Monday, November 30, 2015

Jury Finds Former New York Speaker Guilty On All Counts

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
A federal jury wasted little time deliberating in returning its verdict finding former New York House Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the Empire State's most powerful politicians, guilty on seven counts of public corruption, including honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering. The charges stemmed from a scheme Silver contrived using his role as Assembly Speaker to obtain $4 million in payments to his law firm. The 71-year old automatically forfeits the seat he held in New York's Assembly for the past 40 years. The same federal prosecutor is also currently prosecuting a case against Silver's former Republican counterpart in the New York Senate, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who faces conspiracy, extortion and bribery charges in connection with the awarding of a $12 million contract to a company that hired his son. Both Silver and Skelos engaged in activities many prominent Indiana politicians engage as a matter of practice with impunity because our federal and state prosecutors decline to consider such activities to be crimes.

Mayor Ballard's Son Able To Film Low-Budget Film With IMPD's Help

"Car 86" cast members from left to right, Reese Mishler, Sarah Davenport and Paul Woolfolk (Facebook Photo)
UPDATE: This year's near-record crime wave did not stop the City of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, in particular, from rolling out the red carpet to aid Mayor Greg Ballard's son, Greg Ballard, Jr., in the filming of his first movie in the Circle City. In fact, several IMPD officers have speaking roles in the movie, including IMPD Public Information Officer Chris Wilburn, who landed a lead supporting role in the movie.

The mayor's son, who studied film at Indiana University and now works for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, says he got the idea for writing the script of his new movie, "Car 86," after going on a ride-along with IMPD one night before he moved out to L.A., leaving his job with a local PR firm, Hirons & Co. You may recall that Hirons was awarded several large no-bid contracts by Mayor Ballard after the firm gave the younger Ballard a job.

The movie's plot takes place in Indianapolis and centers around a group of recent college graduates who go for a ride-along with an IMPD officer that turns into their worst nightmare. It features several little-known actors, including Reese Mishler, Paul Woolfolk and Sarah Davenport. The movie's title, according to Ballard, gets its name from the slang term "86" as the number is used in its pejorative form--to be cast out or expelled.

Ballard made numerous appearances on local TV news and radio programs while in town recently with the movie's cast and crew filming the movie, promoting it and the opportunity for locals seeking a role as an extra in the movie's filming, which took place over a two-week period earlier this month. Another fellow Hoosier, Justin Kornmann, is producing the movie, which has the backing of its high-profile executive producer, Jeffrey Reddick, best known for his "Final Destination" movie series. Ballard said the movie's low budget made Indianapolis an attractive place for its filming, especially since its theme revolves so closely around the city's police department. By all appearances, IMPD made human and other resources generously available to the filmmakers for a bargain price of just $756.

Advance Indiana submitted a public records request to the city's public access counselor on November 4 after seeing numerous local news reports about the movie's filming, noticing that IMPD cars and officers were being used to film the movie. We asked for any written agreements with the filmmakers, along with any correspondence between city officials and the filmmakers discussing the making of "Car 86." The public access counselor produced an 8-page contract dated October 30, 2015 between Car 86, LLC and IMPD detailing the terms of the city's agreement between the filmmakers and IMPD. IMPD Chief Deputy Brian Mahone signed on behalf of IMPD, while Justin Kornmann signed on behalf of Car 86, LLC, a company formed on August 3, 2015 in the state of California, and which conducts business at an apartment address on Venice Blvd. in LA. with Kornmann listed as the registered agent. The Indiana Secretary of State's online records database indicates the firm never registered to conduct business in the state of Indiana as a foreign company.

Under the terms of the contract, IMPD was required to furnish IMPD vehicles and other equipment (including non-functioning firearms) to be used in the filming of the movie. IMPD reserved the right to designate what vehicles and equipment the filmmakers could use. The company further agreed that "any use of the vehicles or equipment will be under the complete direction and control of IMPD personnel." IMPD also agreed to "allow its sworn employees an opportunity to audition for a role in the movie," and that "any IMPD employee taking part in the filming of the Movie will be doing so in an off-duty, non-law enforcement capacity." IMPD granted to Car 86 a "non-exclusive, nontransferable license" to use IMPD's trademarks, including its badge and seal "in connection with the filming, advertising, promotion, and marketing of the movie."

The contract required Car 86 to maintain insurance, including worker's compensation, damages for bodily injury and personal injury, claims for damages to property and a commercial general liability insurance policy of $1 million per occurrence with an aggregate limit of $2 million, auto liability coverage, excess umbrella liability coverage and employer's liability for bodily injury and disease. The contract also included a general indemnity clause holding the City harmless from any claims arising out of the use of IMPD personnel, vehicles and equipment, including attorney's fees.

As stated above, the compensation paid to IMPD for the use of its vehicles and equipment was just $756. This is the same police department for which Mayor Ballard repeatedly vetoed millions of dollars this year to purchase much-needed equipment, including new vehicles. Presumably, Screen Actors Guild rules governed the payment of any compensation paid to IMPD personnel like Officer Wilburn who had speaking roles or served as extras or supporting roles during the filming. The contract contains a few boilerplate clauses, but it has no restriction on the content of the movie or how IMPD and its officers are portrayed in the film, provisions that might have been prudent to ensure a favorable portrayal of the City's police department.

The agreement said nothing about any special permits the filmmakers were required to obtain while filming the movie, including the closing of city streets that were to have occurred at least at some locations in the city, including Kentucky, West, Henry and Merrill Streets adjacent to Lucas Oil Stadium. An employee of the City's Department of Code Enforcement, Dana Brill, who holds the title of Project Compliance Analyst Supervisor, e-mailed a representative of the filmmaker, Travis Berens, on November 2 inquiring if the movie filming had been completed after receiving an a-mail from Berens on Friday, October 30 at 5:45 p.m. in which Berens inquired about the process for closing off streets. "It states that you will be filming on 10/31 and 11/1," Brill wrote. "Permits are to be obtained prior to the start of any type of work and/or use of the public right-of-way," Brill added.

In Berens' October 30 e-mail, he first advised Brill of their need to close Kentucky, West, Henry and Merrill Streets for filming on 10/31 and 11/1. "We have the support and assistance of the IMPD with our film as it is an intricate part of our story," Berens said in making the belated request. "In addition to the support and help of the Mayor's office," Berens added. Berens said in his e-mail that he did not learn until the day before that he was required to contact the City's Department of Code Enforcement to obtain a right-of-way permit. Berens included a completed application with his e-mail, which he was uncertain how to complete since it didn't seem to apply to his requested use. "Our plan is to hire 2 police officers who are off duty to assist us in holding any vehicular traffic momentarily while we're filming for safety reasons," Berens stated.

On November 2 at 9:53 a.m., Officer Wilburn e-mailed Brill informing her that he was IMPD's liaison for the filming of "Car 86." "I spoke with the producers about securing authorization prior to completely shutting off vehicle traffic," Wilburn wrote. "I was advised by [Deputy] Chief [Michael] Bates regarding this issue and communicated this to the "Car 86" executive team." "Unfortunately, the email they submitted to you was too late for your authorization and approval," Wilburn continued. "As a result, I advised them that vehicular traffic could not be completely shut off." "The writer changed the script and the film crew intermediately (sic) shot video." So it appears no permits were acquired from the city for filming on city-owned property. The City of New York's film office, which is considered a very film-friendly city, requires filmmakers to obtain a $300 permit for filming in the City's right of ways. It also charges a fee of $3,200 to film inside any city-owned properties.

Other than those three e-mails and the contract, the City's public access counselor indicated no other records were found that were responsive to our request. That claim seems dubious in light of a similar response we received to a public records request made of IPS. That public records request was made after the city public records request and shortly after learning the Car 86 crew was filming at IPS' Coca-Cola Building property on Mass Avenue earlier this month. Unlike the nearly one month it took the City's public access counselor's office to produce responsive records, IPS took less than 48 hours to produce nearly two dozen responsive e-mails, along with an application and permit Ballard obtained to use the IPS-owned property for filming "Car 86." According to IPS' records, Ballard began communicating about potential property locations last June. If the City of Indianapolis' records response is to be believed, there was no prior city correspondence between the filmmakers and city officials prior to the execution of the October 30 contract after the film crew had already arrived in town and began preparing for the filming and promoting it through local media.

