Saturday, March 12, 2005


Atlanta Courthouse Murders - Heads will Roll

Rumor has it that heads are gonna roll. The new sheriff may have been in his position for only a few months, but it seems he has a lot to answer for. Specifically...
1. Why wasn't security beefed up after it was requested on Thursday?
2. Why wasn't there a procedure in place to lock down the courthouse once shots were heard?
3. Are any procedures in place that are drilled regularly like tornado drills and fire drills to practice hostage situations and shootings inside the courthouse? And if not, why not?
4. Why were memos that warned the security ratio of defendants to deputies was out of line ignored?
5. Was it acceptable under current protocols to allow only one deputy to escort a defendant from the new courthouse holding area to the old courthouse? And if so, why?
6. Was the BOLO that was issued to the agencies in the Atlanta area also extended to Marta?
7. Are the protocols written in such a way that a football player was allowed to be escorted by one middle-aged female deputy? Did political correctness play a role in the protocols instead of common sense?
8. Once the perpetrator left the building, why were no roadblocks set up in concentric rings around the area?
9. Why wasn't the entire parking garage searched?
10. Once the car was determined not to have left the parking garage, were tracking dogs brought in to determine how the perpetrator might have left? If not, why not?
11. How quickly was it determined that Nichols was the perpetrator of the assault in Buckhead at 10:40? What steps were taken once this was determined?
12. How could Nichols navigate the crowds around the Marta station and the extra security that was added for the SEC tournament and no one spotted him?
13. Were the officers that were on security for the SEC notified that this guy was in the area? If not, why not when that area was a target rich zone?
14. Have the clothes that he ditched been found?
15. Does Marta have the capacity to "live monitor" their cameras? Were they asked to with specific instructions to this individual?
16. Why didn't the Marta cameras pick up Nichols entering or exiting their stations?
17. When it was learned that he was asking for directions to Lenox, was security at the mall enhanced? If not, why not?
18. When the new sheriff assumed his duties, did he review the procedures that were in place at the jail and courthouse?
19. Did the sheriff make any changes to procedures in the jail or courthouse since he was hired? What were they?
20. Did the new sheriff have a channel for officers to express any concerns they had in regards to security or for any changes they might feel could improve the security to be expressed and acted upon?
21. Why was the coordination and search so poorly handled that all avenues for escape at all points were not explored before they were discarded for the Amber alert posting of the green Honda?
22. Which search procedures would have been altered if the green Honda had been found earlier in the day? How much time and manpower was lost by missing this piece of evidence?
23. Why were the police so wedded to the theory that the perpetrator was in a vehicle, when they had no way to verify this assumption?
24. How could manpower have been redirected if it were known he was using Marta to travel?
These are just some of the questions that all agencies need to answer. Many of the answers are obvious watching the activities of the last few days and common sense solutions should prevail without any turf wars or political wrangling. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and nothing will change without a lot of kicking and screaming by the agencies and muckety mucks involved. The public is ready to do some kicking and it is in the asses of the brass that allowed this security situation to devolve this mess.


Unbelievable Missteps By the Police

More hedging at the pressers today. Atlanta police are trying to make themselves appear to be the driving force in the arrest instead of marginal bystanders while the Gwinnett police got their man. Rita Cosby reports that Police Chief Pennington was exploring the possibilities with her as to whether Nichols had left the state when the capture was announced. Clueless!! The two people in Buckhead were assaulted at 10:40 last night, and they reported that Nichols was on foot, and no one thought to get the Marta tapes to review and see if he used the system during the day because they were assuming he was still in the car. Incompetence!! And once the car was recovered at 11:30 pm, it appears that Marta was still not contacted for their video footage. Incredible Incompetence!!! Marta has cameras at ALL of its stations, inside and out and in the parking areas, and the police didn't apparently bother to alert Marta to the BOLO because they figured he was still in the Green Honda? My goodness, the Centennial Park Parking Garage is all of 5 minutes walk to the Philips Arena/Georgia Dome Marta station. BTW, the SEC tournament is going on at the Georgia Dome next to the Marta station and rich with targets, and he was able to traverse the area through all of the security on hand for the games, board a train, and none of the officers saw him. Unbelievable Incompetence!!!! Don't these cops have comunications walkie-talkies that they can monitor for problems? Even if he walked to a different Marta station, they all have extra Marta security personnel on hand to handle the crowds for the basketball tournament, and none of them were scanning the crowds for him? Holy S***!!!!Were they even aware of the BOLO? And I'm glad to know now that the video output from the Marta stations is not observed 24/7, but the traffic cameras on the interstates are. I'll keep that in mind if I ever go downtown again. Osama should move to Atlanta....he could hide in plain site here forever.


