Friday, October 02, 2009

2 OCT 09: Fox-y at 1:05

Wasn't that nice to see on the Thursday evening news? Attorney Stacey Jackson didn't need Michael Registe after all. He's found new work, going after Columbus Police in a different way - representing an officer.

Stacey Jackson revealed Thursday he represents a Columbus police officer, who has filed a discrimination complaint against the department. Corporal Jeff Fox claims he's faced retaliation, since he appealed his firing from the force and won reinstatement. So yes, we can say it - Fox claims he's being hounded.

Stacey Jackson told WTVM the retaliation against Jeff Fox involves placing him on the "morning watch" or overnight shift, even though his wife has cancer. This claim brings a mixed reaction for me. In part it sounds like a heart-tugging appeal to the emotions - yet isn't it a compliment to put Fox on a shift when crime is more likely to happen?

Despite what TV stations might tell you, this blog broke the Jeff Fox story last year. He was one of two Columbus police officers under investigation, after a soldier under arrest was beaten at an entryway to the Muscogee County Jail [9 Sep 08]. We now know Roscoe Castle resigned from the force -- and he was the accused abuser, so he chose to beat it.

Jeff Fox was fired from the Columbus Police in February - but he appealed his firing, and the city Personnel Review Board decided that punishment was too harsh. The board concluded Fox tried to break up the fight, but then never reported what happened. The phrase "no harm, no foul" may work in basketball, but not always in law enforcement.

Tom Barron of the Personnel Review Board confirmed to the evening news what a source told us last year - that Jeff Fox was not truthful about what happened at the jail entrance. While Fox regained his job, he was punished with a two-week suspension without pay. Come to think of it, we don't hear much about officers working second jobs these days....

Stacey Jackson hinted he could blow open a wider scandal inside the Columbus Police. He said open records requests have found evidence that other suspended officers fudged their work hours on time cards. So it appears one good case of retaliation could deserve several others.

In all of this, one key piece of evidence remains missing. The beating of the suspected soldier reportedly was caught on tape, since it happened at the entryway to the jail. Yet to my knowledge, that 21-month-old videotape never has been made public - which is strange, because this incident sounds tame compared to some mixed martial arts fights.

We could say more about this, but we're under a deadline to prepare for a road trip. So we'll quickly wrap up other Thursday news:

+ The Ledger-Enquirer web site reported Federal Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth will retire next June. Isn't this amazing? Now attorney Frank Myers will be rumored for a third big local job.

+ Saturn of Columbus owners told WRBL it will shut down next October. I'm a bit surprised Saturn owners didn't hold a candlelight vigil outside the dealership Thursday night -- borrowing from an old "Mad TV" sketch where owners chant in cult-like tones, "A different kind of company! A different kind of car!"

+ Members of Fort Benning's Third Brigade were shown on TV, receiving training in vehicle searches and seizures. I suppose the rules for these searches are different in Iraq. The phrase "shake and bake" could describe what a car bomb does, every bit as much as a meth lab.

+ Georgia state officials announced the high school graduation rate is up to 79.6 percent. But reporters with the publication "Education Week" told GPB News they believe that number is inflated, based on how the rate is calculated. Please don't tell me Kathy Cox is giving high schoolers questions from "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader"....

+ National Public Radio interviewed the Director of Athletic Bands at Georgia State University. He's seeking a new school fight song, for the launch of college football next fall. How about borrowing from one of Tennessee's favorite tunes - and singing, "Wish that I was on a MARTA train, stopping at G.S.U."?

+ LaGrange crushed Kendrick 34-0 in high school football. I don't want to say this was predictable - but at least last weekend's Ball State-Auburn game actually had a gambling line.

+ Instant Message to the science teachers at Catoosa County, Georgia high schools: You have to feel a little frustrated. Despite all year classes on evolution, cheerleaders are still putting Bible verses on banners to inspire the football team.

COMING NEXT WEEK: While your blogger travels, we'll have some travel blogging....

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