From e-mails produced by IPS, it appears Ballard first reached out to Bob Schultz at Downtown Indy for help in securing the Coca-Cola Building. Ballard had e-mailed Schultz on June 9 belatedly thanking him for meeting with him at the Happy Hour on Georgia Street. Schultz responded back the same day indicating his willingness "to help [Ballard] in any way you need when you come back to shoot your production here." Ballard followed up with another e-mail to Schultz on September 16 indicating he was a month away from starting production of his movie. Ballard indicated the filming crew fell in love with the Coca-Cola Building while scouting filming locations and wondered who he needed to contact to secure its use. Schultz referred Ballard to Abbe Hohmann, whom he indicated was the real estate consultant for IPS. Hohmann, incidentally, was hired by the City of Indianapolis for her assistance in determining space utilization for what turned into the costly Regional Operations Center Project. [Note: Hohmann indicates her contract with her former employer, Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, on that project was terminated by Public Safety before any final lease agreement was worked out for the ROC and she received no compensation from the City for that work as indicated in an earlier version of this story. We apologize for the error.]

Ballard followed up with an e-mail that same day to Hohmann asking about using the exterior of the property for one day's filming work for the movie. In an e-mail exchange, Ballard indicated the film crew was interested in using the property for a day or two around Halloween. Hohmann indicated that it would be okay to use the property at that time. Ballard indicated to Hohmann that the film crew would be accompanied by a police officer for security purposes. Hohmann put Ballard in touch with Scott Martin, IPS' Deputy Supt. of Operations to work out the logistics of using the property. Martin's assistant, Robyn McCray followed up with an e-mail to Ballard on October 15 providing him an application to complete for use of the property and requesting he return it, along with the required certificate of insurance. Ballard responded to McCray by e-mail on October 22 with an application and certificate of insurance attached to his e-mail.

The application for use of the Coca-Cola Building is signed by Ballard on August 22, 2015 seeking to use the property on September 1, 2015. I'm assuming the dates written on the application was an error on Ballard's part since he wasn't sent the application until October 15 and had originally inquired about using the property on October 31 or November 1. Ballard identified himself on the application as the applicant and affixed his signature to it, using his father's residential address in Pike Township. Ballard indicated on the application that IMPD would be providing security during the filming in responding "No" where the application inquired if security would be needed. IPS issued a permit to Ballard on October 22, 2015 authorizing him to use the Coca-Cola Building for filming on November 1. The permit contained a disclaimer that IPS was not endorsing, supporting or advancing the activities or goals of the organization using its facility. The permit further prohibited the use of tobacco or alcohol on the property. IPS did not require Car 86 to pay anything for the use of the property.

Wilburn has described his own role in the movie as Marcus Wilder during interviews with local media. "Marcus Wilder, he’s excited about being a police officer," Wilburn said. "He’s been a police officer for quite some time and he’s a season professional." "There’s a cocky arrogance about his personality, which I hope will play on camera," said Wilburn.

Advance Indiana, by chance, captured a couple of photos of the "Car 86" film crew filming a scene in the downtown area with Wilburn early on the morning of November 10, about the same time local Pastor Davey Blackburn reportedly returned to his northwest side home on Sunnyfield Court and discovered his wife, Amanda Blackburn, laying face down on the couple's living room floor in a pool of blood, dying from a head shot wound she suffered at the hands of a serial home invader, Larry Taylor. News reports would later indicate Blackburn's killing was the culmination of a months-long crime spree by Taylor and two accomplices during which the trio committed multiple home invasions without being apprehended.

On November 10, the "Car 86" crew was filming a scene with Officer Wilburn at the Indiana War Memorial. It's unclear what other IMPD officers had paid roles in the filming of the movie as the scant records produced by the department indicated only Wilburn's participation by name, in which he identified himself as the department's liaison to the filmmakers, in addition to having a paid role in the film. Advance Indiana is left wondering if the October 30 agreement between IMPD was backdated after our public records request was made on November 4. It wouldn't be the first time city officials under this administration have been caught backdating documents, particularly in response to public records requests. There's little doubt the City did not produce all records responsive to our request, which included any e-mails or other correspondence from the mayor's office concerning the filming of "Car 86," in addition to IMPD, the Parks Department or Department of Code Enforcement.
"Car 86" film crew filming scene outside Indiana War Memorial with Officer Wilburn in his role as Marcus Wilder

Greg Ballard, Jr. and Officer Chris Wilburn appeared on the Indiana State Police Road Show on November 1, 2015 to discuss their respective roles in the filming of "Car 86."

Hamilton County Officials Claim They Can't Afford To Allow Construction Of Lower-Priced Homes

There's quite a particularly galling story in the IBJ this week where Hamilton County officials openly talk about their desire not to have any new homes constructed in their community that aren't at a minimum price point that places many would-be homeowners out of the market. The gist of the story is that the state's property tax cap law means local governments can't afford to pay for extra fire, police and other services unless the property taxes generated from a new home hits a certain level. This supposed break-even price level for new homes is somewhere between $250,000 and $400,000 according to Lindsey Erdody, the story's author. The median price of new homes being built in Hamilton County is about $230,000.

Municipalities in Hamilton County are forcing housing developers to meet minimum infrastructure requirements, which is pushing the median price of new homes upwards. “It’s a little frustrating,” Boomerang Development LLC President Corby Thompson said. "We’re at the point now where we can’t develop new housing for people of modest or below-modest incomes." Hamilton Co. officials complain that property tax caps are a chief culprit for the predicament they say they're facing. Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness even blamed the homestead deduction for reducing property taxes on residential property. "We need as much assessed value as possible," Fadness said.

Nowhere in the story is it mentioned that municipalities in Hamilton Co. have relied heavily on TIF districts to subsidize new development within their communities. One reader made this point in the comment section to the story. "In 2013, Hamilton County cities diverted over $48 million away from all taxing authorities," David Giffel wrote. "I can easily argue many of these developmentswould have happened, anyway." He continued, "The cities divert about $12 to $15 million away from their own General Funds! All so they can give this to business property tax developments! A developer of homes must pay for its infrastructure and so why not the same for business property owners? Then the problem is solved." Hey, don't confuse them with the facts, David.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spokane Mayor Covered Up Sexual Harassment Claims Against Straub According To Public Records

Public records obtained by a Spokane TV news station, KREM, reveal that a former spokewoman for the Spokane Police Department had complained about sexual harassment by her former boss, Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub, before she was transferred to a much better paying job. Mayor David Condon's office handled the matter discretely by transferring Straub's accuser, Monique Cotton, to a similar job in the parks department paying $10,000 more than the $80,000 she was paid by the police department.

According to the public records obtained by KREM, Cotton complained that Straub had grabbed her butt and tried to kiss her, and that the mayor had ignored past allegations of Straub harassing and creating a hostile work environment when he hired the former Indianapolis Public Safety Director for the police chief's job. Condon's office defended their decision not to make Cotton's allegations public because Cotton had not wanted to make her accusations public. Straub's attorney is furious with the former mayor because Cotton's complaint was not brought to his attention for response and no formal investigation had ever been conducted to determine the validity of Cotton's allegations.

Cotton never submitted a formal complaint against Straub; rather, she met with the City Administrator, Theresa Sanders, in April of this year to voice her concerns. Sanders recorded hand-written notes of her meeting with Cotton in which she described her as being "distraught" over allegations Straub had "grabbed her ass and tried to kiss her." Sanders forwarded her notes to Mayor Condon. Cotton later wrote a letter to Sanders describing her conditions for being moved to another position in city government.
"My transfer to a new position has to be viewed as advancement; without any hint that it is for any reason other than as a promotion for my past performance. I'm happy to participate in any investigation regarding the way I was berated on March 31, and other times I was berated however cannot cooperate with any investigation regarding the matters I presented confidentially to the Mayor and you because of the inevitable publicity and disclosures that will impact me and my life in every way – physically, emotionally, and professionally."
After Condon moved Cotton to her new job in the parks department, an attorney acting on her behalf starting writing letters to the city demanding reimbursement from the city for Cotton's legal expenses in an extortion-like fashion. Cotton's attorney threatened to go public with her allegations against Straub if she wasn't reimbursed over $13,000 for the attorney's fees he says she incurred. Cotton's attorney said a formal complaint would include allegations that Mayor Condon ignored Straub's past history of inappropriate behavior with female subordinates according to KREM. Straub later resigned in September after police officers brought a formal complaint against him; however, his attorney claims he was forced to resign by the mayor. Straub was allowed to draw a pay check through the end of the year under the terms of his resignation, but he subsequently filed a lawsuit demanding more money from the city.

