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Is There An Oregon Attorney Who Cares About Civil Rights?Tim King Salem-News.com
William Coleman's Civil Rights case took an unexpected turn toward injustice, but he still has a chance.
(SALEM, Ore.) - False character assassination is apparently legal in a court of law.
Outside of the courtroom, if a person lies openly about another person's character, and the act costs that person financially, or damages their ability to earn a living, the individual making the statements is subject to liability.
This behavior is without question, exactly what was committed by state attorneys in the recent lawsuit filed by William Coleman against the Oregon State Hospital and one of its department heads.
Coleman lost his case.
Manufactured evidence is an area where the state of Oregon is running unchecked. Attorney with the Oregon Attorney General's (AG) office, Ken Crowley, who defended the state against Coleman's charges of wrongful termination and racial discrimination, has asserted that he has an 'audio tape' of William Coleman confessing to a crime that he was found innocent of by a unanimous verdict of a jury.
The matter was in the past and wholly unrelated to Coleman's claim of having wrongfully been fired from his state hospital security guard job. The judge did not allow the 'audio tape', but the state was able to have a witness testify that Coleman had been "under investigation" as a state hospital employee which obviously swayed the jury's thinking, even though Coleman was never guilty of any crime, yet was the victim of serious governmental retaliation for blowing the whistle on racism as a corrections officer; a job he resigned from, out of frustration, before being hired by the state hospital. For some reason, Coleman's attorney chose not to fully vet the matter in front of the jury.
Attorneys and Audio Integrity
Crowley suggested to Marion County Judge Tom Hart that the tape be allowed during Coleman's civil trial. An audio tape of a supposed confession to one of the most laughable and yet shameful cases, that the state ever filed against an individual. First and foremost, William Coleman says he would gladly testify right now that he absolutely never "confessed" to alleged crimes he proved proved over a long difficult time, in a court conclusively, that he did not commit. Second, the reader needs to realize that Coleman was offered several 'plea deals' after he was charged and arrested for cigarette smuggling, and that he faced up to 40 years in prison if convicted, and he chose to fight for his innocence, and he won hands down.
I have been professionally involved in audio and video production since the late 1980's. I spent years as a radio news director, cutting reel to reel tape with a razor blade, long before most of my years in TV; at KATU Channel-2 News in Portland, and here at Salem-News, and I can tell you conclusively, that there is no possible way to prove that an audio tape has not been doctored or edited.
This isn't rocket science.
But apparently the Oregon AG's office can offer up such evidence simply as a distraction; a way to use taxpayer money to avoid financial responsibility for the ineptitude of state department heads who fail to enforce federal civil rights. They get away with it because they are out of sight and can rely on other state agencies to cover their asses, so to speak.
A random audio recording, how quaint. Crowley knows damned well how hard the state tried to convict Coleman of crimes he never committed. They were pulling rabbits out of hats trying to put him away. To suggest that this tape materialized now is obscene and I have already made one call to the Oregon State Bar Association about it.
This 'audio tape' business launched a whole series of jokes at the time in our circle about the "DOJ audio laboratories"- where you can get a great deal on audio production, taxpayer subsidized!
Now any thinking person can figure out that a tape incriminating Coleman in a serious felony case the state filed against him, would have surfaced during the criminal trial. But even if everything was different; even if Coleman had actually been guilty, the attorneys were able to downplay Coleman's actual innocence, and in the process appeared to be overlooking something known in the legal books as "Double Jeopardy".
LectLaw.com description of DOUBLE JEOPARDY
Additionally, according to The Legal Dictionary
As far as "multiple punishments for the same offense", I don't see how this is not relevant. And if it is not incumbent upon the state of Oregon's top law office, the DOJ, to know case history and ensure that in their quest to defend the state from Coleman's case, they do not, "arbitrarily ignore unsatisfactory outcomes", which is exactly, specifically what Crowley and his fellow councilor Sarah Foreman did?
