Archive for the ‘Police News’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Weekend Update: The Crime Scene

Working the graveyard shift often makes for an interesting week. This one, as usual, was comprised of all things good, bad, and ugly.

First of all, thanks to an enthusiastic group of research-hungry writers, the 2013 Writers’ Police Academy sold out in less than a week!

As a reward for their eagerness, the WPA is pleased to present the largest, best, and most exciting event we’ve ever produced. We have plenty of new action, and exciting workshops lined up. So stay tuned for announcements and details.

The 2013 Golden Donut Short Story contest photo has been released (above). This is an extremely popular contest that’s open to everyone, not just WPA recruits. The rules are simple—write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). The image in the photograph MUST be the main subject of the story. The contest officially opens at 12 noon on Monday April 1, 2013. Winner receives the prestigious Golden Donut Award!

Now, for the news with our on the spot Crime Scene reporter:

New York – NYPD detective and popular Writers’ Police Academy instructor Marco Conelli has penned a new article titled Perps and Guns, It’s No Mystery.

Marco Conelli

Marco invites you all to read the informative piece here.

Brunswick, Ga. – While out for a leisurely walk, pushing her 13-month-old son in a stroller, Brunswick, Ga. resident Sherry West was approached by two teens who demanded her money. When she told the youths that she didn’t have any cash, the older boy pushed West to the side and shot her child in the face, killing him. The boy also fired rounds at West, grazing her ear and wounding her leg. Police have arrested 17-year-old Demarquis Elkins and an unnamed 14-year-old in connection with the attempted robbery, attempted murder, and murder.

U.S.A. – Jason Cherkis of the Huffington Post reports that since the school shooting in Newtown, Ct., 2243 people have died as a result of gun violence. Until I told him last night, Jason was unaware of the shooting in Brunswick, Ga. Unfortunately, I presume the total is now 2244.

Los Angeles – Chef David Viens received a 15-year prison sentence after confessing to police that he killed his wife and then boiled her body for four days to dispose of the evidence. The woman’s body has never been recovered.

Orlando, Fl. – Sarah Adleta was arrested for live-streaming video (Skype) of herself while sexually abusing children. A North Carolina man has been accused of watching the videos as they took place.

Texas – A proposed new law would require DNA testing be conducted on all biological evidence in all death penalty cases. Probably a good idea since Texas executes more people than any other state.

Taiwan – A man wanted for drug crimes was spotting wearing a t-shirt with “WANTED” printed across the front. The suspect does not speak English, therefore had no idea of the word’s meaning. Unfortunately for him, the officer was well-versed in the English language and decided to run a check on the unsuspecting wanted criminal who was indeed arrested.

Robert Skiff, Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories training manager and WPA instructor

Youngsville, N.C. – Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories is once again offering writers the rare opportunity to attend their evidence collection course. This week-long class is normally for law enforcement only, however, through the Writers’ Police Academy, Sirchie has opened their doors to any writer who’d like to learn “how it’s really done.” Feel free to contact me for details as to how you can take advantage of this fabulous opportunity. Several writers have already attended the course.

Me and my pal Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys

Valdosta – @Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys just tweeted “It’s a rainy day in Georgia #Valdosta.” Hey, Joe, it’s raining out here on the islands, too. I love seeing the dark clouds roiling over the ocean. The egrets are confused, though, and have all snuggled together in the rookery behind our house.

LA – The Southland crew wrapped up season 5 filming yesterday. Now comes the long wait to hear if we’ll be treated to a season 6.

Here’ what Michael Cudlitz (Southland’s John Cooper) had to say on Facebook about my review of this week’s episode - Michael Cudlitz You always put so much thought into your work. Thank you.

CJ Lyons

From bestselling author CJ Lyons: Attention Fellow Thriller Writers!

You may have heard that last July I began the Buy a Book, Make a Difference charity. So far we’ve raised $28,000 for charity and 28 scholarships for police officers from underserved communities to receive CSI forensic training through the Jeff Farkas Memorial Scholarship, named after my fellow intern who was murdered while we were at Childrens’ Hospital of Pittsburgh.

I know a lot of you have law enforcement connections and need your help in reaching out to law enforcement agencies.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could please forward this link to the scholarship page:

For more info, you can also send people here:

Together we can help the police officers who are so generous with their time and support of thriller writers gain the tools they need to put the bad guys away!

Thanks in advance,


*So there you have it, the news for the week. Now it’s time now to toss a banana to the typing ape, hoping he’s up to doing a little work on my manuscript. After all, he types faster than me since I have yet to master the use of my toes on the keyboard. He has.

PostHeaderIcon Chavis Carter: Suicide While Handcuffed

Police say twenty-one-year-old Chavis Carter shot himself in the head. A suicide. And, under normal circumstances, a story such as this one wouldn’t make national headlines. However, Carter’s death is big news because the young man took his own life in the back seat of a Jonesboro, Arkansas police patrol car…while handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

To further confuse the issue, Carter was left-handed, yet the bullet wound was on the right temporal area of the scalp. And, the arresting officers searched Carter for weapons before placing him the car, unrestrained (no handcuffs). Then, minutes later, after learning that Carter was wanted for a drug crime in another jurisdiction, they had him step outside where they handcuffed him with his hands behind his back, and searched him again.

Carter’s family says no way he killed himself. He was a happy person. No troubles. A good guy.

Additionally, many citizens around the country are using the “M” word, saying the police murdered Carter in cold blood, that Carter could not have shot himself while his hands were restrained behind his back.

But an autopsy report released yesterday confirms the police statement, that Carter did indeed pull the trigger while holding a .380 pistol to his head. The report also revealed the presence of drugs in Carter’s system—marijuana, Oxycodone, methamphetamine, and Diazapam.