Before Straub left his job as Indianapolis' Public Safety Director, it was learned that he had started a romantic relationship with a female co-worker he supervised. Upon accepting his new job in Spokane, it was revealed that he and former Animal Care & Control Director Amber Myers were engaged to be married. Myers quit her job in Indianapolis and moved to Spokane where she married Straub and obtained a job as an administrative law judge for Spokane city government.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Indianapolis Council Plans To Boost Council Member's And Mayor's Salary By 32%

The lame duck City-County Council plans to push through an end-of-year Christmas present for incoming Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett and the 25 council members elected at this past municipal election in the form of a pay raise. Under the proposal, the salary of the mayor and council members would increase by more than 32%. The mayor's salary would go from $95,000 to $125,000. The part-time council members would be paid a base salary of $16,500, $4,000 more than the current $12,500 they are paid to attend a couple of council meetings per month. Council members are also paid an additional $112 per diem for each committee meeting and council meeting they attend, which would easily boost their annual pay to over $20,000.

"We believe that it’s important that we do look at those salaries because we want to ensure that we have the best and the brightest that are responsible for running our city," City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said. It's funny because I don't remember hearing any candidates in this past election mention while they were campaigning for office that they believed the jobs to which they were seeking election paid too little. "Obviously, I did not run for this position because I was concerned about the salary," Hogsett said. "So I’ll defer to the judgement of the leadership that’s currently in power." To translate Hogsett's words, "I asked Lewis to make sure she got my salary increased to a six-figure salary I'm accustomed to earning by the time I take office on January 1."

There, of course, are plenty of perks with the office. They get free health care benefits with the job.The mayor and council members can attend Colts and Pacers games and concerts for free and eat and drink for free in the suites at Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Life Fieldhouse. They're all offered free tickets to the Indianapolis 500 every year. They frequently get wined and dined at upscale restaurants. Mayor Greg Ballard managed to take at least 10 overseas junkets while he was mayor, accompanied by his wife and campaign contributors, while pretending the purpose of his trips was to promote trade with other countries. Some council members finagle free trips as well. The mayor gets a taxpayer-financed car and driver, along with his 24x7 security, and Mayor Ballard accepted free membership to several country clubs. Hogsett says he won't accept those extra perks that comes with the office.

NOTE: Under current city ordinance, the mayor also receives an annual $7,500 contributed to a deferred compensation plan, an expense account covering any expenses he incurs in the performance of his duties and is able to participate in pension, health care and any other benefits offered to other civilian city employees.

Members of the council can earn up to $5,000 in additional income above their base salary to attend regular council and committee meetings. Their base salary is pegged at 12% of mayor's salary. The per diem is $112 for regular council meetings and $62 for attendance at council committee meetings. Some members serve on more committees than others so their per diem income will exceed that of other council members. The council president is paid an additional $2,000, while the vice president, majority leader and minority leader receives an additional $1,320 in salary. Committee chairpersons receive an additional $800 in pay. Council members are entitled to participate in the same employee benefits offered to other elected employees of the City-County government.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

American Missiles Given To ISIS Used Against Russia

ISIS rebels uploaded video to the Internet showing their glee in shooting down a Russian jet fighter in Syria near the border with Turkey, shooting and killing one of the pilots of the aircraft as he parachuted down to the ground and then using a U.S. Tow missile launcher to blow up a Russian rescue helicopter sent in to retrieve the downed pilots. At least one Russian marine died during the attack on the Russian rescue helicopter. The American people need to awaken to the fact that ISIS is the creation of the United States and ask why our government is creating, funding and arming these terrorists to wreak havoc throughout the world.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Presidential Medal Of Freedom For What?

President Barack Obama bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton when he awarded him, along with another fellow Hoosier. William Ruckelshaus, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A White House press release credited Hamilton with being one of the "most influential voices on international relations and American national security over the course of his more than 40 year career," including chairmanship of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Iran-Contra Select Committee. He was also credited for his roles chairing the Iraq Study Group and serving as Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission since leaving Congress.

Frankly, it is an insult to all Americans and his fellow Hoosiers that this high civilian honor was bestowed on Hamilton by the President. All of the reasons cited for awarding Hamilton this award are the very reasons he is not deserving of this honor. The fact is that Hamilton never served the role of watch dog over the nation's growing military/industrial complex; rather, he served as their favorite go-to Democrat to cover up their most insidious creations. The list of his treachery is so long it's difficult to no where to start.

Hamilton should be ashamed of his role in helping cover up the cause of the death of 909 Americans in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, which included dozens of his fellow Hoosiers and a congressional colleague and leading critic of the CIA, U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA). If Rep. Ryan had not been assassinated at the People's Temple compound run by former Indianapolis resident, Rev. Jim Jones, he would have been able to tell the American people about how the CIA employed Jones in a sick and twisted mind control program at Jonestown that equated to a Nazi-like human concentration camp. Hamilton and his fellow Committee on Foreign Affairs members, including two other Indiana congressman, Dan Quayle and Floyd Fithian, covered up the CIA's role in Jonestown during its investigation of Ryan's assassination, one of the only sitting members of Congress ever to be assassinated in the performance of his duties. Hamilton and his colleagues even heaped praise on Richard Dwyer, the CIA station chief who was present during the massacre that took place on November 18, 1978.

In 1986, Hamilton and fellow U.S. Rep. Dick Cheney were very quick to dismiss media reports that Lt. Col. Oliver North was involved in an arms-running operation for the Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government with money raised by selling arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American-held hostages. When one of the American planes funding the Contras was shot down in October, 1986, the truth could no longer be denied. To the law-breakers good fortune, Hamilton was put in charge of the congressional investigation, which covered up Vice President Bush's role in leading the illegal operation, as well as the drug-running operation that utilized an air strip owned in Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua owned by one of Hamilton's constituents, John Hull. It was Hamilton who decided to allow Oliver North to testify under a grant of immunity, making it impossible for the independent counsel investigating the crimes to bring those responsible to justice. It wasn't until after Hamilton left Congress that the House Intelligence Committee was finally able to conclude in 2000 the CIA's role in protecting drug traffickers, which Hamilton had always dismissed as the stuff of conspiracy theorists.

Hamilton's crowning achievement came when he and other members of the 911 Commission, including fellow Hoosier and former U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer (D), whitewashed the key role the Saudi government played in financing the hijackers accused of committing the 911 terrorist acts. Hamilton has remained mum while a fellow Democrat, former Florida U.S. Senator Bob Graham has publicly demanded the U.S. government release information the 911 Commission concealed about the role the Saudis played in 911. That should come as no surprise since Hamilton now openly admits who his true servant has been throughout his career--the CIA, where he serves in an official role as one of its "outside" advisory members.

In contrast to Hamilton's career role serving as a cover up artist for the military/industrial complex, fellow Hoosier Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, William Ruckelshaus, is recognized for his decision to resign as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, along with his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, rather than carry out President Richard Nixon's order to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate-related crimes, which reminds me how little interest Hamilton has shown through the years in the fact that so many CIA operatives were involved in the Watergate crimes. Only someone with the treacherous, treasonous mind of Allen Dulles would ever pin a medal on Lee Hamilton.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Matt Drudge Sees The Light

The American people should be asking why President Barack Obama has been deliberately setting the stage for World War III. A bit ironic that the man awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before he stepped foot in the White House has turned out to be the most evil, cold-blooded man to occupy the presidency besides Andrew Jackson or Lyndon Johnson.

Chicago Officials On Edge As Dash Cam Video Of Controversial Police Action Shooting Is Released

Dash cam video of a black ,17-year old male high on PCP being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer has finally been released after city officials fought for the past year to block its release. Faced with no other choice after a judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release video of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald that occurred more than a year ago, Cook Co. State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today she was charging Officer Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who shot McDonald, with first degree murder ahead of the release of this evening's release of the video. A Chicago judge ordered Van Dyke held in the Cook Co. Jail without bail. Prosecutors said Van Dyke began firing at McDonald within six seconds of exiting his car, emptying all the bullets in his gun's chamber even after McDonald fell to the ground. Prosecutors say Van Dyke was starting to re-load his gun when another officer ordered him to stop. City officials agreed this past spring to pay McDonald's family $5 million to settle a threatened wrongful death claim against the city. Eighteen citizen complaints had been filed against Van Dyke during his 14-year career with the police department, including eight for using excessive force, but he had never faced discipline by the department. City officials are on edge tonight, worried the release of the video might spark rioting.