Crowley's tape only surfaced when the state was faced with having to pay millions of dollars in damages to Coleman that it still owes him, but likely will never have to pay.
I am more reminded of the Emmett Till jury, than anything out of this modern day and age. Till was murdered in the 1950's in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. He was tortured and viciously murdered by a group of local white men who claimed to have avenged the 'honor' of the white woman Till had paid attention to. He was 14-years old.
Some members of the 12-member all-white male jury actually participated in Till's torture and execution. They said it took an hour for the jury to return the "not guilty" verdict only because they paused for a soft drink on the way to the deliberation room.
The jury in William Coleman's civil trial spent less time deliberating, perhaps the Coke machine wasn't working.
Emmett Till's killers came out of the closet three months after they were found not guilty, admitting everything. One of the two brothers sold the story to a magazine for four thousand dollars. Laws against Double Jeopardy that failed to protect Coleman during the civil trial, were there to shield the actions of Emmett Till's killers. (see: Cousin of Emmett Till Speaks Tonight at Willamette - Tim King Salem-News.com)
I don't mean to torture a point, but Coleman's skin color has created immense challenges during his years in Oregon and these problems are akin to the problems Mississippi was experiencing back in '55.
It is about perceptions; portrayals, and subscribing to stereotypes, then preying on them. This man is not treated fairly and his position as an African-American in Oregon was fully exploited in all of the wrong ways.
The racism that Coleman blew the whistle on, is related to the contraband smuggling rings that Coleman was accused of being a part of. White supremacist gangs have run Oregon State Penitentiary's drug ring for decades, and it is no secret. More than two decades ago, a man brought to Oregon to clean up corruption in the state's prisons, Michael Francke, specifically, investigated OSP and other facilities for a year and then was murdered three days before revealing his findings to the Oregon State Legislature.
I think Coleman's trial loss was a travesty of justice; in fact I know it to have been, because the juror's minds were poisoned by people guilty of what I view as extreme professional misconduct; people paid by tax dollars who don't play fair or according to the rules, yet somehow have the system wired. Then you have the fact that the jury should not have been expressly selected because they didn't read "Internet news".
What century are we living in?
A simple review of the heavily researched articles linked below, reveals the story of a hero of a man in William Coleman; an individual who never broke a law, was never arrested until his 'Oregon experience'. The state's case against him included witness testimony of Coleman's BMW, a Lexus, a fancy Ford Explorer and a goatee. A search of DMV records indicates of course, that Mr. Coleman never owned or drove any of the described vehicles. He always shaves regularly and can't even grow a goatee. The list of similar items goes on and on and this is the subject of a book I am writing and have been for the last several months.
What Mr. Coleman is left with, thanks to the jury's decision, are health problems. As a person who has known William Coleman for some time, there is no question in my mind that the stress of Oregon's racial discrimination is the cause of it.
The state cut him off from insurance after he was accused by a convicted pedophile of having a homosexual sex act with another certified state security officer on routine patrol during Coleman's first weeks of employment; it was bad for him to suddenly lose his healthcare coverage. There is no doubt that Coleman lost his recent case against the state of Oregon for $2.4 million dollars, because the state falsely convinced the jury that he had 'criminal involvement' when in the longest, hardest and most grueling way, he defended himself and proved that all charges against him had been false.
Coleman blew the whistle on racism incidents at the prison including the prison's decision to leave an inmate who had stabbed or 'shanked' four inmates, in the main population. This, after the same inmate made a specific death threat against another inmate, to Coleman! Coleman told his superiors and he says they refused to separate the men.
The inmate who said he would stab the other, made good on his word. The inmate stabbing victim survived and now the state of Oregon owes him millions. Coleman tried very hard to prevent this. Oh yeah, and all of the victims, as well as the assailant, are African-American. Coleman believes that the stabbing of a single White inmate would have placed the man in solitary where he belonged.
