Tuesday, October 7, 2014

COPS TAKE BRUTALITY HOME

As of Oct. 1, 2014, this and "The Erik B. Scott Memorial" blogs have been moved to www.williambscott.com

The latest post is at: Cops Take Brutality Home

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AMERICAN COPS' KILLER CULTURE (Reposted from barelyablog.com)


           by Ilana Mercer

American Cops’ Killer Culture

CRIME,CRIMINAL INJUSTICE,IMMIGRATION,LAW
Police need to be put in their place. Stripping them of their green camouflage outfits, armored vehicles and machine guns and equipping them all with a dashcam is a start. “Scrap the federal subsidy programs for municipal police departments that gives them the second-hand military hardware from Tikrit and Kandahar,” counsels Mark Steyn, “and replace it with one that ensures every patrol car has a camera.”
The truth of the matter is that the culture of US cops is that of a craven disregard for American lives.
… when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s not a fashion faux pas, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. Forget the armored vehicles with the gun turrets, forget the faceless, helmeted, anonymous Robocops, and just listen to how these “policemen” talk. Look at the video as they’re arresting the New York Times and Huffington Post reporters. Watch the St Louis County deputy ordering everyone to leave, and then adding: “This is not up for discussion.”
Really? You’re a constable. You may be carrying on like the military commander of an occupying army faced with a rabble of revolting natives, but in the end you’re a constable. And the fact that you and your colleagues in that McDonald’s are comfortable speaking to your fellow citizens like this is part of the problem. The most important of the “nine principles of good policing” (formulated by the first two commissioners of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 and thereafter issued to every officer joining the force) is a very simple one: The police are the public and the public are the police. Not in Ferguson. Long before the teargassing begins and the bullets start flying, the way these guys talk is the first indication of how the remorseless militarization has corroded the soul of American policing.
Which brings us back to the death of Michael Brown. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that everything the police say about this incident is correct. In that case, whether or not the fatal shooting of Mr Brown is a crime, it’s certainly a mistake. When an unarmed shoplifter* in T-shirt and shorts with a five-buck cigar box in one hand has to be shot dead, you’re doing it wrong.
American police have grown too comfortable with the routine use of lethal force. To reprise a few statistics I cited three months ago:
So the biggest government in the free world chooses not to keep statistics on how many people get shot by law enforcement. So be it. It does keep figures on “justifiable homicide”, which it defines as “the killing of a felon by a law enforcement official in the line of duty”. When is a police homicide not “justifiable”? Ah, well. At any rate, for 2012, the corpse count was 410.
By comparison, for the years 2012 and 2013 in England and Wales:
‘No fatal police shootings.’
In the Netherlands:
‘The average for the last 35 years is three dead and 15 injured…’
In Germany, a nation of 80 million people, police in 2011 fatally shot six persons. In Denmark, police shot 11 people in 11 years, and this was felt to be so disturbing that the National Police Commissioner held an inquiry into why his cops had gotten so trigger-happy. In Australia, 41 people were shot by police in eight years, and the then Justice Minister Amanda Vanstone … thought that that was too high. In Iceland, police have fatally shot just one suspect. That’s one guy in the entire history of the country. He was killed by police last December.
So comparisons between the kill rates from American police and those of other developed nations aren’t worth bothering with. Indeed, the “justifiable homicides” of US cops are more like the total murder count for other advanced societies:
In Oz, the total number of murders per year is about 270, so a nation of 23 million would have to increase by 50 per cent to commit as many homicides as American law enforcement. In Canada, whose urban police departments have absorbed certain American practices, a dozen or so people get shot dead by cops each year, which is again somewhat short of the US rate. Indeed, that 2012 “justifiable homicide” figure of 410 compares to a total Canadian homicide count for 2011 of 598. In other words, in America 120,000 or so full-time law enforcement officers rack up the same number of homicides as about 24 million Canadians.
That strikes me as on the high side.
In Ferguson, both parties agree that the first shot was fired from inside the car. The rest were fired by the officer when he’d got out of the car, with Chief Jackson conceding there could have been ten bullets fired. For purposes of comparison:
In 2011 the German police fired 85 bullets. That’s all of them. The entire police force. The whole country. Eighty-five bullets in one year. That’s seven bullets per month. One bullet for every million German citizens.
So the Ferguson PD used as many bullets on Michael Brown as the Polizei used on ten million Germans. But, by American standards, that’s relatively restrained. The same year as those German figures – 2011 – the Miami PD blew through the Polizei’s annual bullet allowance on just one traffic incident:
Police killed Raymond Herisse, 22, of Boynton Beach in a barrage of gunfire after they said he refused an order to pull over while speeding down a crowded Collins Avenue in his Hyundai…
Twelve officers – from Miami Beach and Hialeah – unleashed more than 100 rounds at Herisse, police said. The hail of bullets also struck and wounded three bystanders.
By comparison, those 85 German bullets per annum were aimed somewhat more precisely …
That’s to say, of those 85 bullets, 49 were warning shots. America no longer does “the warning shot”. But whatever happened to “the shot”? With the 36 non-warning bullets fired by German police that year, they killed six people and wounded fifteen. That’s a bullet-and-three-quarters per target. Whether shooting to kill or to disable, they’re trying to do it with a single shot. American policing takes a third of Germany’s annual bullet allowance just to off a dog:
In July, three officers fired 26 shots at a pit bull that had bitten a chunk out of an officer’s leg in a Bronx apartment building. And there have been other episodes: in 1995, in the Bronx, officers fired 125 bullets during a bodega robbery, with one officer firing 45 rounds.
Just what happened on Saturday is still being investigated. Police experts, however, suggested in interviews yesterday that contagious shooting played a role in a fatal police shooting in Queens Saturday morning. According to the police account, five officers fired 50 shots at a bridegroom who, leaving his bachelor party at a strip club, twice drove his car into a minivan carrying plainclothes police officers investigating the club.
The bridegroom, Sean Bell, who was to be married hours later, was killed, and two of his friends were wounded, one critically.
Three months ago I asked this question:
Are American civilians so different from Europeans or Aussies or Kiwis or Canadians that they have to be policed as if they’re cornered rebels in an ongoing civil war?
A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc. Maybe. But the problem is that, increasingly, this is the only style of law enforcement America’s police culture teaches – not only for the teeming favelas, but for the leafy suburbs and the rural backwaters and the college-town keg party, too. … MORE.