ACLU And Refugee Group Sue Pence Over Syrian Refugees

A supposed plan by the nonprofit group Exodus Refugee Immigration to resettle a Syrian family in Indianapolis next month until Gov. Mike Pence joined more than half of the nation's governors in calling for a halt of all refugees from the civil war-torn country has now led the group to join the ACLU of Indiana in filing a lawsuit against the state of Indiana, which accuses Gov. Pence of violating the refugees' right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution because Gov. Pence didn't call for a halt of refugees from other countries. The lawsuit is perplexing for no other reason than Gov. Pence lacked any real authority to block Exodus from resettling Syrian immigrants.

When Exodus announced last week that it was sending the Syrian family to Connecticut instead of Indiana in response to Gov. Pence's announcement last week, Connecticut's liberal Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy quickly called a press conference at which he hurled personal insults at Gov. Pence, accusing him of being a bigot and re-stirring the debate over the enactment of Indiana's RFRA law, not unlike one Malloy's own state had enacted years earlier, by claiming Pence had signed the legislation into law because he was homophobic. Exodus, under federal law, could have proceeded with the resettlement of the Syrian family in Indianapolis as it claims it planned to do, but it chose to politicize the event and make an example of only Indiana and its governor.

Neighboring Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is Jewish and Republican, was not targeted by the group after he joined Pence and other governors in calling for a temporary halt on Syrian refugees due to concerns some terrorists tied to ISIS were using refugee resettlement programs as a gateway into the United States. Exodus has ignored Gov. Rauner and continued resettling Syrian immigrants in the Chicago area without filing a lawsuit against him or the state of Illinois. "Exodus continues to welcome refugees, including Syrians arriving in Chicago, because we trust the secure vetting process the U.S. government, the federal government has put in place," Julie Carsen, a senior director of programs at Exodus told the Chicago Sun-Times. Similarly, the Jewish Federation of Chicago, which like Exodus contracts with the State Department to resettle refugees, told the Sun-Times it was proceeding as if nothing had changed following Gov. Rauner's announcement.

So let there be no doubt that Indiana is once again ground zero for yet another psyop being waged against this state by people seeking to radically transform this nation. Also, never forget that the ACLU was behind the very RFRA law Gov. Pence signed into law earlier this year. The ACLU helped draft the original federal law passed by Congress more than two decades ago with near unanimous support and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The ACLU of Indiana had nothing but words of condemnation when the Indiana General Assembly passed and Gov. Pence signed RFRA into law here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Making Sense Of The Amanda Blackburn Killing Timeline

Larry Taylor (left) and Jalen Watson (right)
When news reports first announced early this morning that IMPD had arrested the young black men they believe were responsible for the home invasion and killing of Amanda Blackburn, wife of the local pastor of Resonate Church, Davey Blackburn, questions about the timeline of events recounted by police and prosecutors became a central concern of skeptics. Police said three men, Larry Taylor, Amanda's 18-year old accused killer, and two accomplices, Jalen Watson (21) and Diano Gordon (24), broke into two other homes in opposite parts of town prior to the Blackburn home invasion. That created a problem since the first break-in on San Clemente Drive had been reported to have occurred at 5:30 a.m. on the morning of November 10, about the same time police believed the trio had broken into one of the Blackburns' nearby neighbor's home. A probable cause affidavit filed in connection with today's announced charges against Taylor and Watson alters that timeline by close to an hour to account for the earlier timeline discrepancy.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the first break-in of an apartment at the Cottages of Fall Creek on the City's northeast side in Lawrence occurred earlier than 5:30 a.m. The apartment's owner says she awoke to discover the robbery of her apartment while she and her two daughters slept at 4:30 a.m. That's when she noticed her cell phone was missing and her patio door was left open with plants knocked over. Upon further search of her apartment, she realized she was missing a computer, along with her purse and keys and her Chrysler Sebring in the parking lot. The burglarized apartment owner waited almost an hour until 5:23 a.m. to report the break-in according to the police affidavit. The victim had a security system in her apartment that was motion-activated, and upon review by police, three men were captured by still images rummaging through her apartment. The burglars disabled the camera after their images had already been recorded.

These same three men traveled west at least 10 miles to the opposite side of town after leaving the apartment in the 5700 block of San Clemente Drive to the subdivision where the Blackburns home was located on Sunnyfield Court. The three men first entered the home at 2830 Sunnyfield Court, a few doors down from the Blackburns' home. A security camera inside that home was disabled at 5:36 a.m. The homeowner called police at 8:17 a.m. to report her home had been burglarized. They entered the 2830 home by tearing through a patio screen window and unlocking a dead bolt lock on the sliding door. The three men stole three TVs, a computer, a bag of oranges, bed sheets and a pink sweater from the home. The suspects took time to drink beer and wine while in the home, leaving behind the empty bottles. The men left though the front door, which the homeowner discovered was unlocked when she returned home shortly after 8:00 a.m.

Davey Blackburn would call 911 to report that his wife had been found shot and laying on the floor of their living room only minutes after his neighbor telephoned police. His 911 call was placed at 8:22 a.m. Here's where it gets really interesting. Blackburn told police he left for the gym at around 6:00 a.m. through the front door of his home a few doors down from his neighbor's home on the dead-end, cul-de-sac. The front door, which he left unlocked, would be the same door the suspects used to enter the home. Medics were dispatched to the home at 8:30 a.m, who called police for back-up due to the nature of Amanda's injuries. Medics were carting Amanda away at about 8:44 a.m. just as Officers Richard Crosby and Larry Crowe were arriving. Amanda was transported to Methodist Hospital where she would die the following day.

Detective Pete Perkins was dispatched to Methodist Hospital to question Davey Blackburn at 9:01 a.m. He learned Amanda had suffered three gunshot wounds, one to the head, one to the lower arm and one in her upper left back. Davey told the detective he left the LA Fitness gym about 7:10 a.m. and was talking on his cell phone to a friend (name redacted) as he was leaving and during his drive home. Davey says he pulled into his driveway at about 7:30 a.m.; however, he said he remained in his car talking on the phone to his friend for almost another 40 minutes. When Davey entered the front door of his home at 8:20 a.m., he discovered Amanda lying face down in a pool of blood on the living room floor. Amanda's panties had been removed and were lying next to her. Amanda's shirt had been pulled up as if someone had attempted to take it off. The report says it's unclear whether she had been sexually assaulted. Blackburn also noticed Amanda's credit cards and wallet lying on the floor. Davey noticed Amanda's purse on the kitchen counter, along with a Swisher Sweet cigar package, which he said should not have been in the house. A decorative ladder and lamp were also found knocked over in the living room next to Amanda. Her cell phone was found in her bedroom, which had a message on it from Chase Bank at 7:53 a.m. indicating possible unauthorized use of her ATM card. A laptop computer was discovered missing from the Blackburn home.

Neighborhood witnesses say they saw the young black man captured on a neighbor's surveillance camera heading away from the Blackburns' home at approximately 7:10 a.m. Another neighbor saw this man wearing a hoodie get in a Chrysler Sebring on a nearby street, which appeared to match the description of the car stolen from the apartment on the northeast side on San Clemente Drive. An ATM receipt requesting a withdrawal of $500 using Amanda's ATM card at a bank location on N. Michigan Road, which was denied, was found in the car. It was time-stamped 6:36 a.m. The men were able to successfully withdraw $400 from her account at a location on W 86th Street at 6:54 a.m. A pink sweater belonging to the neighbor whose home had also been robbed was found on the car's floorboard. Police also found bed sheets, a bag of oranges and an AT&T U-Verse remote in the trunk.

Another neighbor near the Blackburn home told police she heard what sounded like gunshots around 6:45 a.m. The stolen Sebring was found on Rockwood Avenue the following day around 10:30 p.m. In addition to the three gunshot wounds, an autopsy report noted that one of Blackburns' lower front teeth had been knocked out, and that she had scratches on her left cheek and a split lip. Surveillance camera images at the ATM machines and DNA testing helped tie the accomplices to the murder and burglaries Taylor is accused of committing. Police used cell phone pings to tie the suspects' cell phones to the various crime scenes at the times they were believed committed.

Police obtained confessions to the crimes from Watson and Gordon during subsequent interrogations, who implicated Taylor in the killing of Amanda. They were planning to leave Taylor behind in the subdivision after they left it with Amanda's ATM card, which Taylor had told them he retrieved from the Blackburn home after busting Amanda in the home. He later threatened to kill Amanda if the two didn't return to the subdivision to pick him up after going to ATM machines to get cash using her ATM card. The two claimed Taylor later told them he had shot Amanda before he left the home. All three men have had numerous run-ins with the law as their rap sheets can attest. Some people have wondered what the Blackburns' dog was doing during the home invasion. There no mention of it in the probable cause affidavit. One would think the dog would have been barking and trying to defend Amanda. Neighbors don't mention hearing a barking dog. A police detective did mention during an earlier press conference that the dog was present at the home and greeted them when they arrived to investigate on the morning of the shooting.

