Law enforcement officers across our nation are entrusted with tremendous powers. They can arrest citizens based on certain facts we call Probable Cause. They can go before judges and request the court’s permission to search someone’s home, business and vehicles. In some cases, they are issued no knock search warrants that allow them to rush up to a home or business heavily armed and kick in the door to enter. They can take the life of citizens who are a threat to them and/or other citizens. Police officers are subjected to in depth background investigations, academic testing, lie detector, physical, mental and drug tests. Most departments now require a minimum of an Associate college degree. Most departments require officers to pass a rigorous basic police training academy of at least 500 hours to include vehicle accident investigations, stop and frisk, drunk drivers, misdemeanor thefts, felony thefts, armed suspects and all other police duties ranging from domestic violence response to armed robbery and murder investigations.
Society often holds police officers to the highest standards of professionalism and beyond reproach as to ethics, honesty, conduct and integrity.
Unfortunately, as within all other professions including doctors, nurses, teachers and clergy, there is sometimes a gap that allows bad apples to enter these powerful positions. Though the percentages are lower for bad police officers, there is no room or tolerance for them. Most of my police career was focused on victims of crimes and not investigating bad cops. However, there were several occasions we crossed paths. The story I am about to share is true. I will change the names of those involved because I do not want to be dragged into court on a Liable civil suit by a criminal, especially one who is a former cop.
I was working in the major crimes investigative division on graveyard shift and loving every minute. However, I did not like seeing murder and other violent crime victims but I did enjoy identifying, arresting and convicting those responsible. Just after midnight, I finished updating my active murder and robbery case reports. My partner was dragging behind working his reports so I decided to hit the streets for a while alone. I found my ugly, unmarked, plain wrapper detective unit behind the main building and rolled off the top deck of the parking garage. I had no destination in mind so I just drove where I felt. I kept my talkie tuned to the detective channel and flipped the police radio over to the area patrol frequency. The radio was busy with calls for service. Officers were dispatched throughout the western side of the city which included all of downtown and north Shreveport. I drifted down to one of our major crime riddled neighborhoods known as Ledbetter Heights. Police headquarters was located at City Hall on the southeast edge of Ledbetter Heights. Many officers referred to this neighborhood as The Bottoms. The terrain in fact dropped noticeably behind the station creating a large bowl of 20 square city blocks. The Bottoms is the oldest residential section within our city dating back to the early 1830’s. As I drove along the narrow streets, I passed row after row of shotgun houses along with Victorian mansions in need of loving care. Every time I travel these old streets I think of the rich history here. These streets were originally dirt bricked later by freed black slaves. The bricks are no longer visible because of several inches of cheap, black asphalt.
In 1903, the Shreveport government established a taxable Red Light district in this lowland section. It was known as St. Paul’s Bottoms. Ironically, the Red Light district was named after St. Paul’s Episcopal Church a few blocks away in the business district. I often wonder if the officials who named the Red Light district after a well respected church were Baptist or Methodists.
Many of the old red brick bars in this area sat next to shotgun houses with red porch lights glowing each evening. I eased down the streets behind a city street sweeper leaving a thin coat of fresh water on its surface. I took my time and let my mind wander while still aware I was in a dangerous area. I visualized horses, buggies and long dresses worn by Ladies of the Evening with painted faces. I could see them in my mind’s eye standing near their front doors or sitting in rocking chairs waving at prospects. I could hear them calling to men in their sensual voices. Perhaps while blowing them kisses or even bending over slightly as they teased these men with a glimpse of cleavage.