For syndication rights to http://BarelyABlog.com or http://IlanaMercer.com, contact ilana@ilanamercer.com. Read more @ http://barelyablog.com/american-cops-killer-culture/#ixzz3BWBJrXAV

Friday, August 22, 2014

INTERVIEWS & DEATH THREATS

Interview

Link to a NewsmaxTV "Midpoint" interview today: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIVr_uZ-6B4&list=UUx6h-dWzJ5NpAlja1YsApdg

We discussed Erik's execution, the fact that rogue/outlaw killer-cops now constitute a dangerous domestic terrorist threat, why "The Permit" was written, and how law enforcement's lies and cover-ups have undermined Americans' trust, sparking riots in Ferguson, MO.





Death Threats

After doing an interview on "The Truth is Stranger Than Fiction With Pete Wichert" Internet radio show on Wed., 20 Aug., the host received a number of sinister phone calls throughout the night. 

The voice-altered caller threatened the lives of Pete Wichert, two of his other guests, and yours truly. The caller said, "William B. Scott will be lucky to be alive long enough...to get on 'Infowars,' because he spoke about his son's murder."

Pete's theory: My account of Erik's murder-by-cop might have "upset" the Cleveland Mob or a venal, die-hard police union. Pete said the caller repeatedly warned that "Scott had better keep his mouth shut." Evidently, the worst vitriol was focused on an Infowars reporter, Joe Biggs, and ol' man Scott. 


Joe's on-camera interview, earlier this week, showed a St. Ann, MO, cop, Lt. Jay Albers, pointing an AR-15 rifle at Joe and yelling, "I'll f****** kill you!" The video was carried by Fox News and other TV networks, and resulted in Lt. Albers being "suspended indefinitely," according to a statement released by the St. Ann Police Department.

Evidently, the caller demanded that I stop recounting the story of my son's murder at the hands of William "Curley Joe" Mosher. It's annoying police officers, who blindly, desperately hang onto the ridiculous, false narrative spun by Las Vegas Metro PD's chief cover-up architect, Captain Patrick Neville.

Upon advice of a retired sheriff and a couple of police officer friends, I reported the death threats to appropriate authorities. Personally, I think the caller's a sick, warped nutcase holed up in his mom's basement. Rest assured, though, all threatened parties are taking protective precautions.