Fulton County Sheriff's Department Problems Part 4

Link More info on other escapes and escapades at the Fulton County Jail. These deputies sure know how to secure a prisoner (sarcasm emphasized). You'd think after the first one, the brass would get a clue.


Fulton County Sheriff's Department Problems Part 3

Link More on the music video and escape of an inmate.


Fulton County Sheriff's Department Problems Part 2

Link In 2004, the sheriff's office came under fire for allowing a rap music video to be filmed INSIDE THE JAIL. During the filming an inmate escaped. Unbelievable. For more information see the link.


Fulton County Sheriff's Department Problems Part 1

Link In 2003, Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett made an unwise "investment" in an apparent quid pro quo for campaign contributions. This investment ultimately went south and the county lost over $2,000,000. See the link for more information.


Captured At Last

Link Brian Nichols is now in custody after another shooting early this morning and after a hostage standoff at the Bridgewater Apartments. I was on Sugarloaf this morning heading for the Gwinnett Arena area and saw several Gwinnett police cars heading somewhere fast. You don't mess with Gwinnett cops. They have the best communications, procedures, personnel and a bad ass reputation. Now the speculation begins. How was he able to get down eight flights of stairs at the courthouse after shooting a judge? Why was the courthouse not on automatic lockdown once any suspected shots were fired? How did he get away from the garage at Centennial Park? Was he continuing to hunt other targets? I am willing to bet that it will be proven that a) the courthouse had lax handling procedures b) the courthouse had no procedures in place to lockdown the building in case of a possible shooting c) he blended into the homeless population near Centennial Park and waited until dark to follow the train tracks behind the Philips Arena or even take the Marta train to Lenox to scout a vehicle to carjack as it is an area rich in targets and one he was familiar with and d) he was apprehended by a tip from a citizen in relation to the truck he had stolen and was intent on continuing his hunt. This guy made one huge mistake.. Atlanta Police may be the Keystone Cops, but the Gwinnett County cops are another thing. Gwinnett cops are competent, professional and make the Texas Rangers look tame. Thank God this mess is over. Now the fingerpointing begins.


Atlanta Courthouse Shootings

Link As a native Atlantan, I must say that this is a tragedy of incredible proportions. The court reporter lived only a mile or so from me. Sitting in front of the TV most of the day switching between local/national coverage and the ACC tournament, I was struck by all of the political dodging and weaving already taking place. The police, sheriff's office and jail have all been exposed in the last few years for several escapes, mistaken releases, corruption probes, and just plain old incompetence brought on by political cronyism and indifference. Each of these departments has claimed the other is infringing on their turf but have played the "not my job mon" game when something has come home to roost. All of the scandals were glossed over with the usual platitudes and lip service. Not one of these guys today was willing to step up to the plate and state the obvious--someone screwed up- let alone admit it might be their own problem. By definition, a shooting in a courtroom means that security was not secure. Many of us in Atlanta who have been watching these antics for years have made pained decisions to stay out of downtown. I have not been near Philips Arena or the Georgia Dome (2 blocks from the Centennial Parking Garage where the car was found) in 4 years. The only functions I attend near downtown are Music Midtown (where most of the crime is underage drinking and barfing) and Georgia Tech games. In both of these instances, crowds and the police presence are enough to keep you relatively safe. This city has, as usual, not shown its best side in today's mess, and I am reminded of the scandals and fingerpointing that occurred during the Olympics. We still have many of the politicians in power who prostituted themselves to enrich their own and their friend's pocketbooks and who made the city look so bad that we are the only city not to have been proclaimed to be the best Olympics yet by the president of the IOC. Many of these politicians were on the TV today fudging and obfuscating and generally doing business as usual. The incompetence of the police department's brass is on display nationally again just like the Olympic Park bombing. Twelve hours were wasted today looking for the green Honda that was ditched 3 floors down in the parking garage five minutes after it was taken. Road signs flashed and TV ran BOLOS for something that was under the cop's noses for twelve damned hours. It is inconceivable that no one thought to search this garage and every damn garage downtown. There were no roadblocks in expanding rings coordinated around the courthouse. I don't blame the cop on the street, but the brass that couldn't coordinate a tee-shirt and jeans. All of those muckety mucks were more interested in face time on TV to do a CYA and point fingers. Watching the police run from one location to another across metro Atlanta today, it was obvious that there was little if any game plan, and if they did find this guy, it would just be dumb luck.
We native Atlantans know that this city has serious law enforcement problems. Now the whole country and the world can see it, too.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?