Mar 032018
 

by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….

A police officer at HOB Middle School has been put on paid leave for lying to the FBI. The disciplinary action follows an investigation by The Blue Paper into an alleged cover-up of gun threats at that school.

The issue quickly turned into a local “media war”. The daily paper (the Citizen) faithfully reproduced the official version: that the HOB gun threats had been “thoroughly investigated”.

The Blue Paper, challenging that version, was asking to see the Sheriff’s report that KWPD said was readily available.

The police department admitted that no such report existed and that the department had reported “untruthful accounts to the media and the Department’s Facebook page.

KWPD investigators are blaming the embarrassing fake news event on the school resource officer (SRO) David Hall and the Chief is asking for the termination of Hall’s employment.

However, the investigation only raises more questions about student safety at HOB and a cover-up culture at all levels.

This is what we found:

According to KWPD’s internal investigative report the resource officer at HOB acknowledged four gun threat incidents this school term. Yet the investigator, Lt. Kathleen Ream, found that SRO Hall made no record of them.

First Incident:
In the first incident a student, let’s call him “student one”, had sent a threatening Snapchat photo of himself pointing a gun. Hall told investigators he talked with the student’s parents and was satisfied the student would no longer have access to guns at home. No report was filed.

Second Incident:
The same photo was now circulating on social media with the added caption: “[student one’s] gonna bust a cap in yah head.” “Student one” claimed a friend had added the death threat caption. Again, no report.

Third Incident:
A different student brought an orange plastic cap gun to HOB. Hall said he wrote a report and issued a civil citation and the student was expelled. The investigator however was unable to locate the report or the citation.

Fourth Incident:
“Student one” was reported to have brought a real gun to an after-school event. Hall said he questioned the witnesses and found them unreliable. No report was filed.

THE MAKING OF A SCAPE GOAT?

The charge against Hall is that he lied to the FBI and to the State Attorney about having issued a civil citation in the orange plastic toy gun incident; a citation that investigators cannot find.

He brought embarrassment to the Department when “the Chief reported officer Hall’s untruthful accounts to the media, Department’s Facebook page, the Monroe County School District and the State Attorneys Office”.

That version of the events however might not match the facts.

The police department’s proclamation on the KWPD Facebook page stated that because “student one” lives in unincorporated Monroe County the investigation had to be turned over to the Sheriff’s Office. “They have a full report available.”

That story was the embarrassing lie. The KWPD internal investigative report shows that only Officer David Hall, not the Sheriff’s detectives, conducted the gun threat investigations. The investigators emphasize the damage to the Department’s image but never address the true origin of the fake news.

And there is another problem.

KWPD investigators claim that Hall lied to the FBI and the State Attorney about the citation that cannot be found. However, sources close to the orange toy gun student say he did receive a citation. The Blue Paper is actively trying to obtain a copy of that citation. If found it would clear Hall of this very serious accusation and create yet another source of embarrassment.

story continues below…

 

THE REAL PROBLEM

Most of our readers’ concerns revolve around one simple fundamental issue: There is a strong relationship between the police department and “student one’s” family.

The first gun threat incident took place in October. Is there some special protection surrounding “student one” that has allowed a potentially dangerous situation to overshadow school safety for all this time at HOB? In their report, the KWPD investigators don’t appear to be any more inclined to evaluate the well-connected “student one” than officer Hall was in October.

There were three reporting sources in the incident where “student one” would have brought a gun to school. “Untruthful Hall” told Lt. Ream that the witnesses recanted. But did they? There is no indication that Ream actually truth-checked Hall’s statements with the accounts of the actual witnesses. Did they in-fact see a gun?

Similarly the investigators found that Hall gave conflicting versions of whether the death threat caption was added by a friend of “student one”. But again, apparently no-one is asking “student one” whether he can identify that exculpatory friend.

Four months later no-one seems to know whether a gun was brought to school, whether the death threats were serious, or whether “student one” needs to be disciplined and given support.

A CULTURE OF COVER-UP

The report itself could be seen as essentially an attempt to deflect all blame onto the lone SRO officer. It revolves around the failure to locate the civil citation Hall claims he issued in the orange toy gun incident and fails to address the central questions concerning “special protection” of “student one”, the lack of documentation of incidents, or the source of the fake news, like the claim about a full MCSO investigation.

On February 24th The Blue Paper asked for a copy of the report of the internal investigation. The Department responded, “There was no internal affairs investigation,” yet the Chief had signed off on the investigative report on February 22nd.

