confess. Throughout my life I have struggled with the application of these two words. The only way I find peace is through prayer. I think of God and Job when I think of Patience. I think of God when I think of Time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.”
Patience is a virtue: The first known recording of this expression is most often awarded to William Langland in his poem “Piers Plowman” written between 1360-1387.
Crooked Cops #3 Part 2
If there is such a thing as luck, I do not have it. That is the primary reason I do not gamble. As luck would have it, I was not finished being frustrated with G.B. I would have to deal with Tango again. I often wondered, why me? Of all the detectives on our force, why did it have to be me to conduct criminal investigations on officers. I did not want to be in I.A.D. (Internal Affairs Division) and I did not want to work the criminal side of their investigations either. Once again, I was called to the Chief of Investigations office and assigned another case on Tango.
Shreveport’s Ford Park is beautiful. It sits on the banks of Cross Lake among towering loblolly pines and bald cypress trees. Picnic tables, charcoal grills and small pavilions are scattered throughout its lush grounds. For generations, families spent time there playing volleyball, baseball and horseshoes. They cooked hot dogs and hamburgers, sliced fresh watermelons and hand cranked homemade ice cream while children played on the swings, seesaws and slides.
Over time they were no longer welcome or safe there. Gangs of adults overflowed the park on summer weekends. Cars constantly cruised through the winding lanes with loud music blasting from big speakers. Neighbors constantly complained and officers were assigned in and around the park. We had shootings and fights so often it became known within the ranks of S.P.D. as Fight Park. It was common for traffic to back up for almost a mile as motorists crept along enjoying the scenery. This irritated neighbors and fishermen trying to get home from the boat launch down the street. The nearby convenience store became a secondary hangout. Cruisers congregated in the parking lot making it impossible for paying customers to pull in. The crowds shoplifted and blocked the gas pumps in what seemed a concerted effort to put the store out of business. California gangs had come to town and began a drug war. They battled for drug corners, did drive by shootings, took over abandoned houses, intimidated citizens and drove crime rates higher than any other city its size. Shreveport had become one of the ten most dangerous cities in America!
The gangs learned of Ford Park and often did drive by shootings there. On one occasion, officers outside the main gate heard people screaming. They saw men and women running to take cover behind trees and cars. After speaking to several witnesses, they learned a man had been standing near his car and pointed an AR-15 at a carload of men. By the time officers arrived, the car in question had slipped out of the park. The man with the rifle was pointed out by the crowd. Most of the witnesses stated the man with the gun was yelling and pointing his gun at the men in the car. No one saw a man with a gun inside the car. Witnesses told officers the man with the gun placed it back in his car before they arrived.
Officers learned the suspect was Tango. He was off duty and nowhere near his car when officers questioned him. At this point, an unmarked detective unit rolled up to Tango’s car. The unmarked car was driven by Tango’s Dad, an off duty detective with S.P.D. The scene officers saw the detective reach into Tango’s car, remove the rifle and place it in the trunk of the detective unit. He spoke to the officers and no further action was taken. Tango spoke to his Dad and left the park. On Monday morning, some of the witnesses went to S.P.D. Internal Affairs office and filed a formal complaint. They knew Tango and his father were cops. Since they were off duty, they violated a city ordinance against having firearms in the park. The complaining citizens wanted S.P.D. to investigate the incident of Tango pointing his gun at the unknown car.
Internal Affairs notified criminal investigations and I received another case to work on Tango. The detective assigned to partner with me on this case was a close personal friend of the daddy detective. I knew where this was going. I was determined to not get jacked around by another detective. The daddy had many years on the department and for the most part, was still respected. I decided to take a step back in this case. I wanted my partner to take the lead. At first, He was reluctant. I told him I had been jacked around by Tango and his connections before and was not in the mood to do it again. My partner called in all the witnesses and we spent the day taking recorded statements. I knew Tango deserved to be arrested and fired, My partner did his best to spin the statements like a good lawyer would in court.
Around 5 p.m., we went home agreeing to meet back in my office when Tango reported for duty that night on graveyard shift. That night my partner and I went to the booking desk in the basement and waited for Tango to report for duty. I told his sergeant we needed a word with Tango when he arrived. When Tango showed up for work, I asked him to come to my office. He was instantly on guard and hostile. He followed us upstairs and protested the entire way. Once we sat down, my partner clammed up. He would not open his mouth! He sat there and looked at me with Tango. Finally, I had enough. I hated to do what I did next but I knew I must follow police procedures. I asked Tango to hand over his service weapon because he was under investigation for aggravated assault and carrying a firearm in a city park. I would never interview a suspect in possession of a gun. Tango went into a rage. I was ready for him. On the way to my office, I felt he would go off on us so I unsnapped the thumb snap on my hip holster. I knew Tango’s was fastened. I kept an eye on it the entire time. After informing him of the possible crimes, I read him his Miranda rights. He sneered at me and stood. He told me to go f… myself and stormed out of the office. I looked at my spineless partner and shook my head. I walked to the front of the office to make sure Tango left. I locked the main entrance door as was customary at night.