I could hear laughter behind the window shades and music coming from a table top radio. Through the distance of my mental, foggy journey I could almost hear gunshots and footsteps of men running from the scene. As I rounded the corner by the Silver Dollar bar where I had made numerous calls for stabbings, shootings and fistfights over the years, I made sure the crowd of pimps and drug dealers standing in the shadows were no threat to me as I eased by. Once I was beyond their reach and felt secure, I again drifted back in time. I saw an old movie many years ago called The Life and Times of Huddie Ledbetter. I knew Huddie, a.k.a. Huddie Lead Belly, was born on the Jeter Plantation in 1888 near Mooringsport, Louisiana a few miles north of our city. In his early teens, he lived and played in the Bottoms. He chased wild women and played his versions of Louisiana Blues in juke joints with his 12 string guitar. Later he spent time in the Texas Penitentiary for murder. It was reported he killed his cousin over a woman. Many believe he was pardoned by the Texas Governor because of a special song he wrote for him. Later he was convicted in Louisiana for stabbing another man and was incarcerated in Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Once again, he sang his way out of prison after writing another song dedicated to this governor. I find it ironic to name a neighborhood in our city after a twice convicted murderer but I conclude that Louisiana has a long history rooted in what I call the Robin Hood mentality. It was only a few years ago we knowingly elected and reelected a felon named Edwards. Today a life size bronze statue stands on Texas Avenue in downtown Shreveport honoring Huddie as he holds his 12 string. One of his numerous hit songs was titled Mr. Tom Hughes Town about his time in the bottoms.
I came out of the fog and realized I was heading west on Milam Street approaching Hearne Avenue. I crossed the street when the light changed to green and continued along my way watching late night street people out and about. I suspected many were armed and/or carrying illegal drugs in their pockets. I slowed to survey one of the oldest watering holes in town called the Lake Cliff Club. Named correctly as it sat on the high bluffs overlooking Cross Lake. The old wooden, shiplap sided building had seen its better days but the neon beer signs still shined through the windows on either side of the front door. In 1954, when Elvis lived in Shreveport and was a regular on the Hay Ride, he also played honky-tonks including the Lake Cliff. The parking lot was packed with expensive cars. Though the joint was located in a predominantly black neighborhood, all of the patrons were middle and upper class white folks.
I drove on by scanning the streets as I went. In the distance ahead, I saw the unmistakable red and blue emergency flashing lights of a police patrol unit. As I approached, I realized the officer was a friend who had pulled over a suspected drunk driver. The late model Mustang yielded to the patrol unit by pulling off Milam into the parking lot of a pharmacy closed for the evening. I eased into the lot, exited my vehicle and leaned against the front, left fender of my ugly detective unit. I did not want to interfere with my friend as he directed the suspected D.W.I. through the process of reciting the alphabet and counting backwards from 25 to 1, walking heel to toe in a straight line and holding her arms out shoulder high, head tilted back, eyes closed. She was instructed to touch the tip of each index finger to the tip of her nose. First she tried with her right hand and her finger missed her little turned up nose and hit her chin. When she switched to her left hand, her finger landed on her left eyebrow and she swayed a little. At this point, I choked back a big laugh and turned my face so the lady and officer would not see me. The detainee was in her mid twenties and attractive. Once the failed field sobriety test was completed, my friend walked her to his unit and asked her to take a seat in the rear. She began to cry and plead with him to not arrest her. He closed the door and walked to me. We shook hands.
“How’s it going Dave?” I asked.
Dave was my age which placed him in his early 30’s. He was naturally handsome, dark hair and sea blue eyes. He was very strong and worked out daily. He was married with a beautiful wife and two daughters at home. I knew him well. He loved women and they truly loved him. He was known to play outside his backyard so to speak, common in our profession in those days.
“You taking her down to the station to blow on the machine, Dave?”
“No. She is a friend of a friend. I am going to have headquarters call a friend to come pick her up and take her home. She works in the courthouse as a clerk and will be fired if she has a D.W.I. on her record.”
“That’s the way I would handle it, I think.”
Dave made the call and I visited a bit longer.