Another incident at OSP that Coleman reported to no avail, was the prison management's decision to play the movie 'Downfall' which was about the final days of Nazi Germany. Coleman said it caused numerous racial incidents and Jewish inmates were attacked and fearful for some time after that. Coleman believes there was one suicide in this timeframe, however that has not been confirmed, and with the way the prison 'lost' the stabbing suspect inmate, who somehow ended up in a New Jersey prison, it is clear that Oregon will go to great lengths to protect its criminal enterprises at OSP, and they don't end there of course.
Another incident involved racial scrawls that a white prison corrections officer reportedly wrote on a Black inmate's subscription People Magazine. There is quite a story that goes with this, and irony too, because the racial messages were on a picture of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's recently adopted Black child. One of William Coleman's children is White. At least three African-American Oregon prison inmates are being punished today as a result of their helping Coleman get his hands on the magazine so it could be retrieved as evidence, which it was.
Coleman thought he could correct the major problems he witnessed inside the prison, but this never happened.
Perhaps the most sinister part of the "investigation" against Coleman, involves an Oregon State Police detective interviewing inmates, more than one of whom we are in contact with, asking if they would testify that Coleman was smuggling heroin into the prison.
The catch? There had been an inmate heroin-overdose death. Coleman knew all about it; he says many staff members knew about the female corrections officer who was smuggling heroin and who directly caused the death of an inmate. Coleman told investigators about this too, and they never to this day have done anything about it. But they did try to hang the matter on William Coleman, and the investigators were willing to bargain with the inmates by offering bribes, which is so illegal, unprofessional and unjust, that it makes anyone in their right mind want to be sick.
The "crimes" Coleman was accused of, were charges of cigarette smuggling. That's the best the state could do; allege, with no credible evidence whatsoever, that Coleman was a smuggling cigarettes when he had been a guard.
Oregon's case against Coleman was based upon the testimony of two state prison inmates who were both members of a white supremacy organization.
The state's recent defeat of Coleman's case against Oregon, was based on the testimony of a man who is a documented violent criminal; a wife beater with multiple convictions and a history of death threats against family members, who is also a convicted child molester.
It didn't hurt the man's credibility in this court, with this jury.
More background on Salazar
Joe Salazar Jr. of Salem, Oregon, is a criminal who, just months before testifying for the state of Oregon against William Coleman, found himself facing new charges of assaulting his wife. His record shows he is a lifetime wife beater. From there it gets worse. As the reports indicate, this is a man who has maintained a vicious cycle of abuse toward females. Oregon's star witness is frequently at the Lee Cemetery, though no signs there warn that the gatekeper, who fancies himself to be a security man, is a convicted child sex offender.
We already knew that he had a serious record. The simple fact is that this man who officials took so seriously was a tool in a bitter game of racist persecution. It is hard to see how any other scenario would account for the sequence of events that occurred. The debasing testimony of convict Joe Salazar, used to devastate the lives of two black men, never made sense. The report below tells a story of a man who has been, according to witness testimony and related convictions, a marauding woman beater who frequently threatens children.
In addition to the domestic abuse cited above, we knew he had served time in prison for sex crimes with a minor; we just didn't know why on earth Salem Police and the Statesman Journal chose to use this man's non credible statements about "two black men having sex in a car" to fry the reputation of William Coleman and Charles Gregory, whose lives were turned upside down by Salazar's accusations. For a long time Coleman says, everywhere he went, people began whispering amongst themselves when he approached.
A Statesman Journal article that made the wild accusations of a seemingly twisted criminal seem credible, brought the matter about married men having 'homosexual sex' out into full public view, just in case anyone in Salem didn't know about it.
Salazar's most recent Domestic Violence conviction happened late last year. Coleman believes that Salazar's sentence for his most recent Assault conviction involving his wife, was dramatically reduced to ensure Salazar would be available to testify for the state.
I first understood that Oregon was actually going to use this criminal as their witness last December, so on 15 December 2010, I wrote to the media contact person at the Oregon Dept. of Justice, Tony Green, and inquired about the use of a criminal witness in this way.