I typed my report, made a personal copy to take home for my own protection and placed the original in my supervisor’s basket. I went home without a goodbye to my partner. When I reported for duty the next day, I learned our criminal investigative reports on this case were being sent to the D.A.’s office for review. I never heard a word about the outcome. I kept my ear to the ground and learned later I.A. did not recommend any discipline against Tango and the D.A. would need months to consider it. Tango stayed on the department. Tango, his daddy and G.B. bad mouthed me every chance they could. I did learn the detectives and officers that hated me for trying to arrest Tango were not good police officers. They were as slimy as Tango and his well respected daddy. The officers who knew and respected me never doubted I conducted myself fairly and professionally. I needed to figure out which group each cop on the department fell.
Months went by and I was working dayshift in investigations. One early morning I was in my office assigned a reported suicide call at the Allen Avenue projects. I rolled there with another detective. We were briefed by uniformed officers. The victim shot herself in the head in bed. I looked in the crowd and spotted Tango. I asked one of the officers why he was in the crowd. The victim was one of his girlfriends. He was in the front room of her apartment at the time of the shooting. My partner and I went to the upstairs apartment and met with a crime scene technician officer. Back then we called technicians I.D. officers. They worked in the Identification Division which primarily focused on fingerprints. In the bedroom with the I.D. guy where the death occurred, my partner I saw Tango standing in the door listening to our conversation. I was informed the weapon used to kill the attractive young lady was a Shreveport Police department S&W 357 assigned to Tango. I asked him to step outside until we finished our crime scene investigation. He stood there defying me. I told him once again and added as the lead detective in the death investigation, it was an order. He spun around muttering under his breath and went outside.
Every reported suicide case is investigated as a murder until every possibility of murder is ruled out. I was taught in numerous police classes women usually do not shoot themselves in the face or head. They normally want an open casket funeral so do not want to damage their lovely face. Instead they shoot themselves in the heart. This lady was beautiful and was shot in the temple. Major damage was done to her pretty face as a result of the blast. I could not comprehend shooting herself with Tango’s departmental weapon. I instructed the I.D. officer when he finished with the scene and had obtained Gun Shot Residue collection samples from her to meet my partner and me downstairs and also take G.S.R. samples from Tango. The I.D. officer lost the color in his face but said nothing.
My partner and I contacted Tango. I told him we were approaching the death as a homicide. Since his weapon was used, I needed to give him his Miranda warning before he gave us a statement. He was not under arrest and I was following standard police procedures. About that time the I.D. officer asked Tango to hold out his hand so he could blot Tango’s hands with the sticky tape for G.S.R. samples. Tango snatched his hand back from the I.D. officer and stated he would not let anyone take samples from him.
I told him he would cooperate with the sampling or be arrested for interfering in a death investigation. Tango went into one of his rages. My partner, GB’s close friend, pulled Tango away and led him down the sidewalk. Tango shouted I was not going to investigate him because I had it in for him. The other detective told him I would be relieved of my involvement in the case because of a possible conflict. No way was I being pulled off the case because Tango did not want me on it. I argued with the detective and we called an investigations supervisor to the scene to settle this. After listening to Tango and my partner, the investigator sent me to the station. I was pulled off the case. I started to protest but realized it was a waste of words.
I finished typing my reports and placed them in my supervisor’s basket near the reception desk as G.B. walked in. He looked at me and smiled. He said nothing as he brushed by me. The death was ruled a suicide and once again G.B. talked me down to anyone in our office who would listen. A year later, I was pleased to hear Tango resigned from the Shreveport Police Department.
I was one of only a few detectives who had a paid confidential informant. I was working a murder in the projects and had zero leads on the suspect. I went upstairs to the city jail with an idea. I met with the head jailer and asked if he had any females in jail who lived in the projects. He produced a list of several. I spent an hour meeting with each one in the interview room. All were in jail for shoplifting and wanted to out. All of them tried to play me and when I pinned them down on the murder they shut up. Finally I found one with a small baby at home who pleaded with me to have her released. I told her if she would get in my car, ride the streets and point out drug dealers on the corner near her apartment, I would see she was released into my custody. She agreed and I went to the senior city judge and told him what I wanted. He ordered her released contingent on her performance on the streets as a C.I. working for me. If she did not produce good drug information, I could put her back in jail.