Finally, please note these latest, shocking statistics about killer-cops throughout America:

At least 700 people have been killed by U.S. police, since January 1, 2014.
At least 1449 have been killed since May 1, 2013.
At least 1087 were killed May 1, 2013 - May 1, 2014.

Source: Police reports via corporate news reports.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LAS VEGAS ANTI-GUN POLICY: KILL AND COVER


The following appeared in the Sangre de Cristo Sentinel on July 19, 2014.


LAS VEGAS ANTI-GUN POLICY: KILL AND COVER

William B. Scott

On July 10, 2010, Erik B. Scott, a 1994 U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate with an MBA from Duke University, was shot to death by three Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (“Metro”) officers in front of a Las Vegas, NV, Costco big-box store. While many readers will recall that egregious, senseless murder, few know what followed: A jaw-dropping cover-up more typical of the old Soviet Union than America.

To every man and woman, who carries a firearm, the Erik Scott shooting is a chilling reminder that billion-dollar companies, such as Costco, have irrational, secret, anti-gun policies that literally kill their customers.

Erik, a Boston Scientific cardiac pacemaker sales rep, was carrying a legally registered concealed firearm, while he and his girlfriend were shopping at Costco-Summerlin in Las Vegas. He also had a concealed-carry permit in his wallet, issued by the same Metro police force that killed him.

When Erik squatted on the floor to verify that three metal water bottles would fit into a soft-sided, zip-up cooler, a Costco employee spotted Erik’s Kimber Ultra Carry .45-caliber semiautomatic in an inside-the-waistband holster. A civil interchange with a Costco manager ensued, and Erik was told that a Costco policy banned guns inside company stores—although there were no signs to that effect posted outside or inside, and there’s no mention of a gun-ban policy in the membership application. Erik calmly responded that his sidearm was legal and that he had a concealed-carry weapon (CCW) permit on his person. The manager never asked Erik to leave the store, and the two parted on good terms, according to witnesses.

The Costco manager reassured a plainclothes security guard, Shai Lierley, that Erik would be leaving soon. For reasons known only to him, the young, cocky Lierley—defying management practices and company policy—placed a 311 call to the local police, falsely claiming Erik “had a gun and was acting erratic.” Thinking an armed madman was barricaded inside, Metro cops rushed to the store in overwhelming force—15 police cruisers, a helicopter, an incident-command team and an ambulance.

An inbound Metro lieutenant suggested that Costco managers quietly evacuate the store. Unaware that the evacuation had anything to do with him, Erik and his girlfriend calmly walked out with the crowd, passing three Metro officers waiting at the entrance and exit doors. Costco’s Shai Lierley identified Erik to an agitated, scared Metro officer, William Mosher, who was clutching a semiautomatic, visibly shaking and sweating profusely. Alarmed, Mosher spun around and immediately yelled something, which even nearby cops failed to comprehend.

Erik turned to find a frightened, obese cop shouting three conflicting commands. With his left hand, Erik lifted his T-shirt to expose the Kimber, and repeated, "I am armed, I am armed..." Witnesses said he moved his right elbow enough to expose the Kimber. In his right hand, Erik held a BlackBerry cell phone.

Mosher instantly panicked and fired two shots with a .45-caliber Glock 21. The cop’s first hollow-point slug struck Erik in the heart; the second went through his right thigh, well below his jeans’ front pocket.

Two other officers hesitated a long beat, then fired another five rounds, all into Erik's back. Erik was shot a total of seven times. The five that hit him in the back were fired after he was on the ground, dying.


Based on a recording of Lierley’s 311-call, we’ve confirmed that Mosher gave Erik three conflicting commands and fired, all within two seconds. Mosher then knelt on his victim’s back and handcuffed Erik’s hands.

Costco had numerous security cameras inside the store and at least four trained on the entrance, where the lethal shooting took place. Violating department policies, Metro detectives did NOT immediately seize the surveillance system's two digital video recorders’ hard disks. They left the critical DVR and hard drive in Costco's control for five days, allowing Costco-Summerlin personnel and the store’s IT contractor to tamper with video data. Five days after the shooting, Metro detectives finally decided to pick up one Costco DVR. After valiant attempts to “recover” critical imagery, the DVR was sent to the U.S. Secret Service’s Los Angeles office, where forensics experts examined it. The experts later testified that 96 percent of the DVR’s data were recovered. The four percent not recoverable just happened to encompass the time Erik was in Costco, as well as the fatal officer-involved shooting. The hard disk’s platter sectors, where that critical four percent of unrecoverable data resided, was physically damaged, as if the disk were running, “then dropped from about chest high,” according to forensic experts’ testimony.