You may agree after reading the unedited email exchange below, that Oregon was clearly willing to slap Salazar's wrist and help him avoid a lengthy sentence, so he would be around to help Oregon win the case against Mr. Coleman.
From: Salem-News Newsroom <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Great work Oregon, you only get away with it because Coleman is African-American and virtually unrepresented by anyone in state government, at any of the agencies that are charged with carrying out the law for the goodwill of the people at large. I never imagined that such astounding levels of illegal collusion could take place for so many years, involving so many people. Oregon is rife with this problem.
The criminal case against Coleman was filed the exact same afternoon that he filed his lawsuit against the Oregon State Hospital.
Bryan Orrio with the Marion County prosecutor's office, filed the criminal complaint within three hours of Coleman's lawsuit filing.
His story is almost a textbook lesson in governmental retaliation.
The fact that he, with a public defender whose motives were questionable, and the testimony of a single African-American prison inmate, was able to secure a unanimous not-guilty verdict from a jury (which was not 100% white, 11-1), is an historic event; a cause for fame and celebration. Along with his bizarre firing from the Oregon State Hospital, his frustrations always governed, Coleman believed his grief would culminate in a civil court victory. At the very least he believed he would be provided back wages. Apparently that would have prevented the jury from leaving early in the day, so he was awarded nothing, zip, zero, nada.
Nobody Thought Coleman Was Losing
All of the points made by Coleman stood up while the state's witnesses contradicted one another.
Smear tactics were employed against Coleman constantly, as the state Dept. of Justice (DOJ) attorneys tried one route after another to discredit him.
They openly lied, and they had a lineup of witnesses to drop statements that discredited Coleman. A police officer who responded to the alleged 'sex' call at a Salem cemetery, described Coleman as "the most difficult suspect I have ever tried to work with" when in fact Coleman is a kind individual who would do anything for anyone. William Coleman says he had no idea how much attitude the officer would direct toward him.
Never at any point that day did the officer, Waymon Hubbard, who assigned himself to the case, by his own testimony, reveal to Coleman the nature of the accusation he was facing. Coleman and the other Oregon State Hospital security officer, Gregory Charles, were only told they 'patrolled an unauthorized area', Coleman was fired and Charles was later fired, then rehired.
The state's story changed back and forth, and for the record, the police report from that day indicated, that day, 'investigation closed' and there was no real evidence of any 'sex act' other than the word of the convict Salazar, who Coleman and Charles had observed 'bunny hopping' a child's BMX bike in the historic Lee Cemetery, which had concerned them. Salazar unexpectedly rode up to the unmarked state patrol car with the two Black officers, who wore civilian clothes.
In retrospect, Coleman assumes the man probably thought he and Charles were drug dealers waiting to meet someone, and they believed he planned to rob them as he approached their car and unzipped his jacket while reaching inside. Coleman leaped out of the car and yelled at the man that they were state security officers and for him to get away from their car. Salazar rode off and did something that would be life changing for Coleman and Charles; he used his cell phone to make the allegation to Salem Police that the men in the cemetery who confronted him, were "Black men having oral sex".
Salazar is the 'gatekeeper' at the Lee Cemetery. This role of his as a volunteer who locked and unlocked the gate, was greatly amplified as he was presented as a witness. He in fact had no security role in the cemetery. Yet that day he actually locked the gate to the cemetery as he rode off making his 911 call to Salem Police, which the police acknowledged him having done. Without checking out the character of their 'witness', the police authorized his locking the gate, which, if you read the law books, constitutes Kidnapping. People can't be held against their will, but if you're the convict with the gate key and Salem police on your side, much is apparently possible and allowable.
African-American people still have an uphill battle to win in this state and as much as a verdict in Coleman's favor was anticipated, the jury instead sided with the state's version of events.
