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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Justice, Atlanta Style?

Atlanta City Jail Detention
Image from Google Maps

"...I believe that I saw in that book a picture of the vice cop who the book said was the actual killer in the Atlanta Child Murders, and that that picture I thought at that time was a picture of the cop who had arrested me in Atlanta... I wrote the book review for The Sun, a supermarket tabloid given to wild stories, one which could print the truth precisely I suppose because it was likely to be disbelieved coming from that publication...

"I lost the job at Globe suddenly and without warning or cause after my editor was visited by three men in gray suits...."
- Walter Brooks

Last week I received a very disturbing plea from a gentleman in Atlanta, GA. It is an extraordinary story, and I will let Mr. Brooks tell it himself, below.

I cannot say whether or not this man is a victim of random carelessness or direct malice, but in any regard he is clearly in need of some help. I post this in the hopes that something may be triggered.

There will be more developments from Mr. Brooks' end, I gather - he's told me that he has written the Georgia Justice Project.

I have removed contact information from this email, but I am authorized to provide this information to anyone who contacts me (mike at clubhousewreckards dot com.)

Walter Brooks
PO Box XXX
Xxxxxxx, VA xxxxx
XXX-XXX-XXXX

"I need some help ... some light perhaps upon my dark situation... Last year I was fired from a job because of an incident I suffered in Atlanta in 1976... I became homeless due to the loss of income. I had hoped this whole incident would go away, but it is alive and well today...

"I was arrested and booked in Atlanta city jail in April 23, 1976. This is the only time I have been arrested.

"Briefly, I was in Atlanta with a friend, ST, visiting a friend, MM.

"MM went to work during the day. ST and I went to downtown Atlanta and either took a bus or walked back toward MM’s to be at MM’s place when MM returned from work. We got back about an hour or so, am uncertain now, before MM was to return from work. There was a public park near where MM lived, so we went there to kill some time until MM returned from work. ST was bored just sitting with me, so he went off by himself.

"I sat on a lawn hill near a street, remaining in that place to wait for ST to return to my location before we both went back to MM’s residence. A gentleman came up to me and began talking to me. This gentleman essentially propositioned me to have sex with him, and I declined. This gentleman offered me money if I would have sex with him. I declined. I believe I thanked him for his interest and explained to him that I simply lacked time as I was with someone at the park who was elsewhere at that moment and that my friend and I were soon to return to the home of the person we were visiting. The gentleman continued expressing his desire to fool around with me, and his willingness to pay for it. I continued to decline. This went on for at least ten minutes, with him pressing me, and me declining...

"ST returned, and asked me to roll a marijuana joint. I told ST that I didn’t have any. ST expressed rather strongly that of course I did, that I had an ounce on me that morning when we left, so I should still have it on me now. I did, and had it wedged in the tip of one of my boots that I was wearing. A police car approached, and it turned out the gentleman was an undercover cop, and he began an arrest process for the marijuana, during which he searched me and found nothing. This gentleman then had me bang my boots, one at a time, against the side of the police car, and, to my astonishment, nothing fell out.

"The two cops then had ST and I sit in the back seat of the police car, and I believe we were handcuffed. I doubt we were ever read our rights, as the police were talking about what to do... The cops thought they had a problem in deciding what to charge ST and I with, which I assumed was due to the lack of marijuana being found. I hoped we might be released.

"However, we were then taken to the Atlanta City jail and booked on what I thought was a solicitation for prostitution charge. I used a fake name. I was told that because it was a sex-related charge, that I would be denied a phone call until after a medical exam to determine if I had any sexually transmissible diseases. That took a number of days to wait for, and then I was told, after that exam, which found me to be ‘clean’, that I would be given a phone call after I was transferred to Fulton County Jail, which took some more days. I believe I was finally given my one phone call seven days or more after my arrest...

"I called MM when I did get my one phone call, as I had just vanished from his home, for a week or more at that point, and let him know that I was alive and what had happened thus far. I told MM that I anticipated that I would be released, as this would be a case of my word against the cop’s word, as no money had been exchanged, and the cop had approached to me (rather than me doing anything to seek to solicit him), and there never was any sex, and we had remained in plain sight next to street the whole time... I told MM that I wished to avoid informing my parents of the situation... I am uncertain if MM had already gotten in touch with my parents to say that I seemed to be missing, or if he called them after speaking with me, but he did at some point inform my parents of the situation.