The Indianapolis Star has posted the full probable cause affidavit here.

IPS' Hiring Of Former Ballard Top Advisor Raising Concerns Of Political Cronyism

David Rosenberg
Downtown insiders could barely hide their glee when long-time black radio talk show host Amos Brown, one of the city's biggest critics of recent changes at the Indianapolis Public Schools, dropped dead of an apparent heart attack on November 6. No topic got Brown more exercised than the so-called education reforms and innovations being initiated by IPS school board members elected during the last two election cycles whose campaigns were bankrolled by private interests seeking to cash in on those reforms and innovations. Brown had also questioned recent hiring decisions by IPS, including the hiring of a former top Ballard adviser, David Rosenberg, as the school district's new operations officer. From what Advance Indiana has been able to learn, Brown's concerns were well-founded.

When IPS officials advertised the position for operations officer earlier this year, it called for a person with a bachelor's degree in architecture or engineering and a minimum of four years of related training and experience. It got neither when the IPS board voted in September to hire Mayor Greg Ballard's former Director of Enterprise Development at an annual salary of $142,000, more than double what Rosenberg had earned in his former city job, the only prior job he held after graduating from law school in 2011. The position advertised by IPS sought someone with knowledge of HVAC systems, plumbing, computer network wiring and lighting, the ability to oversee construction projects for compliance and oversee equipment installation, facilities repair and preventive maintenance, among other job responsibilities, none of which Rosenberg's law degree or undergraduate degrees in history and political science prepared him to do.

According to Rosenberg's biographical narrative, he was hired by Mayor Greg Ballard's former chief of staff, Chris Cotterill, as an intern straight out of law school in May of 2011. Following his internship, Mayor Ballard named Rosenberg as his Director of Enterprise Development where he was involved in the most controversial projects undertaken by Ballard during his second term including: the costly, one-sided agreement for the Regional Operations Center with a political crony of Mayor Ballard, which is costing taxpayers more than $20 million; the failed attempt to privatize the development of a new criminal justice center rejected earlier this year by the City-County Council, which cost taxpayers more than $18 million to unwind to pay for illegal, no-bid contracts awarded to political cronies of Mayor Ballard; the illegal and one-sided contract the City entered into with Vision Fleet, a newly-formed company with no experience, to lease a fleet of electric cars at a cost to city taxpayers of more than $27 million; and the illegal and one-sided agreement with Blue Indy, allowing a French-owned company, Bollore', to seize hundreds of the City's most valuable public parking spaces at no charge to the company, along with an additional $6 million cash subsidy, to operate its electric car sharing business.

Sources tell Advance Indiana that political insiders with close ties to a number of the IPS board members engineered the hiring of Rosenberg for their personal benefit. Political insiders are particularly interested in IPS' plans to sell its valuable Coca-Cola property in the booming Mass Ave business district, which just recently got underway, and Rosenberg's new job places him right in the middle of that real estate project. Developers are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to acquire what is considered one of the most highly-sought after parcels of property in downtown Indianapolis.

Among the firms said to be interested in the property is Shiel-Sexton, which has been involved in numerous high-profile public construction projects in Indianapolis, including the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center, Eskenazi Hospital and the construction of fire stations for the City of Indianapolis. It has also been involved in a number of school construction projects locally, including construction of the Christel House Academy Charter School and Cathedral High School. Shiel-Sexton's managing partner is Brian Sullivan, the husband of Mary Ann Sullivan, an education consultant and former Democratic state lawmaker who was elected to the board last year after education profiteers poured tens of thousands of dollars to bankroll her unprecedented, high-spending campaign to win a seat on the IPS board. Sullivan has reportedly announced she will recuse herself from voting on real estate/construction-related matters as an IPS board member, presumably because of her husband's interest in pursuing those deals.

Advance Indiana hears the insiders are up to their old tricks of figuring out how to make an extremely valuable piece of property in the downtown area look less attractive to justify an acquisition of the property on the most favorable terms for the developer. This has included raising the tried and true method of devaluing the property by claiming it has environmental contamination issues in need of remediation, which seems to be a problem with every downtown parcel if you believe these greedy developers who pretend they are only able to undertake the risk of developing downtown if they're given the property for free with tens of millions in public subsidies thrown in to spice up the deal.

IPS' outside legal counsel is Faegre Baker Daniels, the same law firm that has represented the school district for many years. When Rosenberg's former boss, Chris Cotterrill, left his job at the city, he joined the law firm as a partner, specializing in public-private partnership agreements. Cotterill left Faegre Baker Daniels earlier this year to become Executive Vice-President and Corporation Counsel for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the state agency that doles out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to private companies for economic development. Kelly Bentley, another IPS board member who makes a living as an education consultant and whose campaign was bankrolled by the education profiteers last year, is the half-brother of David Suess, a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels.

Advance Indiana will be watching very closely how IPS handles the sale of the Coca-Cola property, which knowledgeable sources believe will be tied to a hefty public subsidy to the "buyer" from the City of Indianapolis' downtown TIF district. The City has already doled out public subsidies to favored downtown developers reaching into the billions of dollars since the TIF district was first created more than three decades ago. Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett ran for mayor this year promising to put an end to the downtown insiders who he says "cheat the system" and "steal our tax dollars." But because Hogsett relied on those same downtown insiders to finance his $4 million campaign for mayor and turned away whistle blowers who repeatedly sought his assistance in prosecuting these corrupt insiders throughout his tenure as federal prosecutor, Advance Indiana believes it will be business as usual under his administration and Hogsett has already secretly-agreed to secure a pot of money for the development of the Coca-Cola property.

It's not just the Coca-Cola deal that has people concerned. IPS earlier this year entered into a one-sided deal with the Phalen Leadership Academy to operate a charter school within the IPS district at the former School 103 property known as the Francis Scott Key School. Under its agreement with Phalen Leadership Academy, the private, for-profit charter school company is getting free use of the School 103 property, while IPS picks up the tab for all of its costs, including building maintenance, salaries, student transportation costs and even snow removal. The lone board member to vote against that deal was Gayle Cosby, the only IPS board member not bought and paid for by the education profiteers. The Mind Trust was instrumental in brokering the deal through a fellowship agreement. That's the same non-profit with whom another IPS board member, Caitlin Hannon, recently accepted employment after supporting the deal with Phalen Academy. Hannon's job responsibility at The Mind Trust includes launching a shared enrollment system for IPS, which she championed before leaving the IPS board.

The Mind Trust is behind plans to launch yet another similar charter school within IPS' district, Global Preparatory Academy, which is scheduled to open next August. Mariama Carson, the wife of U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D), has been hired to launch that new charter school, which will target Hispanic students as a dual-language school. The Mind Trust is paying Carson's $90,000 a year salary, plus benefits and a $20,000 stipend. Global Preparatory Academy, plans to utilize one of IPS' under-utilized properties to operate this new charter school near the Lafayette Square area.

18-Year Old Charged In Amanda Blackburn Rape And Murder

Larry Taylor and Jalen Watson
Larry Taylor (left) and Jalen Watson (right)
The investigation of a deadly home invasion in a northwest side Indianapolis home less than two weeks ago that garnered international attention has now produced its first arrest. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has arrested 18-year old Larry Taylor on preliminary charges of sexual assault and murder in connection with the murder of Amanda Blackburn according to Fox 59 News. Taylor is one of four young men police questioned last week in connection with the murder, three of whom are now in police custody.

According to Fox 59 News, Taylor had been released last week after being taken into custody for questioning in the Blackburn murder. Two other men questioned last week are also in police custody on parole violations facing charges in connection with a recent crime spree police say the trio committed, including Jalen Watson (21) and Diano Gordon (24). All three are expected to be charged on unrelated burglary charges, including a rape that took place during a recent home invasion at Westlake Apartments. The three suspects were living at Westlake Apartments where they allegedly committed a rape and robbery until recently moving into an address on San Clemente Drive where police say surveillance cameras captured two of the suspects burglarizing another apartment.

Detectives believe the three men entered the Blackburn home, which was unlocked, shortly after Amanda Blackburn's husband, Davey Blackburn, left the home to go to the gym. The men allegedly confronted Blackburn upon entering the home. The young men are also believed to have burglarized a home two doors down from the Blackburn home shortly before entering the Blackburn home. The men left the home shortly before Davey Blackburn returned home from the gym at 8:30 a.m. by which point police had already responded to the break-in at the neighbor's home. A fourth person with knowledge of the crimes initially questioned by police has been released.