Our regular readers are familiar with William Coleman's tale of government corruption and lies that nearly destroyed a man's character. As a prison guard in Oregon, he blew the whistle on major Civil Rights violations taking place in the Oregon State Penitentiary, and has been paying the price for that for years.
William Coleman strives to see equal justice for all people; but the obstacle he had to get clear in this most recent game, his recent civil trial, was an assault on his character of incredible proportions. His lawyer had to show the jury that he is not a 'dangerous' or 'threatening' person, as the state alleged him to be.
In fact there are many examples of Coleman helping inmates when no other guards would, including prisoners who were associated with white racist gangs. As a result inmates everywhere at OSP respected Coleman and his skills in diplomacy and negotiation are on a level with anyone in this area. William has also helped families with autistic children for many years, because he is so skillful in helping disabled youngsters develop and they, like all of my children, love him. My kids are always happy when he drops by to help me fill in the blanks in my series of stories about his trials and tribulations in the Oregon justice system.
It is true that he is an African-American man of large stature; it is also exceedingly true that this is what the state used against him. In addition to being a 'dangerous' individual, they also worked hard to portray Coleman as a man who is engaged in multiple lawsuits over racial discrimination, which he is not.
It is important for readers to understand that we need help locating a good attorney who can help Mr. Coleman find justice. He is an amazing documentarian of the events roughly outlined here, and I have a new story under development that explains many parts of the story is great detail; all backed up with state police investigation documents that Coleman attained.
The truth is, that Oregon is off the radar as far as racism toward African-Americans. People think of Mississippi and Alabama and other southern states in this regard, but they don't consider how challenging life in the NW can be for people of color. William Coleman needs a legal representative who is willing to help him find justice.
There is a fairly sizable Hispanic population in north Salem, but there are very, very few African-American residents in Oregon's capitol city and of those who are here, you will find many who will talk about racial discrimination they have experienced, particularly while working in law enforcement.
Because Salem and Marion County are very Caucasian based, Coleman's case against the state initially was presented with a jury pool of fifty people. None were African-American. I personally believe the brakes should have been put on right there, and that it is virtually impossible for a person in Coleman's shoes to find justice from a jury where his race is not represented by even a single juror.
Ultimately, the 12-member jury was comprised of Caucasian men and women, and a single Hispanic female. They were asked by the state during selection if they had read about Coleman's case in 'Internet news'. The state attorney's search for non-Internet savvy jurors was the longest aspect of the jury selection process.
This jury, during the trial proceedings, was swayed to believe that Mr. Coleman was a threatening individual when he is nothing of the sort. They were told that a highly paid state department head, Cynthia Gregory, was 'threatened' by Coleman at the time of his dismissal, when there was not a shred of evidence to support the allegation.
Coleman's attorney demonstrated through witnesses, that Cynthia Gregory, Coleman's human resources supervisor, almost certainly had a dismissal form with Coleman's name on her desk when he was called into her office, after the cemetery incident. Coleman said he pleaded with her to understand that he had done nothing wrong. The notion that he may have raised his voice, pleading to not lose his job, was what Gregory considered "threatening". Again, if Coleman had been White, a male, or particularly a female, this idea of an employee pleading their case in a loud voice would be considered normal and par for the job. But Coleman is a "Large Black Man" and therefore, his raising his voice cost him exactly $2.4 million in back pay and reparations.
This woman's testimony was mated with that of convicted pedophile and wife beater Joe Salazar, who Salem Police have described in the past as, "a very dangerous individual", to convince the jury that Coleman's case was not a credible one.
At the conclusion of the trial I wrote:
The jury was not told in sufficient detail, how the man who falsely accused Coleman and another Black security officer named Gregory Charles of 'homosexual sex' (Neither Coleman or Charles are gay) which led to Coleman's firing, was a convicted child sex offender.
While painting a serious criminal to be a credible witness, the DOJ was able to firmly plant in the jury's minds the highly irrelevant fact that Coleman at one point had "been under investigation" for alleged crimes during his time of employment at the Oregon State Prison.