"I met with a public defender who told me that I had to plead guilty to solicitation, that Atlanta viewed this situation very seriously, and if a contest between my word and a cop’s word in court, that the court would take the cop’s word. I was unwilling to plead guilty, and declined, saying I was innocent and wished to plead innocent. The public defender advised me that things would be tougher on me if I refused to plead guilty, but I continued to refuse to plead guilty, telling that public defender that I was innocent and there was a lack of any evidence against me for solicitation. I believe the only charge ever mentioned to me by the public defender was solicitation. I believe I met with this public defender a second time, but am uncertain, but did affirm consistently at all times with him that I wished to keep an innocent plea as I was innocent.

"My parents arrived in Atlanta and began making their own arrangements with my public defender. ST was in Fulton County Jail with me. We were in a ‘gay cell’... I refrained from visiting the showers the entire time. ST was my protector, and I was okay during my time in jail.

"My parents arranged with my public defender that they would pay a fine of around $300 and the arrest record was altered to show that ST and I were arrested in two different places at two different times, rather than at the same time as actually occurred. We had been handcuffed together, brought in together in the back seat of the police car together and booked together...

"My parents stressed to me that they wished to avoid any publicity, to avoid embarrassment to our family, and they wished to make an arrangement rather than to fight the charge as I wished to do. I was somewhat distressed that my parents seemed to be assuming my guilt, but perhaps they were uncaring about my guilt or innocence, and only caring about protecting their reputation in public. My family said if I accepted this deal that then all record of this event would be erased as long as I stayed out of trouble for three years. I have never been in trouble before or since then, and do maintain my innocence even in that situation. The deal arranged by my parents would have released me instantly from jail, while leaving ST in jail. I declined, saying I would only accept such a deal if ST were to be also released. My parents were very upset at that suggestion, and I remained steadfast. My parents agreed to my terms, and I agreed to their deal...

"ST and I went to Fulton County court to face a solicitation charge against each of us. Keep in mind that all ST had done was to request marijuana from me, and that he had never even been propositioned by this cop, and yet he was also charged with solicitation.

"I noted to the judge, and that should be in any surviving court record, that I had observed at least three cases of female alleged prostitutes in court that day, before my case was heard, who alleged that this cop had arrested them after having sex with them... I had thought perhaps that if I did have sex with the cop, that then maybe he wouldn’t have arrested me, that perhaps he had arrested me precisely because I declined his advances. However, the prostitutes said they had been arrested after having sex with the guy, when they demanded their payment, so perhaps I would have been arrested after sex even if I had agreed to have sex with the guy... I noticed that the judge failed to care about the behavior of that cop. The judge made a big point to say that it was fortunate that I was from a big-name family who were willing to make sacrifices in behalf of their child, and that he was responding to their willingness to seek to sacrifice in my behalf... I told that judge that I thought he was ignoring a terrible situation, and that if anyone was making a sacrifice it was me, because I was innocent and inclined to plead innocent, but was doing this ‘nolo contendere’ to spare my family and my friend. I believed that ‘nolo contendere’ was neither guilty nor innocent, but no contest, i.e. records were sealed and my family agreed not to sue Atlanta for my false arrest. The Judge said that records would be sealed, and erased if I stayed out of trouble.

"ST and I were instantly released. Our lives did separate. I always maintained my innocence and told my parents that they should have sought to defend me, rather than cave in, but they maintained they had done right, protected the family name, and the incident was gone...

"I noticed that I had a sore on my penis within a few weeks of my release. I had refrained from sex in jail and since jail. My only source of sexual contact had been the medical exam. It turned out that I had contracted syphilis. I was treated in Fort Lauderdale at a Public Health Clinic. I believe I saw years later where there had been some disease experiments being conducted in Atlanta jails. I am uncertain though... I did consider that perhaps my medical exam had been unsanitary, reusing q-tips and equipment, so that disease from one prisoner was spread to another due to unsanitary unclean health practices during the exam, but I never ruled out a possibility that deliberate disease experiments might have been being conducted. At any rate, I believe that medical exam is where I contracted that disease. It was my
only sexual contact...