At press time The Blue Paper is still waiting to receive a copy of the policies and “protocols” that the school Principal claims were followed to a tee.

State Attorney Dennis Ward informed The Blue Paper that he has reviewed the internal investigative report and has decided to delay the release of his office’s own report until all of the witnesses at the school have been interviewed.

~~~~~~`

State Attorney Dennis Ward invites anyone who has information pertaining to the gun threat incidents at HOB to contact him at (305) 812-6072.

DID YOU LIKE THIS STORY?

HELP KEEP LOCAL INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM ALIVE…

TO MAKE A MONTHLY OR A ONE-TIME VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION 

CONTRIBUTE:
Become a “Patron” by signing up to give monthly support on Patreon by clicking on the orange button below:

OR

Use PAYPAL or your Credit Card

to give either monthly

or

a one-time donation

by clicking on the button below:

[You will be sending money to Blue Pimpernel LLC [dba Key West The Newspaper]

NOTE: CONTRIBUTIONS ARE NOT TAX-DEDUCTABLE

or if you have a PAYPAL account you can always use this link to send any amount you choose:

https://www.paypal.me/thebluepaper

or send check or money order made out to:

Key West The Newspaper

1214 Newton Street

Key West, FL 33040

Facebook Comments

Arnaud and Naja Girard
Arnaud and Naja Girard, publishers and editors of the new, digital, Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) previously reported for the former Key West The Newspaper, Key West’s longest running independent weekly, published by Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D., from January 1994 until November 2012. The Girards are perhaps best known for their discovery of and extensive research surrounding the US Navy’s 1951 claim of ownership of Wisteria Island but are also responsible for top investigative stories including breaking news coverage of the highly controversial in-custody-death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day 2013, the catastrophic police tasing of Matthew Shawn Murphy, and the property tax scandal involving Balfour Beatty to name a few. Arnaud and Naja have lived in Key West since 1986.

  7 Responses to “State Attorney Expands His Investigation of Gun Threats at HOB”

  1. Arnaud & Naja,

    Concise, clear and well-written… You’ve gotten rather good at it… Thank you…

    Lies, cover-ups, perjuries, scapegoats, negligence, failures, blame; untruthful statements and rechanting; has become “standard operating procedure” for too many charged with protecting, educating and overseeing the the safety of our children.

    As related to the KWPD, do the aforementioned defects of character and serious crimes sound familiar? The only thing absent from the fraudulent “Eimers’ Killing Investigation”; is our current State Attorney Dennis Ward.

    We’ve rid ourselves of the scourge that previously held that powerful position of State Attorney. Dennis Ward is a substantiated “man of honor & action”. I’ve witnessed him, time and time again, courageously pursue justice, when it would have been convenient for him to avoid taking action. Mr. Ward’s intelligence, integrity and credibility is widely known by his colleagues and law-enforcement. Because of this, he was able to intervene and spare the lives of innocent citizens, unjustly accused.

    From my perspective, along with the beliefs of many Americans and citizens from around the world; the KWPD, Key West Mayor, City Commissioner, City Manager, Police Chief, FDLE and FBI; have the blood of Charles Eimers on their hands.

    Killing a human being is a life and consciousness altering experience. Cover-ups, obfuscation and obstruction will never relief one of their responsibility for whatever part they played in killing this elderly, disabled and innocent man.

    State Attorney Ward, please get to the bottom of the issues before us. We must make certain that those entrusted with the care and well-being of our children are held accountable, to the fullest extent of the law.

    We cannot afford the same failures, which recently allowed for the murder of 17 students and teachers while attending school.

    Blessings & Respect State Attorney Dennis Ward & “The Blue Paper Editors” Arnaud & Naja Girard…

  2. You guys are great! Thank you, once again, for lighting a fire under these incompetent’s rear ends and being the counter weight to the daily mullet wrapper.

  3. Here is the big issue for me. Yes we need to get to the bottom of whether guns were brought to school and whether students were in danger – this seems rather obvious to me…students and guns are the recipe for disaster and we have some proof in pictures.
    But my problem is the way this all was handled! Primarily by the school (principal) but also the resource officer, guidance counselor, teachers, school board, parents, police, sheriff – we don’t know exactly who or who not since we don’t see to be able to get a truthful complete story!
    We now see in the Parkalnd massacre the big story has become the MANY OBVIOUS warnings and actual REPORTS that WERE MADE to those police and others in authority, yet NOTHING WAS INVESTIGATED or DONE!
    Do we have a COMMUNICATION issue here in Key West? Or is it a bubba or incompetency issue?