The jury was never told, at least not in sufficient terms, that the investigation led to criminal charges which Coleman in court, receiving a unanimous Not Guilty verdict. They were only told that an investigation had taken place, intentionally leaving open ended questions about the outcome. Is this the state's place when a man has been proven innocent for a crime he never committed in the first place?
During her closing argument for the state, attorney Sarah Foreman stressed that the Oregon Trial Services law allowed the state a wide level of discretion in firing employees.
In his case, Lafkey showed the jury that each act Coleman was accused of, had taken place one or more times in the past with white employees; none were ever terminated, and most were never disciplined.
Coleman was accused of a sex act that never took place, yet one OSH employee who testified, admitted he was caught having sex with a subordinate at the state hospital where he still works.
The most popular state version of why Coleman was fired, is that he was 'unauthorized' in his visit to the cemetery; a location he was trained to patrol.
Coleman's victory in the case seemed all but there, when multiple current and former security employees testified that they too had patrolled the cemetery as part of their regular jobs. It seemed that there was no possibility the jury could not have returned a verdict at least partially in William's favor.
Build Upon Principles of Truth, Justice & Peace by helping William Coleman
Salem-News.com is involved in many reporting-based causes, and we absolutely can not stand to watch this take place. William still has a strong shot at justice and he needs your help. I can't think of a more moral or just cause than this.
Here is what we need; William Coleman needs a new attorney in Oregon who has courage and sound principle and is not afraid to take his pending defamation case. There are roughly three weeks left to get this case filed.
The attorney needs to believe in the case and accept a contingency payment. This is a slam dunk case; Coleman is a victim time and time again in recent years and his only goals are to set the system straight and expose the crimes that are taking place and the denial of Civil Liberties. Like many in the past, he has paid dearly for the road he has traveled. Many times Coleman could have looked the other way, ignored what was taking place; instead he tried to right wrongs and he has been punished repeatedly and it is wrong, as are the state's tactics.
In the meanwhile, William Coleman's only way of negotiating the legal road ahead involves paying attorney fees up front. Any donations for William Coleman would be greatly appreciated.
This is a monumental matter regarding Civil Rights in Oregon, and he should have won his case against the state. The jury didn't even agree to back pay. His remaining opportunity to file for Defamation, Slander and Liable, is imperative. Anyone who would like to help in this genuinely important case should contact William Coleman directly; BubbaColeman@hotmail.com to make arrangements.
I will stake everything I know from 20+ years of experience in news and journalism on the fact that Crowley and the Oregon State Police created this audio tape that I referenced above, and the mere fact that they have suggested its existence is an absurd idea that merits a federal investigation.
I mean maybe the federal government doesn't care about these antics taking place in Oregon, the bribes, Hitler movie matinees for murders, etc. Maybe they do.
We will do everything possible to expose this criminal corruption which is all directly or indirectly related and ultimately connected to the 21-year old Murder of former Corrections Chief Michael Francke, and the false conviction of a man in the case named Frank Gable.
The man who Crowley walks in the footsteps of, at the Oregon Attorney General's office, is former Oregon DOJ attorney Scott McAlister, who was convicted of child pornography related crimes shortly after having been terminated from his position by Michael Francke; shortly before Francke's Murder. (see: Scott McAlister: Child Porn-Related Conviction and Practicing Law - Tim King Salem-News.com)
The case and Oregon's 'conviction' are so widely discredited that the Francke Murder has been featured on America's Most Wanted with John Walsh. What kind of a statement about Oregon's DOJ is that? The office is a laughing stock in the legal world and, to the federal investigators, some of whom are in Oregon right now investigating Oregon DOC corruption; I am willing to share everything I have via Coleman, and it is in multiple locations with a number of parties responsible for bringing the information forward in the event that I could not.
Previous Installments in this series:
Articles for May 3, 2011 | Articles for May 4, 2011 | Articles for May 5, 2011