According to Fox 59 News, two of the suspects left Blackburn's home with her ATM card while Taylor remained behind to rape and kill Blackburn. A neighbor's surveillance camera captured one of the suspects, presumably Taylor, leaving the Blackburn home. Police early on ruled out Blackburn's husband, a pastor at the Resonate Church the couple helped found after moving to Indianapolis a few years ago from South Carolina. Blackburn, who gave multiple national interviews last week about his wife's killing, was ruled out early on as a suspect in the case.

IMPD released the following statement from Chief Rick Hite regarding the investigation:
"We are thankful to our federal, state and local partnerships that aided in the apprehension of the suspect in this terrible and senseless crime. All victims of criminal homicides deserve closure, and as a community we must send a collective message that violence is not an option," IMPD Chief Rick Hite said in a statement. "Our detectives have worked tirelessly going days without sleep to solve murders in our city. With the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler and Prosecutor Terry Curry justice will be done!"
Earlier this month, Susie Gilley, a resident of Westlake Apartments where the accused men lived until recently, complained to WRTV about the lack of security at the apartment complex owned by Flaherty & Collins in the wake of recent crimes, including the rape and robbery of a 21-year old resident earlier this month. Three days after being interviewed by WRTV, Gilley returned home to her apartment with her husband to find her apartment had been burglarized. Her TVs, laptop and class ring were gone. "I came back home, my front door was open," she said. "My whole life had changed. "I have not slept since then. I just feel like I have been deprived of everything."

UPDATE: Davey Blackburn released the following statement on news of the arrests:
Though it does not undo the pain we are feeling, I was extremely relieved to get the news of the arrest made last night of Amanda’s killer. The investigators have assured me they have a solidly-built case to ensure justice is levied and the process is expedited. The family and I couldn’t be more thankful for the level of compassion and professionalism the IMPD and investigators have shown us through the last couple of weeks. My hope is for 3 things in the weeks and months to come: 
(1) That the court system would have wisdom on how to prosecute this man, so that no one else endures the pain Amanda and our family have had to endure because of his actions. 
(2) That through all of this and although there will be great consequences for his actions, he would become truly sorry for what he has done and would even begin to experience the life-transforming power of the Grace and Mercy of Jesus Christ. 
(3) That Jesus would give me and our family a heart of forgiveness. 
Though everything inside of me wants to hate, be angry, and slip into despair I choose the route of forgiveness, grace and hope. If there is one thing I’ve learned from Amanda in the 10 years we were together, it’s this: Choosing to let my emotions drive my decisions is recipe for a hopeless and fruitless life. Today I am deciding to love, not hate. Today I am deciding to extend forgiveness, not bitterness. Today I am deciding to hope, not despair. By Jesus’ power at work within us, the best is STILL yet to come. Even when I don’t see it, I believe it to be true.
UPDATE II: An observant Advance Indiana reader asks how Taylor, Watson and Gordan could be responsible for the Blackburn home invasion and murder if they were also responsible for a home invasion in the 5700 block of San Clemente Drive that occurred at the exact same time on the morning of November 10. I'm looking at a Fox 59 News report from November 11 describing a home break-in that occurred at 5:30 a.m. that Tuesday morning involving at least three suspects while the home's resident and her two daughters were still sleeping. "According to police, several suspects broke into a home in the 5700 block of San Clemente Drive around 5:30 Tuesday morning while the residents slept," the Fox 59 News report reads. The victim' Chrysler Sebring car, credit cards, computer and cell phone were stolen. "They came in through a patio door," said the home's owner, Jacola Searsbrook. The apartment complex, Cottages of Fall Creek, had experienced a half dozen break-ins during the past month according to the report. Police released surveillance video that caught the intruders during the break-in. One of the suspects shown in the surveillance camera image is dressed just like the one of the suspects in the Blackburn murder surveillance image released by IMPD.
Surveillance image from the Cottages of Fall Creek Apartments break-in on November 11

Now here's what Fox 59 News is reporting today regarding the suspects' connection to the Cottage at Fall Creek apartments where they were now living after moving out of the Westlake Apartments:
Authorities said the men referred to themselves as “The Kill Gang.”
Detectives have collected evidence linking the trio to a previous rape and robbery at the Westlake Apartments, where the suspects were living until early November, sources say. The men then moved to an address on San Clemente Drive, where detectives believe two of the suspects were captured on a surveillance video burglarizing a neighbor’s apartment. A silver Chrysler Sebring was stolen from that location. Investigators later found DNA linking the suspects to that case.
The trio will also be charged with a burglary that occurred earlier that day near the Blackburn’s home. Surveillance video shows at least one of the suspects in that community around the time of the burglary.
Now a police report for the break-in at the home a few doors down from the Blackburn home indicates that break-in occurred at 5:30 a.m. and reported by the home's owner on November 10 at 9:12 a.m. That home is located at 2830 Sunnyfield Court in the same subdivision of the Blackburn home. Patrol officers Elise Torres and Jon Walls said the homeowner, Alison Becker, came home to find her home burglarized and items taken from it, including TVs, computers and jewelry. The Blackburns' home is located at 2812 Sunnyfield Court, which is on a cul-de-sac where Sunnyfield Court comes to a dead end just a few houses down the street from Becker's home. News reports indicate Davey Blackburn left his home at 6:10 a.m. to go to the gym. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots at 6:45 a.m. and later saw a dark-colored SUV speeding away from the scene. Davey returned home at around 8:30 a.m. to discover his wife shot in the head. Perhaps Fox 59 News has the wrong date on the Cottage at Fall Creeks break-in. If someone can clear up this discrepancy, please let us know; otherwise, I don't see how these suspects could be at two different places on opposite sides of town at the same time.

Here are the charges 21-year old Larry Taylor is facing according to Marion Co. court records:

35-42-1-1(1): Murder
35-43-4-2.5(b)(1)/F6: Auto Theft where intent is to deprive owner of value or use of vehicle (stole
35-43-2-1/F4:Burglary Burglary of a dwelling
35-43-4-2(a)/F6: Theft where value of property is between $750 & $50k.
35-47-2-1/MA: Carrying a Handgun Without a License
35-42-1-1(2): Murder
35-42-1-1(2): Murder
35-43-2-1/F1:Burglary , but serious bodily injury occurs and burglary was to a dwelling.
35-43-4-2(a)/F6: Theft where value of property is between $750 & $50k.
35-42-5-1(1)/F2: Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury Injury to someone other than a defendant
35-42-3-3(a)/F3: Criminal Confinement while armed with a deadly weapon.
35-43-2-1/F4:Burglary Burglary of a dwelling
35-43-4-2(a)/F6: Theft where value of property is between $750 & $50k.

Court records also show Taylor had been arrested last June on misdemeanor charges of public indecency and public nudity. Below is the video of the original police press conference on November 13 laying out the timeline of events.
13 WTHR Indianapolis

UPDATE III: At a press conference just concluded by Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry and IMPD it was announced that there was not sufficient evidence to file sexual assault-related charges against Larry Taylor, the 18-year old accused of burglarizing and killing Amanda Blackburn, although other formal charges, including murder, have been filed against two men in police custody, Larry Taylor and Jalen Watson. A probable cause affidavit says the accused tried making several withdrawals of cash using an ATM card belonging to Blackburn. Curry told reporters a significant break in the case occurred when DNA found on a pink sweater matched that of Jalen Watson, one of the other suspects being charged along with Larry Taylor, after being held by police on parole violations following questioning in Blackburn's murder. The sweater is one allegedly matches one worn by Watson while attempting to withdraw money using Blackburn's ATM card. The third suspect, Diano Gordon, has not yet been charged with anything, although he's also being held on parole violations for the time-being. Watson and Gordon both have past convictions for burglary. The important take-away here is that Curry reiterated that the crimes on San Clemente Drive and Sunnyfield Court on opposite sides of the city were committed by Taylor, Watson and Gordon on November 10. The timeline will be critical as noted above since the time of both the San Clemente Drive and the first Sunnyfield Court break-ins were pegged at 5:30 a.m. How is that possible? View the press conference by clicking here.