When I was on the streets in uniform, things were much different than now. We had discretion when it came to pulling someone over if they were weaving a little. I cannot count the times I had headquarters call friends or family to come to the scene and take the impaired driver home without arrest. Sometimes we called a cab for them if a friend was not reachable. As the years went by, things changed within the department. The city was desperate for taxes and revenue to collect and later squander. The Imperial city attorney with the backing of the mayor ordered the chief of police to stop taking impaired drivers home and arrest everyone we encountered. However, on this night, my friend still had the choice of making an arrest or allowing this lady to have a friend retrieve her.
I needed caffeine so off I headed. I drove to Monkhouse Drive near the airport and slipped in through the side door of the Kettle Cafe. After a half gallon of coffee, I needed to roll. On the way back to the station, I radioed my partner to ask how much longer before he was able to hit the streets. He needed at least one more hour. I smiled as I visualized him typing his lengthy, investigative reports on his old IBM electric typewriter while using his two index fingers. Each stroke he glanced down to find the right letter. I was thankful I took typing for a couple of years in high school. Since I was in no hurry to go back to the station to pick up my partner, I once again found myself in the Bottoms. The night was cool and I drove with both front windows rolled down. Even in the winter, no matter how cold it was, I always had my windows down with the heater blasting. If gunshots fired near me, I wanted to hear it without distortion. I am amazed today when I see young street officers driving their new units with windows up all the way or texting on their smart phones. What contradiction! That is not smart in my book.
I drove by the Municipal Auditorium and checked the glass windows on the front doors. All secure. I crossed the street and eased through the always opened gates into the oldest cemetery in our city. Strangely located in the heart of the bottoms, it actually sits on a large hill within the Bottoms bowl. I suspect many generations of cops used this place to park for a meal break or sit in the dark shadows watching the front of the Sprauge Street Hotel. Even though The Bottoms was no longer a legal Red Light district, Prostitution never got the word. I knew of many whorehouses, gambling houses and drug houses in this area. I killed my lights before I reached the crest of the hill in the heart of the spooky cemetery. I did not want the pimps and thugs who were always stationed near the front doors of the old two story house of ill repute to see me watching them. I learned years ago not to touch my brakes as I made such an approach. If I hit my brakes, the rear lights would glow and reflect on objects directly behind my unit. In order to stop, I put my left foot on the emergency brake and grabbed the brake release handle with my left hand. I pulled it and eased down the brake. Once I reached the best observation point, I came to a stop.
As always my head was on a swivel and my eyes constantly scanned my 360. Several blocks away, I heard a fully automatic firearm blast at least 25 rounds. This was so common we did not try to locate the suspect. The bad guys who lived in the bottoms and shot in the air were street savvy. They would step out to the back steps of their little shotgun shacks and rip off a full mag of rounds into the air. A neighbor would never call 911 for fear of being a snitch. As soon as homeboys mag was empty, he jumped back in his crib and shut the door. Only rookies called in gun shots fired and rolled like a chicken with his head cut off looking for the man with the gun. It would only take a few of these incidents along with a razing from his senior beat partner to stop these little goose chases. Only when an officer actually saw muzzle flash or a man with a gun did they get on the air and report shots fired and roll backup.
I was looking in my mirror at the giant historical Auditorium one city block behind me. When I was a kid, my family once took me there for a show called the Louisiana Hayride. I later learned, in its glory days, it was known as the Grand Old Opry West. Hank Williams Sr. played here after he was banned from the Nashville Opry. Also Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Jimmy Davis, who wrote “You Are My Sunshine” and later became our governor, Wildman Jerry Lee Lewis and even Elvis played on this old wooden stage. I love history and let my mind wander as I shifted my eyes back to the hotel and the street thugs gathered outside.
I thought back to one of the first songs I learned to sing along with on the family radio when we lived on the Mayo road in the country. One summer day, I was riding my bike around our dusty dirt yard. Mama had placed the old tube type radio on the window ledge and cranked it up all the way. She loved country music and gospel as well. “I fell into a burning ring of fire! I went down, down, down and the flames went higher!” I hummed this as I watched the crowd on the street below. In my mind’s eye, I drifted back in time and rode my little bike in my yard.
