Friday, February 09, 2007

Police Report Altered To Remove References To Howard

Nearly a week after police raided a west side pea shake house, the Star breaks its silence to report that the original police report was altered three days after the original report was filed to remove an unflattering statement by Sen. Glenn Howard (D-Indianapolis) at the scene of the arrest. The story of the police raid and Sen. Howard's interference with police during the arrest was first reported last weekend at IndyUndercover. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz confirmed the contents of the original police report, which included a statement by Sen. Howard defending the illegal gamblig operation, on Tuesday. And WRTV's Jack Rinehart ran a report on Wednesday, which also cited references to Howard's interference.

Sheriff Frank Anderson (D), who oversees the newly-merged Indianpolis Metropolitan Police Department told the Star's Vic Ryckaert " he saw nothing wrong with the report change." Mayor Bart Peterson said of Anderson, "I'm sure he would rectify the situation." Describing the arrest which took place, Ryckaert writes:

The situation involves the Feb. 2 arrest of Lance Howard on accusations that he ran a "pea-shake house" known as Gypsy's Paradise, 1410 W. Roache St. Prosecutors on Thursday charged Howard, 46, with three gambling-related crimes -- two felonies and a misdemeanor.

Pea-shake houses are gambling businesses that offer games in which customers pay for numbers or tickets they hope are winners.

Lance Howard is not related to Glenn Howard, an Indianapolis Democrat, but the senator told The Indianapolis Star he has known Lance Howard's family for years . . .

Patrolman Julian C. Wilkerson, a neighborhood resource officer who joined the department in February 2001, was the arresting officer in the pea-shake case. He said he was responding to complaints about loitering, drunkenness and recent gunfire at the house when he and four other officers stopped there Feb. 2, according to his report.

Wilkerson and the other officers entered the Near-Westside house and confiscated three guns and more than $5,000 in cash. He said the senator stopped him outside.

"While gathering evidence and transporting the evidence to my patrol vehicle," Wilkerson wrote, "I was approached by Indiana Democrat State Senator (Glenn) Howard, who stated, 'They don't hurt nobody, it's just pea-shake.' He then added, 'I know it's illegal, but they don't hurt anybody.' "Howard said he was in an American Legion post at 25th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets when someone came in and said several squad cars were at the house.

Howard told The Star he went to the house to see what was going on. "Black folks play pea-shakes. That's their game. White folks play bingo. . . . If they're going to put black folks in jail, put whites in jail, too."

Howard said he never asked to have his name removed from the report.

Maj. Paul Ciesielski, commander of the Metropolitan Northwest District, also went to the house the night of the raid. The house is in his district.

Ciesielski said that after seeing the initial report, he counseled Wilkerson to avoid including information not relevant to the arrest in official documents. He said he never ordered Wilkerson to take the information out and that Wilkerson decided on his own to remove those lines.

"The fact that he (Sen. Howard) was there had nothing to do with us or our investigation," Ciesielski said. "His presence did not affect our enforcement that night."

The Star obtained a copy of the original report before the second version was created. Spears said removing information from reports happens "infrequently," typically to correct mistakes. He insisted that no one pressured his department to leave Glenn Howard's name out of the paperwork.

"In hindsight, it would have been best for the officer to leave the report the way it was to begin with," Spears said.

Wilkerson declined to comment.

Anderson said he has full confidence in his officers and their supervisors.

"As far as I can tell, everybody did what they were supposed to do," Anderson said. "Nobody told this officer to take anything out of the report. I could see nothing that was done wrong."

You can bet the police officer who filed the original police report altered his report to remove the comment by Sen. Howard at the insistence from the people atop who've been protecting these illegal gambling operations for years. I'm curious why the Star didn't ask Sen. Howard how he could be in two places at one time. It was the Star afterall who reported earlier this week that Howard was one of 45 legislators purchasing tickets from the Colts to attend last weekend's Super Bowl game in Miami. Legislators purchased the tickets with the understanding they couldn't be resold or gifted to someone else. As for Howard's comments that white folks play bingo so they should be arrested as well, let's be clear that bingo games are state-regulated and licensed charitable events. As a state legislator, Howard should know that. But he would rather play the race card as he always does to cover up his own culture of corruption.

