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Well, a fun time was had by all at Island 107.1 Radio yesterday afternoon; then the real fun started.
Not in the least fun yesterday, were stone-cold reader comments under Rick Boettger’s
two County Commissioner George Neugent
articles in the current Friday online edition of Key West the Newspaper (www.thebluepaper.com). Here are blue paper links to Boettger’s articles:
Also not fun is the glacial KWPD taser article in the blue paper this week, and ice-pick reader comments thereto, which you can reach by clicking on this blue paper link:
On the same cold comfort case, the Citizen (www.keysnews.com) chimed in this morning, my happy interjected thoughts in italics:
Saturday, August 16, 2014 Add to FacebookAdd to Twitter
New probe into Taser arrest starts
Panel’s attorney says police didn’t talk to 3 eyewitnesses
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
The city panel that reviews complaints of police misconduct [Citizens Review Board – CRB] will receive the first report on a new investigation into the 2011 Taser arrest on Duval Street that left the suspect bleeding and unconscious.
Matthew Murphy, 27 at the time, has remained in a coma unable to speak since that early morning arrest.
While the Key West police consider the case closed and cleared of any officer wrongdoing, the Citizen Review Board decided last month to take another look.
There are three eyewitnesses who never talked to police, said attorney Robert Cintron, the panel’s legal adviser who is leading the investigation.
“We’re locating people who were there who have never been interviewed and asking them what they remember and what they thought,” Cintron said Friday. “That’s not a judgment on police, but it is kind of a reflection. If I can find them, why can’t someone else?”
Sure reads like a judgment to me, Robert.
Murphy’s parents, who live in West Virginia, have granted permission for the CRB to receive all medical records, said Cintron, who is scheduled to deliver his first report on the status of the investigation at the panel’s 6 p.m. Monday meeting at Old City Hall, 510 Greene St.
That might be an interesting CRB meeting to attend. I wonder if my opponents in the mayor’s race, Mayor Craig Cates and Margaret Romero will be there and speak in favor of a vigorous CRB investigation, for a change?
The CRB, which has investigated police arrests before, will conduct an “even-handed” review, he said.
The CRB has lost respect in Key West.
“There is no agenda here,” Cintron said. “We’re not looking to find anybody at fault. We just want to talk to some more witnesses so the public is satisfied that there was a thorough investigation.”
And if the CRB finds somebody at fault, will the CRB wish it had not done the investigation, or will the CRB raise bloody hell?
Cintron has also taken a sworn statement from Murphy’s girlfriend, Marie Annulysse, who is now raising her and Murphy’s 3-year-old son in Key West. That statement hadn’t been completely transcribed as of Friday, he said, but it is consistent with what the woman has said before.
“Officer (Mark) Siracuse did not announce himself before (T)asing Matthew,” wrote Annulysse in a CRB complaint dated July 23. “He lied in his report.”
That sure reads like somebody named Officer Siracuse is at fault.
The three-year wait on the complaint is because Annulysse only recently learned of the CRB, created by voter referendum in 2002 to act as an independent panel which can make recommendations or release findings after investigating complaints about police officers.
Well, the CRB has known of this case since the blue paper broke it maybe 3 months ago? The CRB has authority to launch its own investigation without receiving a complaint.
“I never knew,” Annulysse said Friday. “I just want somebody to be responsible for what happened to him. They just act like he’s a criminal. They try to justify what they did to him.”
Well, as I read in the blue paper articles and in this Citizen article, Matthew hit someone who apparently didn’t do anything wrong; someone who tried to talk Matthew into letting it slide, his racist girlfriend was drunk. I don’t yet understand why Matthew went after the racist woman’s boyfriend.
Annulysse, who works the front desk at a local hotel, is raising three children, including the son by Murphy, who is in the Miami rehab center because his family can’t afford to move him.
“Matt’s not getting any better,” she said. “It’s like a bad dream every day. I think about it every day. I can’t get this off my mind.”
Nor can I get it off my mind. Nor can lots of people who read the blue paper articles, but for which we never would have heard about this awful case, and the Citizen never would have written about it.
Police were called to a report of a “verbal disturbance” in the 300 block of Duval Street at about 3:40 a.m. April 16, 2011.
Murphy was walking with his girlfriend, who is black, when a woman on the street began calling out racial slurs along the lines of “that’s how you guys make monkey babies.”
Officer Mark Siracuse, who was in full uniform and on bicycle patrol that morning, reported he said, “Key West police,” and drew his Taser in the direction of Murphy.
Murphy ignored the light of the Taser and hauled off and punched Jason Moffet in the face in response to the racist taunts of Moffet’s then-girlfriend, police reports state.
Police officers maintain Murphy punched Moffet in spite of their order to stand down.
After the punch, Siracuse said he deployed his Taser stun gun on Murphy, who fell to the pavement and kept resisting and arguing with officers until handcuffed.
Murphy, 27, then fell back on the sidewalk but was still breathing, officers said, and within moments began bleeding from his nose and vomiting.
Police Chief Donie Lee told the CRB last month he is satisfied with his department’s review and a state attorney investigator’s finding that Siracuse did nothing wrong.
Lee said he would not order a second review of the incident, and also took issue with board members’ questioning his decision not to have the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) review the Murphy case.
Perhaps Lee should read the blue paper articles and watch the taser video and make a new statement.
“KWPD appears to have acted in a professional manner in their approach to the initial call,” wrote the state attorney’s chief investigator Christopher Weber in a 17-page report filed July 14.
Perhaps Weber needs to get an eye and ear exam, and a brain scan. A heart and soul scan might be in order, too.
The use of force was “to gain compliance,” Weber found, and Siracuse “acted within his authority as a law enforcement officer in deploying the Taser in stopping the aggressive behavior of Matthew Murphy.”
What if, as the citizen eye witnesses claim, Siracuse shot Murphey in the back without giving any warning? What happened to that evidence in Weber’s investigation? And in Lee’s?
This awful case is a good opportunity for the CRB to start regaining the public’s respect in Key West.
For me, the key issue in the Murphy case is: Did Officer Siracuse shoot Murphy in the back without warning?
Maybe tasers should not be used by police? Instead of shooting people with tasers, police shoot people with pistols, shotguns and assault rifles.
I just don’t see the angels telling me to shut up for a few days anytime soon, when baths like that are common fare in Key West Paradise Not.
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