    We could so easily be looking back, as Parkland now is and asking the angry tough question: WHY WERE THESE REPORTS NOT INVESTIGATED? We just happened to be lucky – this time.
    They all tell us “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING”. It takes courage for a student or parent to step up and report something this dangerous, especially where bubba justice has taken place for so many years. and a bigger problems is developing: do you think anyone will say something in the future if their pleas in the past have been ignored? I imagine many students and their parents now feel this way in Key West as no one listened – except The Blue Paper. Thank you Blue Paper!
    Monroe School Board – expect and demand more of your school principal!
    Dennis Ward – get the facts and ALL the facts. Go out of your way to personally see each and every student and parent who has PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE of these very dangerous allegations talks with YOU. Please make it easy for these students and parents to remain anonymous as I am sure they are fearful of reprisal or worse! We are trusting in you and your office Dennis. We elected you again because we saw the bubba system in action the 4 years you were gone!
    And a last comment, this is not just a school problem, this is a community problem and potentially a tourist issue – can you imagine a lunatic with a gun on Duval St some crowded day or evening? I don’t want to think about that but it could happen, look at the Las Vegas shooting, I’m sure they never thought that could happen there!
    We MUST take all these reports seriously and thoroughly investigate – not just ‘say’ we did. See something say something – right!

  4. The well-connected HOB student, who made the cap threat with a real gun on Snapshot, student one, is white, and the student with the cap gun, who got expelled, is black?

    My goodness, are the School District, KWPD, City Hall, the Key West Citizen, the Keynoter, and the white Conchs (born in Key West) gonna miss the blue paper if it shuts down on March 15 for lack of reader funding.

    I hope State Attorney Ward goes all the way through with student one, regardless of a white Conch backlash at the polls in 2020.

    I asked Naja and Arnaud about a week ago, if they had a child at HOB, would they let that child attend classes while student one is still attending classes at HOB? Naja said, yes, but she would be all over that school, trying to get to the bottom of it. I said, no way I let my child attend HOB, unless I know student one’s identity and that he is no longer at HOB.

    Is HOB/our school district another Parkland in the making?

  5. When Dennis Ward prosecuted the school theft case, I was proud of this city. I was disappointed when conch karma unseated him. The Eimer’s death was a disgrace. I had hoped that when we re-elected Dennis, that he would appoint the Eimer family’s attorney to make the cover-up case to the grand jury. I worry that Harry might have succeeded in teaching Dennis not to prosecute conchs. Parkland was a game changer. We need to protect the children in our schools from known and forseeable threats. I am shocked that the school board has not brought in another administrator as acting principal at HOB. Eimer’s blood may be on the hands of law enforcement, but our children’s blood will be all over the floor at HOB if we fail to address the real problems there.

  6. I imagine HOB parents holding their children out of school until they are told who student one is and that he was expelled and is no longer at HOB will bring this to a head pronto. Otherwise …

    The Key West Conchs, led by former city commissioner Harry Bethel, who boasted afterward about it on Facebook, beat Ward in 2012, by giving his opponent, Catherine Vogel, who would salt the Charles Eimers grand jury to bring back a no bill (no indictment), enough of a lead in Key West that Vogel slithered into getting elected.

    The white Key West Conchs were furious that Ward had prosecuted white Conch Supervisor of Schools Randy Acevedo for covering up his imported from North Carolina thieving wife Monique’s theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars of school money.

    Harry Bethel was furious that one of his sons had been prosecuted, convicted and put in prison by Ward, for robbing hard-working fishermen’s lobster and crab traps.

    Ward also had alienated voters tied in with county commissioners, by trying to get the county commission to pass a county ethics ordinance with teeth, which applied to all county employees, including county commissioners.

    I was at the county commission meeting when Ward made his pitch. 4 county commissioners looked highly offended. One county commissioner, Kim Wigington was all for it. She sponsored the new ordinance. But by the time the other 4 got through hacking it to pieces, it was worse than no ordinance, and I asked Kim during citizen comments at a later county commission meeting not to vote for it, and she voted against it, and the other 4 voted for it, and took credit for passing a county ethics ordinance.

    Kim did not run for reelection even though she could have won easily.

    Rick Boettger exposed last year in Tallahassee and at the blue paper just how much the county commissioners worry about the ethics laws.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. See our Privacy Policy here: http://thebluepaper.com/privacy-policy/

Close