The saga began when police stopped a pickup truck in which Carter was a passenger. The driver and other passenger were released and sent on their way. Carter was held due to the outstanding warrant.

The original traffic stop was caught on police dash cam video, where we see an officer lead Cater to the patrol car.

There are many questions floating around the internet about this incident. There have been protests outside the Jonesboro police department. And some have called for the police chief’s resignation. All this before the autopsy report was released. Now, since the report is complete and made public, many are saying the medical examiners are in cahoots with the police to cover up a murder committed by the two officers at the scene.

So let’s pick this apart, rationally.

Officers are suspicious of the trio, and they want to question them to see if their stories match (Carter is black. The other two men are white). So they separate them. Carter is patted down (a quick pat-down for weapons is all that’s permitted at this point) and placed in the rear seat of the patrol car where he’s questioned by one of the officers. He doesn’t appear to be a threat, so he’s left unrestrained. He can’t flee because he can’t get out of the car. There are no locks or door handles in the rear compartment of patrol cars. This procedure is perfectly normal.

The other two men are handcuffed but remain outside the vehicle for questioning by the second officer. The term for this brief period of detention of the three men is called investigatory detention. It’s perfectly okay for officers to detain and handcuff people during a suspicious situation. It is for the safety of everyone involved, both suspect and officer.

So, if Carter had concealed a gun between his legs, for example, to avoid arrest for the weapon, the time he was in the back seat, unrestrained (before he was under arrest), would have been the perfect opportunity to shove that gun between the seat back and bottom, a practice that’s done all the time.

Yes, officers often find drugs, knives, cash, and other items there. This is the reason officers should search the patrol car after a suspect has been inside. This is especially true when changing shifts. Oncoming officers search their cars before accepting them from outgoing shift officers. An example of how precise the police procedure is on the TV show Southland is, well, you’ll see the officers on the show conducting these searches at the beginning of their shifts.

At this point, everyone was polite, including Carter, the other two men, and the police. Everyone was calm and cool.

Officers find nothing wrong with the two men standing outside the police car so they let them go. However, a “hit” (officer slang for wanted person or stolen property, etc.) comes back on Carter. He’s wanted by police in Mississippi. Therefore, the officers have him step outside the car where they handcuff him because he is now under arrest. They also conduct another more thorough search of Carter and his clothing. This would be the time when officers would search really well, reaching into arm pits, between the legs, buttocks area, etc. You cannot conduct this kind of extremely personal and detailed search on a person who is not under arrest. They find nothing.

Remember, at this point Carter already had ample time to remove the gun from wherever he’d concealed it beneath his clothing, and then stash it between the seat parts (if this scenario is to be believed).

The officers again place Carter in the rear of the patrol car while they stand outside, as is common practice, discussing the case, discussing the weather, kids, or whatever, before heading back to the department, or wherever it is they need to go to process their prisoner.

Next…how could a left-handed person could shoot himself in the right temporal area. Well, I’m left-handed, but I shoot with my right. And, I can shoot almost as well with my left, which would be considered my weak hand when shooting, even though I’m left-handed. Actually, many left-handed people are fluidly ambidextrous—they can do almost anything with either hand.

To demonstrate how easy it would be for someone to shoot themselves in the head, even with their hands cuffed behind their back, the police in Jonesboro filmed a video.


Additionally, what motive would the two officers have for murdering Carter? He was wanted for a minor offense. He offered no trouble or resistance. There was no struggle. He was extremely polite to them, offering “yes sir’s and no sir’s” in response to their questions. And the officers were polite to each of the three men. To say Carter was murdered by the police simply makes no sense. Of course, at first glance, Carter committing suicide makes no sense. But it is highly possible, quite easy, actually, for the suicide to have occurred just as the police say.

And now we arrive at another puzzling question posed by citizens, that the medical examiners’ report is bogus. Yes, citizen comments on numerous blogs and news reports indicate they honestly believe that the medical examiner(s) are lying to protect two patrol officers they’ve probably never met. I ask you to please think about this for a moment. Why would three respectable and professional medical examiners/doctors participate in the cover-up of a murder? What would they have to gain? What would be their motive? Why would they place their careers in jeopardy over something like this? Easy answer…they wouldn’t.

I suspect gunshot residue testing was conducted along with bloodstain pattern and spatter examinations, both of Carter and of the inside of the patrol car. Those tests, if positive, would further reinforce the findings of the three medical examiners, that Chavis Carter did indeed kill himself.

I also suspect we’ll see a wrongful death suit based on the fact that Carter was the responsibility of the two officers at the scene. And, that Carter killed himself while under their watch. If so, we’ll soon see if sloppy and lax search procedures by the officers come into play, if that’s the case. I also believe we’ll be hearing more about the search procedures and policies of the Jonesboro Police Department in the near future.

But, once again, we have a case being tried in the media before the facts are all in—autopsy, forensic reports, toxicology, etc. This is not how the system is supposed to work. It’s not fair to anyone, including the victim. Does the name Caylee Anthony not ring a bell?

Update (8-23-12)

- Carter was on cellphone with girlfriend while seated in rear of patrol car. He tells her he has a gun and is scared.

- Police talk to a man who admits he told Carter to bring a gun with him to a drug deal.

- Blood spatter found on Carter’s right hand and inside of patrol car rear door. Windows up, doors closed. Officers outside. Witnesses confirm.

- Marks on Carter’s wrists and forearm consistent with handcuffs. One mark on the right arm/wrist is consistent with handcuff pulled high on the arm, also compatible with pulling the cuffs high and tight against the flesh while reaching to touch the upper body/head.

Chavis Carter Autopsy

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