Within hours of the shooting, a Clark County Deputy Public Administrator and a Metro cop illegally broke into Erik's condominium and stole several of his firearms. One pistol, a small Ruger LCP, was later produced as "proof" that Erik was carrying two guns. Why two? Because the AMR ambulance crew had reported finding a gun on Erik’s body. The sole gun Erik really was carrying (the Kimber) had already been removed from the corpse and placed on the ground at Costco, still in the holster, as if Erik had pulled it, thereby “justifying” Mosher's murder. In fact, the only item Erik ever had in-hand was his BlackBerry smartphone. In a state of panic, Mosher couldn’t distinguish a BlackBerry from a semiautomatic pistol. He literally executed Erik.

There is absolutely no doubt that Erik was murdered. However, integrity-challenged cops of Metro’s “Blue Wall” immediately resorted to post-shooting procedures that are standard practice for hundreds of corrupt Las Vegas police officers: Conceal the facts, destroy and manufacture “evidence,” coerce selected eyewitnesses, and systematically demonize the deceased victim. The cover-up of Erik’s murder-by-cop was aided and abetted by the Clark County District Attorney, an unprincipled union—the Las Vegas Police Protective Association—and wealthy power brokers, who control The Strip.

My family filed two lawsuits in federal court—one against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the three shooters and the sheriff, Douglas Gillespie, and a second against Costco. For unbelievable reasons, both suits went nowhere. After the second was dismissed, our lawyer said, “I don’t think it’s possible to get justice in this town.”

The truth about Erik’s murder and its blatant cover-up is so bizarre that non-Las Vegas citizens would never believe it. Consequently, I resorted to asymmetric warfare. I wrote a novel based on the actual events of my son’s senseless execution. Entitled The Permit, the book is “faction”—truth wrapped in a techno-thriller story. According to reviewers, The Permit is a fast-moving, riveting tale of intrigue, corruption and accountability.


Synopsis of “The Permit:” A murder-by-cop victim, “Erik Steele,” was actually a covert assassin for Checkmate, an ultra-secret Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism team. Arrogant, low-intelligence Las Vegas Metro cops had brazenly killed a high-value federal agent. As Metro leaders soon realize, their trigger-happy cretins truly did kill the wrong guy.

Metro’s clumsy attempts to cover-up Erik’s execution triggers a deadly campaign codenamed Operation Gold Shield. Activated by the highest office in America, Shield is designed to neutralize INDIGO, a new, dangerous class of domestic terrorist that has killed more Americans since 9/11 than were lost on that modern day of infamy: Rogue cops and their corrupt allies. Shield is launched to prevent the U.S. from erupting in armed revolt. However, the initial targets are those responsible for killing a fellow Checkmate agent, Erik Steele.

Integrity-devoid killer-cops, corrupt district attorneys, police union thugs, an unscrupulous sheriff, and even a powerful billionaire are held accountable via advanced, highly classified means, such as tiny missiles with nanoparticle warheads; a microwave-beam weapon that fries a victim; an airborne system that creates “ghosts” in a target’s bedroom; a “black world” fighter aircraft armed with T-Rex, a stunning electrostatic weapon; an acoustic beam that shatters bones and buildings, and a lethal disease that precludes sleep.

Ultimately, bodies pile up, government officials run scared and the glitzy Las Vegas Strip is silenced.

Checkmate Justice is done.


William B. Scott, the late-Erik Scott’s father and author of “The Permit,” is a full-time author and consultant. He retired in 2007 as the Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology. Over a 22-year career with the international magazine, he wrote more than 2,500 stories, and received 17 editorial awards. He is a coauthor of two other novels, “Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III” and “Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III,” and a nonfiction book, “Inside the Stealth Bomber: The B-2 Story.”

During a nine-year Air Force career, Bill served as aircrew on classified airborne-sampling missions, collecting nuclear debris by flying through radioactive clouds; an electronics engineering officer at the National Security Agency, developing satellite communications security systems; and an instrumentation and flight test engineer on U.S. Air Force fighter and transport aircraft development programs.

Bill is a Flight Test Engineer graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and a licensed commercial pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings. He has logged approximately 2,000 hours on 80 aircraft types, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University-Sacramento.