The Star's political columnist Matt Tully sees Howard's interference as an abuse of power which warrants an investigation. Tully writes:

Just like City-County Council President Monroe Gray Jr. before him, state Sen. Glenn Howard showed off his arrogance . . .

In the case of Howard, his posturing was a glaring example of the arrogance of power -- the kind of tired, deep-seated arrogance that comes to politicians who know their offices are theirs to use and abuse. They know that because gerrymandering and partisan politics ensure they will never be defeated.

Howard knows it. That's probably why he smiled constantly Thursday as I asked him about his meddling ways.

But the longtime Democratic senator is not the only one who looks bad. The newly formed Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is looking at its first public relations mess. The department not only looks bad, it looks like it's in need of an investigation. Because someone needs to better explain why there are two versions of a police report detailing the gambling house bust . . .

But it is clear officials in Marion County have long been hesitant to bust pea-shake houses. And it is clear many politicians, such as Howard and Gray, call the gambling houses cultural fixtures in the black community and criticize any enforcement of them.

Tully hits the nail on the head with this one. We've seen it all before. I don't expect much will come of it. Local elected prosecutors never have the courage to do what's right and put the people really behind these illegal operations behind bars. Does anybody really think Lance Howard is the man at the top of this organized crime ring? And Indianapolis has long been stuck with a line of politically-connected U.S. prosecutors who ignore organized crime rings tied to prominent politicians locally. If we want this mess cleaned up in Indianapolis, it's going to take action from folks in D.C. That's how it gets cleaned up in Chicago and elsewhere. Based on the track record of the current occupant of that office, I wouldn't count on it.


Anonymous said...

I could've understood if Howard's name never made the report in the first place. But once it did, it should never have been removed.

When the Major hinted that Howard's name didn't belong in the report, he entered the twilight political zone.

Tell me: if this activity is so innocent, how was nearly 6 grand in cash found, along with eight high-power weapons, and a security system that would rival a bank's ?

To complete the stereotype, all that's missing is four pit bulls and some Pacers.

Instead of making excuses, where are African-American political and religious leaders, saying what should be said:

"These houses are a scourge on our neighborhoods. Thank you, IMPD, for raiding this one. Don't stop here."

Concerned Clergy is in front of any TV camera available when they sense impropriety. And they should be. Often their voice is welcome and singular (unfortunately). Their silence here is deafening, prejudiced and inappropriate. The violence and corruption they so ardously reject, is right under their noses and they say nothing?

Anonymous said...

"You can bet the police officer who filed the original police report altered his report to remove the comment by Sen. Howard..."

I *could* bet, but it would be illegal. Heh.

Isn't bingo legal? If not, I'm reporting that Knights of Columbus hall on Delaware. Parking is terrible, and some blue haired lady almost ran me over there last week.

Seriously, Sen. Howard, the comparison is ludicrous.

Sir Hailstone said...

6:06 - Concerned Clergy don't say anything for a reason. Gifts horses and mouths and all. 10% is a nice chunk of change.

Anonymous said...

interesting point, Hail

I know a few Conc. Clergy members. I intend to ask them this question.

I have shared their concern over many issues in the past. Their voice is one that needs to be heard often times.

If they're not voicing their outrage over this, they're hypocrites. Period.

Anonymous said...

"White folks play bingo." Howard's stereotype, somehow in defense of an illegal activity, is a step away from being racist.

Flip it around. Black folks eat fried chicken, greens and watermellon.

Crap, I beat Wilson to the race card. But Glenn started it.

Wilson46201 said...

The anonymous nobodies skulking around wearing their white hoods of TCP/IP are riding again...

Anonymous said...

Other than playing the race card when no legitamate argument can be made, please explain the correlation between being against illegal gambling and racism. I guess I'm not making that connection.

The Amazing Abdul said...

The feds may be more involve than people think. Check my blog this weekend for details.

Anonymous said...

The officer was ordered by the northwest commander to remove the comments made by howard.

Anonymous said...