I remembered when Daddy was unable to find work and learned a big, oil pipeline project in Alaska was hiring skilled men paying three times the going rates here. Daddy kissed us all goodbye and flew out of Shreveport on that big, silver Delta plane. He was gone for almost six months and left us well provided. We had a Ford Station wagon and a Rocket 88 Olds sedan. We had a charge account at a nearby grocery store. Daddy mailed Mama cash each week for bills and incidentals. Each day he was gone, I saw her become more and more depressed. She often sat at the kitchen table and cried and cried. She cried so much it scared Bubba, my older brother, and Sheila, my little sis. At times, she yelled and cursed my Daddy. She became angry and screamed to him that she wished he would die and burn in hell. When she was not crying, she was writing. For hours each day, she wrote him letters. She spoke outloud each word she wrote. At times, she spoke of love and missing him. Other times she cursed his name. I heard bad words I never heard before.
A few months later, Daddy came home. Instead of us picking him up at the airport, he drove up in a nice black Cadillac with a lady in the front seat I had never seen. I hugged and kissed Daddy as he headed for the house. I stood several feet from the strange lady in the strange car. Her powerful perfume drifted out of her open window along with a strong layer of cigarette smoke that nearly gagged me. She was blonde and reminded me of Marilyn Monroe. In fact at one point, I thought she was one and the same. I turned and ran into the house looking for Daddy. The door to their little bedroom was closed and I heard him talking to Mama. He was sorry and once again Mama began to cry. Soon he walked by me heading to the car. About once a week, he would swing by. Sometimes Marilyn was with him.
Over the next few months, Mama became even more depressed in Daddy’s absence. My heart hurt because I loved him so much and missed him deeply. One day a different car drove up to our house. We did not have a driveway so the guy drove up near our front porch and got out. He was a handsome man. As I think of a way to describe him to you today, think of a young Brad Pitt. He was strikingly handsome. He carried a large book under his arm and announced to Mama he was an insurance salesman. Before she could invite him into our house, he pulled open the screen door and walked in. He sat down at our kitchen table and opened the book. He started rattling off his little sales pitch and Mama just sat there watching and listening to him. It took me many years of reflecting on those days to realize I was blinded by the love of my father. I loved him so much that he could never do anything to diminish it. Over these many years, I have learned that hate and even love blinds a person so much that the truth can not be seen. I sat in the swing in the side yard a few feet from the kitchen window so Mama could keep and eye on us kids. I watched her face and her reactions. She smiled at him and nodded her head but she did not understand a word he spoke. Even back then I realized she had broken down mentally after Daddy left us. She ended up at a mental level of a 10 year old girl. She cooked for us and we never went hungry. We missed a few baths but for me and Bubba that was just dandy.
Brad left after a while but was back the next afternoon. Bubba, Sheila and I spent every second of a good summer day outside playing and getting dirty. Mama stayed in the house laughing, writing and crying all day and deep into the night. My mother was a gorgeous woman. She was petite and well proportioned with a beautiful face. Brad once again took a seat at the kitchen table and talked with my mother. This time I noticed that he left his big book in his little maroon Rambler. Soon he stood and took Mama’s hand to lead her to the back bedroom. Mama followed like the little child she was. I stood outside the window looking in through the old, rusty window screen. He took off her cloths and pushed her on to the bed. I had never seen anything like this. I was only six years old. He laid on top of her and she began to cry. He stood and pulled his leather belt out of his pants and began whipping her all over until she stopped crying. I stood there with tears flowing from my eyes. This bastard was hurting my Mama and I could not help her. Brad came back several times over the next few weeks. One day Daddy dropped by to check on us and she told him about Brad. He became angry and took Brad’s business card he had left Mama. Daddy quickly left the house. I never saw Brad after that.