"A decade or more later, when I worked as a writer at Globe, for The Sun, a national supermarket tabloid magazine, story assignments were put in a divider for the writers to pick when completing an assignment and then selecting their next. I plucked a book review on a book called The List, written by Chet Dettlinger and Jeff Prugh... This book investigated the Atlanta child murders, and said that Wayne Williams was innocent. This book said that Wayne Williams was guilty of taking pictures of young black boys, but not of murder. The book pointed out that the carpet fiber evidence used to convict Williams was basically circumstantial, in that such carpet fibers were commonplace... The murders began after the vice investigation began... The book said the murders continued after Wayne William’s arrest. The book said that a vice cop investigating the child pornography had the opportunity to commit these murders, that he had proximity to all the victims during his investigation of child pornography... The book pointed out that the murders stopped when this officer transferred from Atlanta to Los Angeles. I believe that I saw in that book a picture of the vice cop who the book said was the actual killer in the Atlanta Child Murders, and that that picture I thought at that time was a picture of the cop who had arrested me in Atlanta... I wrote the book review for The Sun, a supermarket tabloid given to wild stories, one which could print the truth precisely I suppose because it was likely to be disbelieved coming from that publication...

"I lost the job at Globe suddenly and without warning or cause after my editor was visited by three men in gray suits. I worked for a man named Vader, and he was having ‘an issue’ with a co-worker which involved some legal questions. I was a friend of that co-worker. I assumed at the time that I was let go because of the dispute between Vader and the co-worker, and that he struck out at me because I was a friend of hers... Today, as I sit unemployed once again, and this time knowing it was because I was booked in Atlanta City Jail 33 years ago, I wonder if perhaps my job lost at Globe was also due to this Atlanta situation.

"After reading that book, The List, and writing that story, there came to my attention from a forum member, a situation involving entrapment ongoing in Orlando. That situation reminded me of my past experience, and I wrote about my situation in retrospect and published it through a forum with no name, and also mentioned it through my own journal...

"However, unfortunately at this time, the story has gone on... Census2010 fired me suddenly without warning, March 2009, saying that my termination was due to FBI reporting of my being booked in 1976... Census2010 requested that I get Atlanta court documentation to explain to the Census Bureau the disposition of an arrest for Prostitution, and an arrest for Sexual Assault. This is the first time that I have ever heard mention of a charge of Sexual Assault... I was sitting in daytime by a street on a hillside fully dressed and propositioned repeatedly by this undercover cop, and there was never any sex, nor money exchanged, and I simply am baffled at this moment how there could even be construed to have been a possibility for a charge of Sexual Assault. And, I do believe, though these things can vary from state to state, county to county, and I am not a lawyer, a differentiation between Solicitation and Prostitution is that Solicitation is before the fact of sex and reflects intent to have sex for money, while Prostitution reflects that sex has occurred and that money is at least requested or exchanged. The charges of Prostitution and Sexual Assault were never mentioned in Fulton County court, nor were they ever mentioned to me by the public defender, and this notice to me from the FBI is the first time I have ever heard of them. I do know that it is a terrible thing to have a Sexual Assault charge in one's record ... akin to being asked if one has stopped beating one's wife (when one has never beaten one's wife)...

"So, now I follow the yellow brick road, and go onwards with this quest to seek to deal with this situation. There is that view to leave sleeping monsters asleep, to let this go and go on with my life. I would like to point out that this is 33 years later and I seem to have been fired because of an Atlanta City booking, even though I have sought to go on with my life and let sleeping monsters sleep... I think Atlanta transferred me to Fulton County, and that I went to court in Fulton County before a Fulton County judge, and that Fulton County has sealed and/or removed record of this incident as they said they would do... However, it seemed nobody told the city of Atlanta...

"I seem to be being asked by the federal government (Census2010) to clear charges (Prostitution and Sexual Assault) rather than the charge that went to court (Solicitation)... I think a court order was violated. I know I feel that my rights have never been respected in any regard in this entire situation.

"I am curious as to how the FBI is budgeted to maintain records of municipal bookings even if they never went to court. That seems to me to be outside of 'federal' scope or authority, so how do they have that right or is that a misappropriation of funding. Do keep in mind that I was fired due to an arrest record, a municipal city record, rather than due to a court disposition, as these charges never even went to court. If I had been found innocent, I could still be in this same situation...

"I became homeless due to lack of income after being fired in March, 2009. It was only July 27, 2010 that I learned that the city of Atlanta has declined to expunge my booking record, saying they have declined because I pleaded no contest in court... Keep in mind that what got me fired was the booking record, rather than the charges that actually went to court. The booking charges never went to court.