Here are the charges Watson is facing:

35-42-1-1(2): Murder35-43-4-2(a)/F6: Theft where value of property is between $750 & $50k.
35-42-1-1(2): Murder
35-43-2-1/F1:Burglary , but serious bodily injury occurs and burglary was to a dwelling.
35-43-4-2(a)/F6: Theft where value of property is between $750 & $50k.
35-42-5-1(1)/F2: Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury Injury to someone other than a defendant
35-43-2-1/F4:Burglary Burglary of a dwelling35-43-4-2(a)/F6: Theft where value of property is between $750 & $50k.
35-43-4-2.5(b)(1)/F6: Auto Theft where intent is to deprive owner of value or use of vehicle (stolen)
35-43-2-1/F4:Burglary Burglary of a dwelling

Here is a description of events released in a press release from the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office:
According to the probable cause affidavit, Taylor, Watson and a third individual are accused of committing two burglaries prior to entering the Blackburn residence on the morning of November 10. An automobile was stolen during the course of the first burglary, as well as personal items. The second burglary occurred near the Blackburn residence. Taylor and Watson are believed to then have entered the Blackburn home through an unlocked front door. 
As further alleged in the probable cause affidavit, Watson and the third individual are believed to have left the Blackburn home in the stolen vehicle, driving to an ATM with Amanda Blackburn’s debit card. The two were in communication with Taylor, who was still at the home, via cell phones. Taylor was later picked up from the Blackburn home and all three individuals left the scene prior to the victim’s husband returning to the home. 
After leaving the scene, Larry Taylor is alleged to have stated to witnesses that he killed Amanda Blackburn. Blackburn’s cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the back of the head. She is believed to have been shot three times, including a gunshot wound to the left arm and a gunshot wound which entered and exited her upper back.  
Jalen Watson has been charged with Murder, Burglary (Level 1 Felony), Theft (Level 6 Felony), Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (Level 2 Felony), Burglary (Level 4 Felony), Theft (Level 6 Felony), Auto Theft (Level 6 Felony), Burglary (Level 4 Felony) and Theft (Level 6 Felony).
Larry Jo Taylor Jr. has been charged with Murder, Burglary (Level 1 Felony), Theft (Level 6 Felony), Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (Level 2 Felony), Criminal Confinement (Level 3 Felony), Burglary (Level 4 Felony), Theft (Level 6 Felony), Auto Theft (Level 6 Felony), Burglary (Level 4 Felony), Theft (Level 6 Felony) and Carrying a Handgun without a License (Class A Misdemeanor).
According to the probable cause affidavit, Watson and Gordon allegedly claimed during their police interrogation that Taylor admitted to killing Blackburn while they left to use the ATM card to withdraw money. Taylor's and Watson's cases have been assigned to the Marion Superior Court, Division 5 Criminal Court, which is overseen by Judge Grant Hawkins, who was suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court for 60 days without pay due in 2009 as a result of a finding of judicial misconduct against him by the high court for delays in handling post-conviction relief cases.

Here's the timeline WRTV constructed for November 10, which doesn't explain how the accused were committing separate home invasions around 5:30 in the morning on opposite sides of Indianapolis many miles apart. WRTV leaves out the police report of the first home invasion on Sunnyfield Court, which says it occurred at 5:30 a.m. Remember, the suspects had time at the San Clemente Drive apartment to steal numerous personal items found in the apartment, including computer, credit card and a cell phone, in addition to the victim's automobile, which was a Chrylser Sebring, not a dark-colored SUV police described the vehicle driven by the suspects.

5:23 a.m. – Security camera footage captures three subjects breaking into a home on San Clemente Drive. The thieves steal a laptop, purse and a 2007 Chrysler Sebring.

6:40 a.m. – A resident on Sunnyfield Court hears two gunshots and what sounds like a woman scream.

6:54 a.m. – A $400 withdrawal is made on Amanda Blackburn's Chase debit card at an ATM on the 1300 block of 86th Street. 7:05 a.m. – Resident on 2900 block of Sunnyfield Court sees a black male wearing all black walking north with a T-shirt pulled up over his face.

7:10 a.m. – Resident on 2800 block of Sunmeadow Way sees "like white late model Chrysler Sebring" pull up and a black male wearing a hoody get inside.

7:53 a.m. – Amanda Blackburn's phone receives a voicemail alert from Chase bank warning of suspicious activity on her debit card.

8:17 a.m. – A resident on the 2800 block of Sunnyfield Court calls 911 to report a burglary at her home. Four televisions and a MacBook Pro were stolen, along with a bag of oranges. The suspects also "drank beer and wine and left the bottles in the home."

8:22 a.m. – Davey Blackburn calls 911, reporting he's found his wife injured and unconscious on the living room floor of their home on Sunnyfield Court.

UPDATE IV: The official charging documents have changed the timeline first announced after the initial home invasions. Police and prosecutors now say the initial break-in on San Clemente Drive occurred at 4:30 a.m., not 5:30 a.m. according to the Indianapolis Star:

The timeline detailed in charging documents began around 4:30 a.m. the day Blackburn was shot, when a woman living about 10 miles from the Blackburn home awoke to find her apartment burglarized. She told police that burglars stole her cellphone, laptop, purse, keys and 2007 Chevrolet Sebring. The woman’s security system, court documents say, took pictures of three people.
Police claim the Sebring became a getaway vehicle as the suspects drove across town to burglarize more homes in the 2800 block of Sunnyfield Court. One home on that block was burglarized around 5:30 a.m. Court documents say the men ripped a window screen and unlocked a patio door before stealing a laptop, Tiffany pearl necklace, pink sweater, bag of oranges, four televisions and other items.
The Blackburn home, two doors down on Sunnyfield, was targeted next. Police said the suspects entered the unlocked door after Davey Blackburn left to go to a gym at 6:11 a.m.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

52nd Anniversary Of The Kennedy Assassination

Never forget the truth about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the day the American shadow government seized total control of our government. The Republic founded in 1787 ceased to exist on November 22, 1963. Journalist and best-selling author Jim Marrs sums it up well in this video.

City Of Indianapolis Continues To Mislead To Obstruct Public Records Requests

Advance Indiana has caught the City of Indianapolis misleading the state's Public Access Counselor about the manner in which the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department compiles information about disciplinary records on sworn police officers of the department. This latest effort by the City of Indianapolis to obstruct efforts by Advance Indiana to obtain information deemed a public record under the state's Access to Public Records Act ("APRA") is confirmed by a newly-issued advisory opinion authored by the state's Public Access Counselor Luke Britt and sources Advance Indiana has spoken to within IMPD.

On October 2, 2015, a public records request was made to inspect or copy disciplinary records of sworn police officers disciplined by the department between the period of October 1, 2013 and October 1, 2015. The City quickly denied the request in a response dated October 6, 2015 based upon a lack of reasonable particularity. Two follow-up e-mails sent by Advance Indiana to the city's PAC counselor, Justin Paicely, seeking clarification for the reason for the denial were ignored. Paicely now claims he has no recollection of receiving those e-mail responses. In response to a complaint filed with the state's PAC, IMPD conceded the information Advance Indiana requested is a public record pursuant to I.C. 5-14-3-4(b)(8)(C) according to Britt's opinion. Because the request made by Advance Indiana covers "groups of employees" and is not particularized by name, IMPD says the law does not impose on it a requirement to publicly disclose personnel information on all employees or groups of employees.

So the City expects the requestor to have advance knowledge of every single sworn officer within the 1,500-plus force of police officers who has been the subject of a disciplinary action, knowing full well the information wouldn't be requested if the requestor knew the identity of every single police officer who has been disciplined since October 1, 2013. When Advance Indiana made the request, it knew based on information obtained by knowledgeable sources within IMPD that the department's internal affairs division generates the very information Advance Indiana requested from the department's internal computer software program it uses for maintaining personnel records. Britt could not speculate in his opinion on the existence of the information in compiled form, which he concludes in his opinion is a public record IMPD would have to provide to Advance Indiana for inspection or copying. "A public agency does not have to create a list or report synthesizing information on human resource disciplinary data, but to the extent it does exist, it is my opinion you have the right to inspect it," Britt wrote.

In Advance Indiana's complaint to the state's PAC, it was pointed out that the department has provided the exact same information requested of Advance Indiana in the past to the Indianapolis Star and other news organizations. In one such case, the department provided The Star access to records of all officers disciplined by the department between a six-year period from 1992 through 1997. "I do not know when or why this information was collected and disseminated, but you are correct in your assertion if IMPD allows inspection or copying of data to one requestor, it must extend the same courtesy to another," Britt wrote. "Public agencies cannot pick and choose to whom to release information upon request." Yet that is precisely how the City of Indianapolis has handled every public records request made by Advance Indiana. It repeatedly denies this news blog access to public records it readily provides to other news organizations in Indianapolis.