Our little family fell apart. Bubba, Sheila and I were taken by the state to a foster home. We moved in with strangers who did not love or care for us. Over the next four years, we lived with two families. Mama was sent to the state mental hospital and Daddy tried to drink himself to death. Fast forward, once I turned 17, I joined the Marines. I finished high school and became a man. I went to college and studied police science and law enforcement and became a cop.
The voice on the police radio was my partner’s calling me to pick him up. I cleared my eyes and headed back to the station. As we drove back to the Kettle Café, I once again drove by the closed pharmacy where Dave had stopped the young lady. I noticed the Mustang was no longer there. I wondered how she got home and thought well of my friend Dave for not arresting her causing her to lose her job. I was thankful I no longer had to deal with drunk drivers and make such decisions.
Before we made it to the Kettle, we were called by patrol officers to a drive by shooting in south Cedar Grove. It only took us a few minutes to arrive at the scene. Fire rescue units and numerous patrol units blocked East 72nd Street at the corner of Henderson. Three young men had been wounded. Two had been standing on the known drug corner when the suspects slowly approached them. The car slowed to a slow roll and the front and rear seat passengers began firing at the young men. They turned and ran toward the abandoned crack house where they operated. Both were hit in their legs as they fled. One was hit in the right cheek of his butt. The third victim had been standing on the front porch in the dark. He was hit in his left upper shoulder. Crime scene techs were on the scene and pointed out several fresh spent 45 caliber shells on the porch. We suspected all of the victims were armed before and during the shooting. We felt the men on the corner fled without returning fire but the man on the porch fired back. Our victims had long arrest records and were reluctant to give details of the suspects. I felt they knew the suspects were likely members of a rival drug gang and were already planning for retaliation. We searched high and low around the crack house for the victims’ guns but were unable to locate them. They were treated at the scene by E.M.T.’s and transported to LSU Medical Center with no life threatening wounds.
As usual our efforts to find a witness was zero. We spent about an hour on the scene before we caught up with the victims at the emergency room. Once again they refused to give details of the suspects or their vehicle. Later we learned our victims were released from the hospital. Two hours later we were called back to the hospital on another shooting. The victim was a young man reporting he was driving on Pines Road near Cross Lake when a single gunshot fired from an oncoming car. He was struck on his chin and sustained a very deep graze wound that required surgery. He was shirtless having removed his tee shirt to help stop his bleeding. He too had a long arrest record of gun violations and drug charges. He was covered with jail house tattoos and clearly hated cops. He never called to report being shot to the police. The reason my partner and I were there was because the hospital was required by law to report all gunshot victims. We spent about 20 minutes with our last victim before heading to our offices to knock out our report summaries.
No doubt in our minds that homeboy with a big chunk of chin missing was one of the suspects in the drive by car on 72nd. None of our victims were willing to identify their shooters. I was happy we were off the next two nights. My partner and I knew within a few days these two gangs would lock horns and perhaps the next time it would end with a homicide.
As predicted the very next night on the same corner, we had another drive by. This time it was different. The guy who had been shot on the porch was hit once again. He was standing on the porch when he was hit squarely in the forehead with a large caliber round. He was dead before he hit the ground. Another team of detectives caught this call and to this day, it is an unsolved homicide. The city councilman from this district was determined to make a big name for himself. Every chance he could, he got in front of a TV news camera or in the paper. He openly ranted and raved the police did not care about the citizens in his district. He sited statistics of unsolved shootings and attacks. He showed disproportionate differences between nearby affluent neighborhood crimes and his district of Cedar Grove. He never mentioned the real roots of these problems.
