Friday, April 9, 2010

Chapter 44 The Dreamers

Chapter 44

Word of the firing-squad execution of Motown and his boys spread quickly. The Brown Panthers had dropped the bodies at Beaupre Park. They must have figured that it was the appropriate site. Within five minutes of the Panthers anonymous tip the police dispatched the City Morgue to pick up the bodies.

Both Jenkins and DA Johnson had decided to go directly to the courthouse that morning. Sergeant Riccio called him there and told him what had transpired. He and Johnson quickly made their way back to the precinct. Johnson said on the way over with Jenkins in the car that the only winners here were the taxpayers. Literally Millions and millions of dollars were saved in trial costs and nine life sentences. He felt sure that the outcome would have been plea-bargained to life-in-prison with no parole in exchange for guilty pleas.

Even if you count fourty-five thousands dollars for each of forty-plus years of maximum security prison stays, it came to well over a few cool million dollars in incarceration costs for each of them, not counting inflation. Johnson wasn't so sure what had happened was such a bad thing after all. Jenkins wasn't so sure. He hated to see a massive trend of vigilante justice cropping up. He was glad to see the moral outrage within the Black Community, but not like this. Now he had to worry about both sides in this fight. As if he didn't have enough problems already.

The media had moved quickly and had their remote trucks at Beaupre. Captain Moss was at the precinct. The Mayor’s Office called and said the Mayor was on the way, too. They all met in Jenkins office.

"Sergeant Jenkins," said Moss," fill us in, will you?"

Sergeant Riccio was in the room as well. He knew more of what transpired downstairs. He passed along the account he got from statements from the guards and transport personnel.

"Do we know who heads up the Brown Panther group," asked Moss? "We need to bring in someone for questioning, before we look like total idiots," he added sarcastically.

"Total idiots, is that what you think we are," snapped Jenkins? "Where have YOU been during this investigation while the rest of us have been working eighteen to twenty hour a day on this case?"

"Watch it Sergeant," snapped back Moss.

"Watch it," snapped back Jenkins, now seething with anger. "I've had it with your involvement only at photo-op time. The rest of us have been killing ourselves working on this case, all you worry about is your chances to become Police Commissioner. Why don't you do the rest of us a favor and go play some more golf or whatever it is you do. I am tired of your sarcasm and crap. You don't like it, you can take this job and you know what you can do with it."

Moss was taken back. Jenkins never talked to him like this before. He never believed the animosity ran so high. The Mayor stepped in.

"Listen, this can wait," he chimed in. "I want to know what you want to do here Jenkins. What's our next move?"

"We know some of the key players in the Panthers," Jenkins stated. "We will go question them this morning. I don't think we're going to get any confessions. We have no witnesses to the executions. No one seemed to remember the vehicles they drove. We have no license plates, and all the assailants had on brown ski masks. I also believe that eighty percent of the public is not going to be that morally outraged about what happened. Mr. Mayor, what this should be is a wake up call to our Judicial System and Legislators that the public has grown very tired of the judicial systems failing them and bankrupting them at the same time."

"You know we spend over six percent of our state budget just locking these guys up." Jenkins went on. "That doesn't count what we spend on the court systems that put them there, or what we spend on municipal law enforcement. And, another thing, of the fifty-thousand people we arrested last year whose sentences would have been minimum-mandatory three year terms, we had to drop the charges on forty-thousand of those cases because we had no place to lock them up. If we did, prisons would account for over twenty-five percent of our state budget. That would be a crime in it self. Our dysfunction is both killing us and bankrupting us. We need this money for far more important things than prison. Our studies show that eighty-percent of our prisoners cannot past Fourth Grade Mastery Tests on Course Subject Material. Forty-percent have high school diplomas. What's that about?"

"Get the Legislative Leadership in my office sometime this week, even today if you can," said the Mayor firmly to members of his staff who came with him. "I think it is time we had a little heart to heart talk. Jenkins I want you there when they come. Any problem?"

"No, Sir, none at all," replied Jenkins. "I’ve been wanting this kind of meeting for a long time."

"Consider it done," said the Mayor. "I am calling a press conference for one hour from know. Jenkins, come with me and we'll talk about what we SHOULD say at this point."

"Give me five minutes, Sir," asked Jenkins, "I want to give Riccio the names of the Panther' Leadership I know."

"No problem," said the Mayor. Everyone, including Moss left Sergeant Jenkins’s office, except Riccio.

"Ric," said Jenkins, "here's the list. Tell them to be here at 1PM today, on their own, or we will come pick them up at OUR convenience. Tell them it is their choice, this time."

"O.K. Sarge," said Riccio. "I'll take care of it."

"Listen; are all of our men from down stairs all right?"

"Couple of scrapes and bruises, not much else," stated Riccio. "Seems like the Panthers made a strong effort not hurt any of our people. Give um some credit for that, I guess."

Jenkins nodded. He thanks Riccio for all his help and headed down to leave with the Mayor.

Their plan became to make this a legislative, judicial, educational problem. It was high time to really educate the public. They both hoped it could work.

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