Chattanooga defendant Hanson Melvin met district attorney Neal Pinkston on Thursday to demand a criminal prosecution of what he says is perjury in a police report that brought an indictment against him.
Mr. Melvin attends a hearing today in the court of Judge Don Poole and will ask for a continuance.
By David Tulis / Hot News Talk Radio
That will give the district attorney, Neal Pinkston, time to look into the accusation that bears his signature but which passed into the public realm without his knowing the first detail.
Mr. Pinkston in a 10-minute interview in his office explained the indictment process as largely operating apart from his office. Charges are sent to the grand jury and police officers swear their cases. The prosecutor’s office handles or reviews two in every 100, he said.
Gaping holes in state’s case
Our visit was intended to inform him of the underlying problem in the prosecution on highly questionable criminal misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace.
Points that Mr. Melvin and I made to Mr. Pinkston are these.
➤ The police report is contradicted not only by the defendant, but by numerous witnesses who saw Mr. Melvin being arrested “walking while black” outside his Hixson apartment complex.
➤ A police cruiser audio of Mr. Melvin’s arrest indicates that he did not raise his voice as the police officer, David Campbell, alleges under oath on the police report.
➤ The facts of the case rise nowhere near to the statutory threshold for a public disturbance.
➤ How can criminal accusations include sloppy imprecision by quoting multiple statutory provisions, some of which are outside the facts of the case? Mr. Pinkston rebutted this accusation, saying indictments can “argue in the alternative” and may include accusations that may — or may not — be pursued by prosecutors.
Efforts to obtain comment from Officer Campbell or the public information officer were not immediately successful.
If Officer Campbell indeed lied on the police report, his first lie required a second to keep it propped up and proper — and other slithery subterfuges.
Police officers testify all the time to the grand jury, in secret, without rebuttal, against citizens they accuse of crimes. The legal and court machinery accepted Mr. Campbell’s streetside report defaming Mr. Melvin. Now, the people of Hamilton County as represented by the grand jury accepted his second report, like unto it.
The jurors issued a “true bill” against Mr. Melvin, 27, a practicing Christian and member of First Baptist Church of Hixson, a factory worker and a father of three who says he’s been stopped by cops 30 times. At 20 Mr. Melvin pleaded guilty to theft, and has spent time in jail on charges he violated state laws claiming its commercial ownership of the right to travel by car (“driving on revoked”).
A true bill simple declares that Mr. Campbell’s testimony against Mr. Melvin is sufficiently strong as to warrant a trial before the petit jury of 12 to determine the facts of the case in light of the law.
It’s a crime against God in light of the oath of the witness and the oath of public office. The 9th commandment forbids the bearing of false witness, especially in matters bearing public import.
It’s a crime against a harmless man to say he caused a riot against the peace and dignity of an apartment complex parking lot when he didn’t.
It’s a crime against the so-called peace and dignity of the state which is the pretended religious and holy standard which operates in all cases where the state prosecutes a member of the public, even for a fictitious, paper or commercial crime with no moral or common law content (“driving on a revoked,” for example).
Conspiracy of lies?
If Mr. Melvin and I are correct in our report of the facts, Officer Campbell conspired with himself to maintain the lusty fictions in his police report.
But a conspiracy, a racket of two people or more, also exists. It lies in the second part of Mr. Melvin’s ordeal. That’s the followup visit moments after he had returned home from jail by cops in five cruisers who jammed themselves around his parked car.
According to Mr. Melvin, the officers ordered him and his friend, Coheleach “Cool Aid” Holmes, out of their vehicle, separated them and interrogated them. My story “Cop seizes pedestrian who refuses to show driver license; he files complaint” has the details from Mr. Melvin’s affidavit.
One officer said cops had had a call about a man walking about with a tire iron. Even if such a call had been made to the police department, would it have required dispatching five cruisers to investigate?
The question is: Were the cruisers dispatched to Mr. Melvin’s complex as official communication from the department? Or did officers direct themselves by private cellphone calls outside recorded official channels — to support Officer Campbell and intimidate Mr. Melvin?
Great virtue of cops: Fidelity
Officers prize fidelity among their membership. They are a blue brotherhood. They are a unique cadre of professionals distinct from all others. They are citizens, generally conservative politically, but they are above the citizen. Police officers are a brotherhood in arms, maintaining peace, maintaining public order, maintaining fear of the law, creating holy fear of members of the people and not taking easily to disrespect or challenges to their authority.
They keep to themselves, are a confraternity of honor and integrity, and hold high in their minds the pre-eminence of the state. To the 400-plus sworn officers in Chattanooga, if state statute is not enforced, society (as represented by the gray eminences of the state) would collapse in anarchy, confusion, disorder and mayhem.
Their faithful regard of fellow officers, protectiveness, overlooking the sins of their own is arguably required in biblical wisdom passages. A cop shares a unique calling to shield comrades. This honor is seen repeatedly in national reporting of cops’ lying after a car-chase or traffic-stop citizen execution or after a cop gets caught drunk on the job and is quietly escorted away.
Cops abandon a colleague only when they determine he can’t be saved. But until they are convinced his case is hopeless and the man is a fool, they will protect him and lie for him. Police honor, as it were, a biblical rule: “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression,” Proverbs 19:11.
‘Smooth things over’
If Mr. Pinkston opens a criminal investigation against Officer Campbell, he will have to determine if the followup “visit” was harassment or officers’ covering their tails.
Mr. Melvin says that the confrontation may have been a type of self-protective we-protect-our-own reconnaissance of him.
“They wanted to know what my mindset was. What was going to happen? Was I going to pursue them? I think he knew that I know he committed a crime, and he just wanted to see if I was angry, or was I going to let it go, or what? They wanted to see where my head was at, they wanted to smooth things over.”
Mr. Melvin said initially the encounter was threatening. But after the interview with Mr. Pinkston he says it probably was not intended to be one. “They saw me as a threat to them, and they wanted to be comfortable, because they have to go home later that night, you know, and they wanted to sleep. They want to make sure everything was going to be OK with them.”
Meet Hanson Melvin of Hixson, abused by police interests
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