Advance Indiana has learned from sources that IMPD actually prepared and disseminated this past week the very similar information the City says IMPD cannot produce in response to our public records request. "The department has just gone through every merit police employee's file and developed lists with the implementation of the new matrix system," quoting a source who said the lists included information regarding officers' disciplinary history. One source says Sgt. Brian McEwen in Internal Affairs distributed the information to department supervisors, who are required to inform individual officers of which matrix schedule they are currently on based on their disciplinary record. Britt's recommendation to IMPD in his advisory opinion is to "explore whether IMPD creates these kinds of reports or documents and if it does, to release them to you for the requested time period." We'll see how the City responds, if at all, to the PAC's advisory opinion.

Davey Blackburn's "Worship As A Weapon" Sermon

This shocking video titled "Worship As A Weapon" of a sermon message delivered by Pastor Davey Blackburn at his Resonate Church illustrated with the use of a gun was recently uploaded to the church's YouTube channel. [Note: If you're having trouble viewing the video from this page, click through to YouTube here and begin watching the video at the 45:00 minute mark.

UPDATE: Local certified fraud examiner Greg Wright raises a valid concern. Blackburn's Resonate Church rents out the theater at Northview Elementary School owned by Washington Township Schools. "Did Davey Blackburn break the law by having a firearm on school property?" Wright, a former Washington Township school board member asks. "He sure did."

Feds Indict Man For Lying About How He Got $30,000 Job In Cook County Clerk's Office

It's quite fascinating to watch from a distance how far federal prosecutors are willing to dig into the weeds to nab corrupt politicians in Chicago when whistle blowers in Indiana can't get our federal prosecutors to move on the most blatant public corruption cases involving tens of millions of tax dollars occurring here in Indianapolis. Yesterday, federal prosecutors announced it was charging Sivusubramani Rajaram with lying under oath during testimony given before a federal grand jury about how he obtained a $30,000 a year job in the Cook County Clerk's Office.

According to a press release from the federal prosecutor's office in Chicago, the grand jury was hearing evidence about possible criminal violations in connection with the purchasing of jobs and promotions within the Clerk’s Office. Rajaram allegedy lied to the grand jury about whether he had spoken to Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown (D) about the job he was hired to fill last year and had not spoken to other high-ranking officials in Brown's office by phone about a job in her office since returning from India. A month before Rajaram was hired for a job paying $30,000 a year, he allegedly loaned $15,000 to Goat Masters Corporation, a company owned by Brown's husband, Benton Cook, III.

The Chicago Tribune sheds more light on Goat Masters Corporation. It was formed just two months before Rajaram allegedly loaned it $15,000 and was just dissolved last week. It's not clear what type of business Goat Masters was conducting according to The Tribune. The federal investigation was supposedly launched, according to The Tribune, after another Indian businessman, Narendra Patel, transferred a building to a company owned by Brown's husband at no cost. Month's later, Brown's husband put the property in couple's names and then sold what is described as a run-down building to another man, Musa Tadros, for $100,000.

Patel's company, Medstar Laboratory, Inc., had contributed $86,000 to Brown's campaign committee over a several year period. Rajaram, who had previously worked in Brown's office before returning to India, had contributed $250 to Brown's campaign committee in 2006. It's not clear why Rajaram would loan $15,000 to Brown's husband for a job paying only $30,000 a year, or why Patel would have an interest in funneling so much money to Brown's husband or her campaign committee. It's not like the county clerk's office would have any influence over his medical lab business.

NCAA Is Selective In Who It Chooses To Blackmail For Social Causes

It did not matter that Indiana was one of a minority of states not to enact a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages or that Indianapolis had enacted a human rights ordinance a decade earlier extending protections to persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. When Indiana lawmakers earlier this year passed a religious freedom law already enacted by a majority of the states and the federal government and radical LGBT extremists and their allies in the media began falsely claiming the law discriminated against gays and transgenders, the NCAA threatened to pull all future NCAA events in Indianapolis.

It was a different story when Houston voters went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly to repeal an LGBT rights ordinance earlier approved by that city's council and signed into law by that city's lesbian mayor. The NCAA didn't hesitate in quickly announcing the day following the election that it would not pull the plug on Houston hosting the NCAA's Final Four. Likewise, the NFL said Houston was in no jeopardy of losing out on hosting the Super Bowl in 2017. Yet Indianapolis was threatened with losing out on all sorts of hosting opportunities, in addition to NCAA events, over a law that only discriminated in the imagination of its radical opponents and had already been the law in other states hosting NCAA events for years.

Now with a debate focused on the passage of a state civil rights law extending protection to persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the NCAA is renewing its threats against hosting future events in Indianapolis if the state doesn't pass a law that satisfies the demands of LGBT rights organizations according to the Indianapolis Star. "Among the Indianapolis events that could be in jeopardy is the NCAA’s richest showcase — the men’s basketball Final Four — slated to return to the city in 2021," The Star reports. "The same event held here this year pumped an estimated $71 million into the local economy, according to Visit Indy. Indianapolis also is scheduled to host first- and second-round games in the 2017 men’s basketball tournament."

NCAA officials claim it couldn't consider pulling the plug on Houston hosting the Final Four because it was too late to change cities, which is simply not true. Cities like Indianapolis would have lined up to pull out all of the stops to host next year's Final Four, including massive public investments like the tens of millions of dollars Indianapolis has already pumped into the NCAA to entice it to locate its headquarters here and host events. NCAA officials could care less what Indianapolis' own non-discrimination ordinance says. Its staff, which has an unusually high percentage of gay and lesbian employees, has become radicalized and is using the NCAA's nonprofit status to further their own political agenda. It's particularly galling when one considers how the NCAA contributes nothing to the local tax base because of the generous tax exemptions it has been awarded by Indiana lawmakers. Maybe it's time state lawmakers revisited those generous tax exemptions if the organization doesn't cease and desist from blackmailing state lawmakers. If the NCAA is so concerned about discrimination, why doesn't it focus its efforts on lobbying Congress to change the federal Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes?

Friday, November 20, 2015

KateSlate 11 YouTube Channel: Davey Blackburn In His Own Words

From the Indianapolis Star:
Pastor Davey Blackburn has made four national television appearances to speak out about the Nov. 10 killing of his wife.
Good Morning America
"Amanda didn't have an enemy in the world," Blackburn told Stephanopoulos. "This has baffled us as much as anybody."
NBC News
Blackburn on Tuesday told NBC News Amanda Blackburn "didn't have an enemy in the world."
"We want to find whoever did this," Blackburn said. "It's such a conundrum. In our hearts, we want justice."
FOX News
Blackburn said his wife is in "heaven with Jesus" in an appearance on Fox and FriendsThursday morning.
Co-host of the program, Steve Doocy, asked Blackburn about being questioned by police after the death.
"I guess that was to be expected on some level," Blackburn said, though he added that it was "difficult to swallow."
Inside Edition
Blackburn asked anyone with information about the shooting to come forward during an appearance on Inside Edition Thursday afternoon.
"If anybody is withholding information, we would beg them, please come forward," he said.
He also shared the last words he said to his wife in the hospital.
"I told her that we knew how to do long distance 'cause we'd done it before and this wasn't something we couldn't overcome," Blackburn said.
Question for IMPD: Why don't you have Amanda's journal?

Small Town City Clerk In Iowa Torched City Hall To Cover Up Crimes

Cashing out: An audit by the State Auditor's Office released last August showed about $300,000 in improper and unsupported disbursements and undeposited utility billings
Federal prosecutors in Iowa say the long-time city clerk for the town of Casey set fire to City Hall to destroy evidence she had embezzled more than $300,000 from city funds by charging personal expenses to city credit cards over a six-year period. Dorothy Dillinger, who worked in city government for more than 30 years, has been charged by federal prosecutors with wire fraud and arson. Investigators were able to piece together a case against Casey, who set fire to the City Hall upon learning state auditors were coming to audit the small town's books, by assembling old bank records, information recovered from the city's software vendor and copies of receipts and invoices requested by the city. Investigators were only able to review records going back to 2008.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Yet Another Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Arrested

Jed Adams
A 7-year veteran of the Marion County Sheriff's department, Deputy Jed Adams, has been arrested in Plainfield on suspicion of drug dealing and official misconduct. A report by WTHR says Deputy Adams had marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine in his possession at the time of his arrest. Deputy Adams worked as a K-9 handler in the criminal division of the sheriff's office. The Indianapolis Star reports Sheriff John Layton fired Adams immediately upon learning of his arrest. Adams apparently was nabbed when he went to a meeting with a drug informant in Plainfield at 1:00 a.m. this morning where he supplied the informant with drugs.