Weeks later, he showed up on another drive by shooting case and requested to be allowed into the crime scene. The street was packed with news cameras and reporters. He loudly demanded a detailed report from me. I was happy to give it to him. It was almost identical to the 72nd Street shooting. The two victims were standing at the corner of St. Vincent and 79th Street minding their own business. I noted the abandoned crack house a few feet away covered with spray painted gang graffiti. I pointed out that many of the gang signs had large X’s across them. Those X’s were placed by rival gangs. It was meant to cancel out the original gang signs. I took the councilman to the side and spoke in low voice with him. I told him the two victims would survive their wounds. They refused to give details about their suspects. My victims had long criminal arrest records and were literally covered with jail house gang tattoos.
I asked the “want to be mayor” to join my partner and me as we went door to door looking for witnesses. He knew the neighbors would not answer the door when we knocked, let alone be seen talking to us as witnesses. When he declined my invitation, I asked him, “What do you want us to do sir?”
He said, “Solve this crime!”
“How would you recommend we do this, sir?”
“Just do your job as best you know how. Put the same amount effort you would give if the case was in a rich neighborhood detective!”
“OK sir. I will tell you the problem here but I suspect you already know it. In a rich neighborhood the citizens don’t want drug dealers pushing drugs to there neighbors and their kids, so they call S.P.D. when they see anything wrong. In this neighborhood, drug dealers are on almost every other corner. Since our officers are no longer allowed to stop and frisk them on their own, we can only confront them after a citizen calls and reports them. We are never called sir. I will bet you that when I walk up to every house within these two city blocks, most will not open their doors. Those that do will say they didn’t see a thing. In rich neighborhoods citizens come forward and become witnesses and they help us solve their crimes.”
“Well Detective, these people don’t trust cops. They have been mistreated and abused for generations. Do you blame them for not trusting you or your department?”
“Sir, I too was raised in this neighborhood. I’ve seen bad things happen to people by bad cops but that was many years ago.”
Back and forth we went as we stood inside the crime scene. Neither of us making headway or changing the other’s mind. I was willing to do anything within the law to solve this case. The last thing I wanted was to allow armed gang bangers driving through residential areas shooting guns into houses. I had worked numerous shootings like this one where innocent adults and even children were wounded and a few killed. In those cases, there were very little differences. Still it was rare for a citizen to step out and become a witness.
I went home that morning as the sun came up over the pines on the back of my property. My body was tired and my mind exhausted. I sat alone on my back porch while my wife and baby boy slept soundly inside. I felt safe here. I felt sorry for the people trapped in Cedar Grove. At the same time, I felt they should do what I did in life. No, it was not easy but I was determined to make something of myself. That is the difference. Many poor people in Cedar Grove actually had it better than me but they did not have the deep desire or determination to get out one way or the other. That puzzles me still. I took a hot shower and crashed. I had to be back on duty that night at 10 to do it all over again.
That summer was filled with a deadly gang war. In the early part of the summer, our new Yankee chief was often quoted by the press saying our city did not have gang problems. By the end of the summer, we had investigated hundreds of gang related shootings with few cooperating victims and even fewer witnesses. One night my partner and I were working a drive by shooting in Mooretown. We had been on the scene a few minutes when we heard numerous gunshots one block over. We rushed from our scene following patrol officers and spotted the fleeing suspects in a stolen car. We followed the chase across town where the suspects crashed and bailed from the car. One of the guys was stupid enough to rip off a couple of shots at our officers. They returned fire and killed him on the spot. The others got away. Before the sun set the next day, we were able to track them down and arrest them. Our focal point was the dead guy and his buddies. It took hard work to develop their identities but in the end we had a tight case against them.
A few days later, we had another drive by shooting in Mooretown. Several uncooperative victims once again were reluctant to tell us the truth about the suspects. Our two victims were transported to the hospital. After they arrived in the E.R., the suspects had the audacity to drive up to the E.R. portico and start shooting into the hospital. Bad mistake. L.S.U. cops responded along with S.P.D. and another chase ensued. Both bad guys were seriously wounded and later arrested once released from the hospital.