I knew how this would go down and I was prepared. The unmarked detective units with the small police radio antennas on the trunks and black wall tires were solid giveaways to the street people. They could spot a detective unit a mile away. I knew I could not put the C.I. in my car and ride up to street corners. She would be recognized and likely killed.
I took her to a cheap wig store and bought a shoulder length auburn wig for her to wear. At Walmart I bought her a pair of giant, dark tinted sunglasses. With the wig and sunglasses, no one could recognize her. We went from corner to corner with patrol officers following us. She would point out the dealer holding dope and I told the officers which guy to chase down and search. We hit several drug corners and each time we made an arrest and recovered, drugs, money and a couple of guns. The patrol officers loved making the bust and she proved herself to me that day. She helped me come up with the name of my murder suspect. As a result, we matched his prints to the scene. Over the next year, she helped me solve two more murders and several armed robberies.
About two years after Tango quit the department, she came to my office so I could pay her for another case she solved. I slipped her through the back door of the division and straight into my little office close by. I left her in my office when I went down the hall for my supervisor to sign and approve the cash I was giving her. I spotted G.B. hanging around in the hall acting weird. He knew she was in there and wanted to see her face. It was just a feeling I had. I closed my door and gave her the cash. I opened the door looking for G.B. She was in the corner sitting by the hinge side of the door. As I stuck my head out, G.B. walked by slowly. She saw his face through the narrow crack between the door and the door hinges. “That’s GB. He’s a slinger,” she whispered. I quickly closed the door and flipped my lock. He knocked and called my name. I answered and asked what he needed. He said the captain needed to see me. I told him I was busy interviewing a victim and would call him. He said no, he needs you in his office now. I called the captain instead. I asked if he needed me in his office. He said no, why? I told him G.B. was at my door and said you wanted me in your office. He paused and said he had not told G.B. to find me.
I could tell G.B. was still on the other side of my door waiting for me to leave so he could see who was in there. My C.I. looked scared and said, “He drives a car……………. and he has several corners in Cedar Grove near the Central Street apartments. I’ve seen him drive by and seen his street thugs toss bags of cash in his window as he goes by. He makes the block and counts the money. If it’s right, he comes back and tosses a bag of rocks out into the ditch and never stops.” Rocks as in Rock Cocaine. She described the brand, model and color of the unmarked unit G.B. drove. His car was special. It was seized in a drug arrest. It looked nothing like our typical unmarked detective units. Since he was G.B., the commander gave him and one other detective such cars to drive. Everyone in investigations wanted one because they looked like an average ride. She told me he saw her on the corners many times. If he found out she was my C.I,he would kill her.
I felt he was still outside my door. I called the receptionist at the main entrance and told her someone was in front of Central Records wanting to meet with G.B. I told her not to tell him I called her. She was a friend and told G.B. the call came from Records. The receptionist paged G.B. requesting him to come to her desk. My C.I. and I heard his footsteps as he headed to the front of the office. I waited for him to round the corner to allow me to walk her out the back door. She was scared to death as she ran from our building and down the street out of sight. I told her to call me once she made it home. She did and I went back over her statement and took notes. I did not know if I should pass this information on to narcotics or to my supervisor. I thought about it and went to my supervisor. When I gave him the information, he doubted it. He strongly supported G.B. and clearly seemed skeptical of my C.I. report. He said he would take it from there. I worried for the life of my C.I. and feared I made a mistake. Nothing happened. To this day, I do not know what my supervisor did with the information on G.B.
A month and one week later, I heard G.B. resigned. The entire G.B. fan club who took him to lunch often and gave him a special nickname walked around like they were sick. They knew the reason G.B. resigned but would never talk about it.
Weeks later I learned he was involved in an on-duty accident. Per our departmental regulations, he had to submit to a post accident drug screening. That was all I learned. I asked my supervisor but he could not talk about it. Nothing remains secret long at S.P.D. Eventually it hit the grapevine and everyone knew. Ole G.B. tested positive for cocaine in his urine. He was given a choice to resign or be fired. I hate to admit this but I did something that was not nice. When I learned the details, I made a special point to ask each of his big buddies where G.B. was and why did he leave S.P.D. When they said they did not know, I knew they were lying. I told them I knew he was told to turn in his letter or be fired for testing positive for cocaine. I watched their facial expressions which is what I probably looked like the first time I swallowed chewing tobacco. I did not say anything at that point, but I did grin…. just a little. I always struggled with time and patience, I learned to handle both.
Last week, a long time friend called me. He asked if I knew a retired detective with S.P.D. who power washes houses? He left his card; His name is G.B.
I set my friend straight. G.B. was not on the job with S.P.D. long enough to become vested and have a police pension. I told him the truth about his departure and recommended he not hire this man to wash his house. He is untrustworthy.
Oh, I almost forgot Tango. Two dirty birds!