Thursday, June 5, 2014

THE RIGHT SHERIFF: ACCOUNTABILITY





The next sheriff of Clark County, NV, will face two daunting tasks—getting rid of rogue or outlaw Metro police officers and instilling a culture of accountability. However, he absolutely must do both, or good, honorable police officers on the Metro force will face the wrath of increasingly outraged, distrustful citizens.

To the latter point, this week, one of our most tireless, loyal "Erik's Warriors" cited a news story written by John B. Whitehead, attorney, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves, entitled, "The Growing Epidemic of Police Violence: Is It Time to De-Militarize Police Forces?" She noted that a shocked Las Vegas Metro police officer had claimed, in his 25 years of law enforcement work, he'd never seen more violence toward cops than today. She replied, "As he was saying that, I was thinking, 'DITTO.' [I’ve never seen more] violence from police against citizens, the mentally ill, babies, young people, the elderly, and especially pets.” 

The Right Sheriff (TRS) knows all too well that cops are directly responsible for any increased violence aimed at them. As a group, they’re reaping what they sowed. Americans, in general, and Las Vegas residents, in particular, are extremely fed up and disgusted by out-of-control, militarized, arrogant police officers. And TRS is acutely aware that he has very little time to get rid of Metro's dozen or so "crazies"—a moniker fellow officers gave their killer-cop brethren, such as William Mosher and Bryan Yant—before angry natives revolt and literally start hunting down Metro cops.

Consequently, The Right Sheriff will attack the "crazies" problem head-on, regardless of predictable whining and legal objections from a venal, malfeasant Police Protective Association that should be decertified and disbanded. I predict Las Vegas citizens and honest county commissioners will back the new sheriff’s “Rid the Ranks of Rogues” campaign a hundred percent.

Next up is the daunting job of changing an incredibly corrupt Metropolitan Police Department culture that routinely condones abuse and murders of the very people paying cops' salaries. The Right Sheriff has no choice but to institute stringent accountability standards, if he expects to improve internal morale and gain the trust and loyalty of his good officers, who are as revolted and demoralized as Clark County’s cop-abused citizens.

The new boss will immediately implement a standard of accountability that would be unthinkable under the malfeasant administrations of Doug Gillespie, Bill Young and their predecessors. In essence, TRS will require Metro officers to adopt and inculcate the spirit of an Honor Code that U.S. Military Academy graduates—such as my son, the late-Erik Scott—lived by:

 “A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do.”

No longer will patrol officers be allowed to look the other way, when their outlaw brothers- and sisters-in-brown commit an act of misconduct. And, when the infamous "Blue (or Brown) Wall” of silence is erected, and transparent lying proliferates in the name of "protecting one of our own," The Right Sheriff will fire each and every cop, who openly condones malfeasance and protects a crooked outlaw in their midst.

Further, any police union thug, who dares to threaten an honest whistleblower, or blindly backs a Metro killer-cop, will be upbraided and, possibly, dismissed. The PPA’s unlawful counsel of bald-faced insubordination will simply not be tolerated by TRS and his good, professional officers. To paraphrase Checkmate’s message in “The Permit,” You kill, you lie, you’re gone. Period.

It won't take long for honest cops to line up behind The Right Sheriff and support his campaign of cleansing. It might get ugly, but good, honest officers will do whatever it takes to get rid of moronic thug cops, including complicit supervisors. The days of rampant “cowboy cops” that now constitute 25-30 percent of Metro’s ranks are numbered.

How will The Right Sheriff destroy Metro’s rotten culture? Ex-lawmen, retired senior military officers and corporate executives have shared the following suggestions:

  • Change the language. Police officers will no longer refer to themselves and their chosen career field as “Law Enforcement.” They will now call themselves “Peace Officers,” and will act accordingly. Metro cops will be told every single day that their job is to keep the peace on Clark County streets, not find questionable excuses to “enforce” the law at any cost.

  • Scrub the nauseating “Partners with the Community” pablum from Metro cruisers and replace it with an old-school police motto, “Protect and Serve.” Again, every cop wearing a Metro badge will change his attitude and demeanor to reflect a true protect-and-serve mentality. Those who won’t or can’t will be looking for a job.

  • Institute a policy that any Metro officer participating in an officer-involved shooting or incident resulting in death or severe injury will be questioned at length by an outside investigative agency; automatically take a lie detector test, and immediately be tested for illegal and prescription drugs, including steroids and so-called “growth hormones.” 