Several months after the night I visited with Dave and his suspected D.W.I. lady on Milam, I received bad news when I reported for duty. I really liked Dave. I thought he was a good guy and a good cop. We were not best friends but there was a bond between us. I heard through the grapevine he turned in his letter of resignation and was going to work with his father in construction. I remember feeling bad that night. I hated to see our department lose a good cop. We had enough duds coasting around and impersonating real cops. When I last spoke to Dave, he gave every indication he intended to make a full career of being a cop. His sudden career change baffled me. I called him at home. He was polite but seemed a little down when he spoke. He had been thinking of leaving for a long time. He had enough of police crap and decided to hang it up. I recall asking him to give it some thought and consider taking vacation time to reflect deeply before making it final. He paused for a long time before speaking. His Dad needed him. He would make twice the money and have half job pressure. I realized his mind was made up so I wished him the best.
Our departmental grapevine has always been slow, but informative in the end. A few weeks later, the truth surfaced on Dave. He crossed the line big time. Over the previous months, he made numerous arrests for D.W.I. Most of them resulted from sitting in the dark watching customers stumble out of the Lake Cliff Club. A young female was pulled over a short distance from the club. She had clearly consumed too much alcohol and was a real D.W.I. Dave was the officer in question. After she failed the field sobriety test, Dave placed her in the back seat of his unit. She begged and pleaded for him to let her go. She would do anything to not be arrested.
Those were Dave’s magic words. He asked, anything?? She answered, anything! He locked up her car and gave her the keys. They rode to a nearby secluded location and he climbed into the back seat with her where they had sex. When they were finished, she was taken back to her car and allowed to drive home impaired. The following morning she awoke with a clear head and reflected on her encounter with Dave. She did not like what he had done to her. She felt dirty and ashamed. By mid morning, she had finished her statement with investigators within I.A.D. in our department. She did not want to go to court to testify against Dave. She did want the department to know what he was doing to women while he was on duty. Dave was called to the station and confronted. He was given a simple choice. Be arrested for rape or resign his commission. He resigned.
I was deeply disappointed in him for such an awful crime. I was also disappointed in myself for not recognizing what a nasty dirtbag he truly was.
After a few years, he joined another police department where he gained a reputation for pulling over young, attractive women without probable cause. I understand several complained on him. I heard his wife left him after she finally found out what he had done while with S.P.D. The law enforcement grapevine extended to our area agencies including the one where Dave now worked. Apparently after enough time had gone by and he was not arrested for rape, he must have built up his confidence. It was a rumor but I believed it. One day while he was on duty, he bragged to his beat partner. Back in the days when he worked for S.P.D. and bird-dogged the Lake Cliff Club, he pulled over many women and gave them a choice of sex or jail. He bragged he wore out the back seat of his patrol unit.
I often wonder how many victims he attacked. It makes me sick, what he did to those women. It makes me sick he still walks the streets and lives a free life. He should be in prison doing hard time. His arrogance makes me angry. I often wished our local D.A. would assign his investigators to look into the things Dave did as a crooked cop. If the statutes of limitations have expired, then I would hope his victims came forth and sued him in civil court. He brings tremendous dishonor to honest cops everywhere as we are like a family.
What Brad did to my mother so long ago broke my heart. You should know me well enough by now that it is a good thing I never found Brad. I may have crossed the line also. For all these years, I have carried these deep wounds Brad inflicted on me. That old saying, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, applies to me and how I have dealt with it. I know it sounds strange, but when I worked cases where women and children were raped and abused, I did so with the greatest care and understanding. Most of them realized or sensed I was able to relate to their horror.
Have you ever thought of a song and can hear it in your mind? Sometimes we can not stop the music no matter how hard we try. I started writing this story last night and still the song rings in my mind. I can hear the deep baritone voice of Johnny singing… I fell into a burning ring of fire and it burns, burns, burns that ring of fire. My faith teaches me to forgive and pray for Brad and Dave, but I confess, I have never even tried. I have dreamed that on that day, they will fall into that burning ring of fire.