Major Paul Ciesielski has no business counseling ANY working Police Officer, not the capability to do so. after having spent most of his career in one rear-echelon administrative job after another. Kind of like Wilson Allen having no business or capability of being THE (self annointed/scourged) White martyr for all sins visited upon our Black brothers, both real and imagined.

Anyone really surprised here? Welcome to your IMPD. Please set your watches back 30 years.

Anonymous said...

In 1990, Glenn Howard and Bill Crawford drove Democrat candidate for prosecutor Jeff Modisett to all of the pea shake houses. Nobody was upset about it then so why now?

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous!!!! Who do we have to call? Who do we have to write to? How is this different from the corruption at Enron and Tyco and all the rest. Absolute power creates absolute corruption.

Bling-bling Anderson and Fart Peterson believe they can do anything they want. Wrong. Eventually you go to far.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall members of the white clergy community speaking out against bingo games before they were legalized and the Catholic Church's weekly pool. Leave the churches out of this discussion.

Both major political parties have elected office holders who controll our tax dollars. The African American community has always been ignored and gotten the short end of the deal as it relates to crime in our neighborhoods. Environmental racism, too many liquor stores and bars, drug dealing and illegal gambling. who really cares.

We pay taxes but get nothing in return. When we standup in protest against a liquor license for a bar in a government building, it was granted even though there was no lease, laws were broken from the beginning. The city chose to support a bar rather than a park for our children.

Evidently someone downtown did not get their regular cut during Super Bowl weekend and ordered the raid. I am not surpirsed!

Anonymous said...

Rico, raceteering...It's time for the DOJ.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, the "confimed" link goes to a Google Group called "PlaygirlMales."

Anonymous said...

The problem with this quick little news stories is NO ONE FOLLOWS UP. They let it make the headlines, do their little story and never bother to ask any more questions. Both print and electonic media do it. When was the last night you hear any of them say,"As a follow up to our story on..." You don't. INVESTIGATION does not end after you grab the moment, it means seeing it through to completion.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The misdirected link for Abdul's site was very strange. It works now. Hopefully, Abdul doesn't take it personally. I'm sure he will find the humor in it.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, how dare you make racist accusations against those who post serious policy questions. You have no right, and you're making a fool of yourself.

8:37: no stories suggest that the Major ordered the patrolman to alter the report. I don't think he'd be stupid enough to do that.

8:45, you're on the wrong site. IndyUndercover is your site. We're not here debating the police consolidation. It happened. It'll save money. Move on.

8:55, I hahve heard the Modisett rumor before and directly asked him the question last summer. He denied it.

As for involving churches--Howard stands beside the CC group on camera often. It's fair game. They display outrage on mutiple issues, and I often agree with them. It is one of the missions of men of the cloth to point out social injustice, and how we cna be helped by appllication of the Golden Rule.

Their voice is silent on this one, and it's hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

Shut down all these illegal cherry masters, pea houses, bingo halls, and any other gambling establishment that is not obeying the law.

It's not a racial thing. Illegal gambling pays no taxes, follows no standards on payouts, and supports other illegal activity.

Perhaps the State Police and Attorney General investigate whether public officials and law enforcement are protecting people that are kicking back profits and giving campaign support?

Anonymous said...

The Star Needs To Follow the Money.

Clearly local public officials and law enforcement leadership are negligent, complacent, if not corrupt.

Wilson46201 said...

Surely the anonymous nobodies aren't insinuating that Republican County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi is getting payoffs and is corrupt, lazy and/or incompetent?

Anonymous said...

This is very simply abuse of power and it opens a can of worms on what is and what is not true in police reports. Why believe anything the police write if it can be changed so easily? If what happened is common place, and at this point we have no evidence that it is not, all police reports can now be brought under scrutinity and authenticity questioned.

This is proof positive that absolute power creates absolute corruption and the city of Indianapolis is in for a dangerous times.

I will tell you this, if I ever find myself in any police report I will challenge the report because it is obvious to all citizens that it can be changed at a whim by anyone in the department. Anderson has just made a tough and dangerous job done by our officers that much harder.