  • Completely revamp the Metro police academy training program. Inputs and advice from active-duty and retired police officers will be solicited, as will suggestions from outside agencies, consultants and families of Metro shooting victims. While details are yet to be defined, Metro’s upgraded training regimen will be the antithesis of today’s, which was articulated quite well in the previously referenced news article:

“Yet the tension inherent in most civilian-police encounters these days…goes far deeper, to a transformation in the way police view themselves and their line of duty. Specifically, what we’re dealing with today is a skewed shoot-to-kill mindset in which police, trained to see themselves as warriors or soldiers in a war, whether against drugs, or terror, or crime, must “get” the bad guys—ie., anyone who is a potential target—before the bad guys get them. The result is a spike in the number of incidents in which police shoot first, and ask questions later.

“Just as troubling as this ‘shoot-first-ask-questions-later” mindset is what investigative journalist Katie Rucke uncovered about how police are being trained to use force without hesitation and report their shootings in such a way as to legally justify a shot. [Jack, a concerned citizen, who went undercover to attend law enforcement training classes] said ‘these trainers consistently promote more aggression and criticize hesitation to use force. …They argue that the risk of making a mistake is worth it to absolutely minimize risk to the officer. And they teach officers how to use the law to minimize legal repercussions in almost any scenario. All of this is, of course, done behind the scenes, with no oversight from police administrators, much less the public.’”

Worth it to absolutely minimize risk to the officer? No way. Not for my dead son, Erik, or me. Not to the loved ones of all Metro’s victims. Most would be alive today, if an amped-up, quick-to-shoot killer-cop had demonstrated a smidgen of courage, good judgment and restraint, instead of shooting an innocent citizen. 

The Right Sheriff will weed out Metro’s chicken cops and replace them with old-school lawmen–men and women who have the courage to confront danger, yet hesitate long enough to give a “target” the benefit of doubt, instead of saving their own hides at any cost.

Finally, The Right Sheriff will lead from the front, not from behind a headquarters desk or cocktail glass. If an officer-involved shooting takes place, TRS will race to the scene and get a timely first-hand look at the situation. And, if he spots a guilty Metro cop’s “throwdown” gun, or smells the stench of another imbecilic Patrick Neville-orchestrated coverup, The Right Sheriff will immediately detain the on-scene shooters and cover-up architect. He absolutely will not tolerate liars and cover-up artists on Las Vegas Metro’s force. The decades-old routine of kill-and-cover is ended.

In my opinion, The Right Sheriff is Ted Moody. Elect Ted as the next sheriff, and LVMPD has a fighting chance of gaining the trust and support of about two million Clark County citizens. 

William B. Scott

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cutting Room Floor: Ravens Roast

When editing "The Permit," I cut about 15,000 words, including entire chapters, that didn't satisfy a fiction writer's ruthless criterion: Does it move the story forward?

Several faithful readers, who had tracked the online, serialized version, noted that the final, published book was missing a chapter they particularly liked—"Ravens Roast." Consequently, like a DVD movie that provides "Extras," here's that chapter, rescued from the writer's "cutting room floor." It didn't make the final manuscript, but was resurrected to satisfy fans of the savvy old Las Vegas mobster, Dino Alberti.




Ravens Roast


LAS VEGAS

It was a crazy idea, one birthed in outrage and anger, but what the hell. The boys hadn’t been this charged up and excited, since being sidelined, after the feds supposedly cleaned up Vegas decades ago. Of course, nothing had really been cleaned up. The “family” had simply changed tactics, shifting to more-sophisticated ways that employed Metro cops as enforcers, rather than private, in-house muscle. But tonight, the old ways, the tried-and-true family means of guaranteeing a mark got the message, were being reborn.

Dino Alberti shut the lights off and eased his two-tone, 1988 Buick Riviera to the curb. “The third house up there, on da right, ya see?” His white-haired passenger shoved oversized bifocal glasses higher on his nose.

“Yeah, I got it,” Joey growled. “You gonna call ‘im first?”

“Hold yer horses,” Dino said, twisting a key to silence the Buick’s engine. He retrieved a pay-as-you-go, disposable cell phone and note pad from his jacket pocket. “Get dat flashlight over here, so I can see these damn chiclets.” Joey held a penlight over the center console, while Dino painstakingly punched tiny keys, then held the phone to his ear.

On the fifth ring, a groggy voice answered, “Krupa residence.”