"The way I see it is this... I am subject to being fired from any job that I might actually be able to get due to this false charge against me. I kindly requested that Atlanta undo the terrible wrong it committed against two innocent youths long ago. Atlanta has declined. I would prefer to see all of this go away, to forget about it, but Atlanta is forcing me to seek to put a spotlight on this...

"I need help to make this go away, so I can get on with my life once again. Some might think that this situation should have light, and I would appreciate your help, that you at least help to make others aware of this...

"It would be less costly for everyone involved if Atlanta would expunge my record from the FBI files, something which apparently only they can do.

"The Atlanta Police Department told me I could file an appeal of the denial of my expungement with the City Solicitor. The City Solicitor sent me to the Prosecutor's Office to do this. The Prosecutor's Office sent me to Solicitor General Carmen B. Smith to do this. Solicitor General Carmen B. Smith advised me to call the Superior Court, which has advised me to visit the Police Department in person... So, I seem to have come full circle. The Atlanta Police Department sent me again back to Fulton Superior Court, which again sent me to the Fulton County Solicitor, who has advised me that it is inappropriate for the county to involve itself with a city matter. The Atlanta Police Department has now assured me again that by Atlanta city code I have right to appeal the expungement in-house within the City Solicitor's Office. For the record, I have now contacted Atlanta City Solicitors Barbara Collins and Raines F. Carter ten times seeking to gain that appeal, as is my right to do according to the Atlanta Police Department, and neither have acknowledged nor responded to me...

"If you can be helpful in this situation, please contact me at xxxxx@xxx.com or at the mailing address or telephone number provided at the start of this letter...

"Respectfully,
Walter Brooks"

3 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for your attention upon this situation. I think you are brave to do so...

    While perhaps irrelevant, recently there were 200+ murders in Los Angeles blamed on a man already in jail. I have wondered if the murders in Los Angeles are similar to the Atlanta child murders, i.e. cleaning the books with a scapegoat?

    Walter Brooks

    ReplyDelete
  2. When I was 'detained' in Atlanta, most prisoners seemed to feel destined to become part of prison work farms... I speculate that as a norm those exposed to syphilis (or whatever else) in Atlanta jail(s) were perhaps untreated and observed while in these work farms... At the time, I believe there was mention of working for 19-cents an hour making Toro lawn-mowers for Sears...

    I tend to believe that anyone hearing of slave labor prisoners in the US would seek to turn a deaf ear to such seemingly slanderous accusations in this land of freedom and opportunity, with our known political and civil rights... They might favor that proverbial shoot the messenger approach...

    However, such prisoner labor is I believe all too common in the US...

    Currently, without much in sympathetic outrage, there is the largest prisoner strike in the US on-going in Georgia. From reports I have gleaned, the prisoners in Georgi seem to be protesting lack of payment for their work, rather than protesting low payment for their work.

    http://prisonphotography.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/take-note-prison-strike-in-georgia/


    It also seems that while the strike failed to gain media attention, that the media did give some attention to the beating of non-violent striking prisoners who simply were/are refusing to work.

    www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_7536.shtml

    ~

    www.ajc.com/news/prisoners-report-beatings-in-795254.html

    ~

    http://prisonphotography.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/take-note-prison-strike-in-georgia/

    I was asked if prisoner labor was 'just a southern tradition', and I said I thought the practice was nationwide in the US...

    http://www.unicor.gov/

    It seems that prison employees, among others, are offered stock options as part of their wage, so they have a vested interest in maintaining the production output of their prisoners...

    I could speculate that Unicor operates under the auspices of the US Department of Commerce, whose former head, Daley, is now becoming Obama's chief of staff... Coincidentally, Daley would have also been above Census2010 when I was fired... One can get many pictures when one plays 'connect the dots', and sometimes these pictures could be without merit or validity.

    Hopefully, this picture of prison labor combined with my own Atlanta situation is a wrong answer to the question: What can happen to the homeless in America?

    ReplyDelete

I welcome all reactions and points of view, so comments here are not moderated. Cheerfully "colorful" language is great. I'll even tolerate some ad hominem directed against me... each other, not so much. Racist or excessively abusive comments (or spam) will be deleted at my discretion.