“Yeah, is dis Officer Olek Krupa of the Metropolitan Poh-leese?” Dino asked, effecting a cheesy Hollywood-mobster accent.

A pause. “Speaking.”

“You da dude who shot dat Steele kid, right?”

A longer pause, before Krupa clipped, “Yeah. Who’s asking?”

“Then we got da correct guy. Me and da boys just thought you oughta know that youse is a dead man. Ya still walkin’ ‘round, but da black hand is on yo’ shoulder. Let me put it dis way: You gonna die, mutha!”

Dino dropped the tiny cell phone. It bounced on the seat, then the floorboard, between his feet. “Sonofabitch!” he grunted, flailing a hand in the dark, until he found the device. He clutched it, squinted hard at the keypad, and punched a red END key.

Harsh laughter from the rear seat joined that of Dino’s shotgun passenger. “Ooooh, you scared dat pig, boss-man! Kickin’ dat phone round musta put da fright in dat boy! Krupa’s bee-linin’ for da crapper, ‘bout to ruin his jammies!” Joey hooted.

“Shut ya trap,” Dino growled. “Pissant baby-pink phones ain’t big enough for a man’s fist!”

The three elderly, long-retired “enforcers” razzed each other for another few minutes. Having worked together since the sixties, when they were young Mob toughs, their crude, exaggerated New Yawk insults were back-handed endearments reserved for the closest of compadres. They all had blood on their hands, a tough bond that ensured common experiences and black secrets were shared only with each other. Those confidences would never be divulged, even to wives and children.

Dino slapped Joey on the shoulder. “That fat-butt cop oughta be in the sack by now. You deliver da package, then haul your old ass down to the next cross-street. I’ll pick ya up there.”

“Gladly, boss. This damn thing’s startin’ to stink.” Joey grabbed a black trash bag and unlatched the car door, eliciting a string of curses.

“Close dat frappin’ door, ya stupid goombah!” Dino stage-whispered. A dome light had illuminated the interior. He fumbled for the overhead switch, then cleared Joey to ease the door open again. No light. The seventy-five-year-old pulled himself erect with some effort, muttering obscenities about Buicks. He tossed the trash bag over his shoulder, letting its ball of cargo slap his butt-cheek.

Watching the man shuffle up the sidewalk, Dino griped, “Mother of Jesus, Joey! Can ya speed it up?”

“It’ll be daybreak, before that old fart gets to the door!” Franco, the lone rear-seat occupant, groused.

Joey eyed the Krupa home’s darkened windows, thinking through his next moves.

No lights, no dogs. Good. Hope to hell dat pig don’t have no motion-sensor on da front porch.

He crept to the door, glad he’d worn soft-soled SAS-brand shoes. Stretching the sack’s yellow drawstring open, a stench almost decked him, forcing a retreat to arm’s length. Joey dumped the contents a few feet from the front door and wadded up the trash bag. Pinching his nose to avoid inhaling that gawdawful odor, he jammed a sheet of white typing paper under the critter’s scrawny legs. Lying on its side, mouth agape, the bloated creature was a disgusting sight.

Joey half-trotted down the front walkway, turned right at the street and hustled to the T-intersection. Dino’s Buick was there, engine idling. The old man slid into the passenger seat, breathing heavily. 

“Jeez! Deliveries were a helluva lot easier thirty years ago!”

“Ya ain’t havin’ a heart attack, are ya?” Franco chuckled, patting Joey’s sweat-matted hair. “If you’re dependin’ on this old geezer to give mouth-to-mouth to that ugly puss, you’re gonna die!”

Joey wheezed and pretended to spasm, triggering hearty yuks from his companions. Dino eased into the street and executed two turns, before switching on the headlights. Once on Sahara, he handed the throw-away cell phone to Joey.

“Give Birdy a yell. Tell him we’ll be there in ten,” he directed.

Joey punched a pre-programmed key and waited. “Hey, Birdy! We’re on our way. You got a bead on dat other pigeon?” Long pause. “Well, shizza! Just a minute... Yo, Dino,” Joey called. “Birdy says dat other cop...Caca whatever... He’s not home. Right now, his rig is parked on Apache, and da pig ain’t in it. He took off with some other cat.”

Dino swore under his breath and whipped a U-turn at the next light.

Soon, the lights-out Buick was parked a hundred feet from Officer Kale Akaka’s spanking-new Ford F250 pickup truck in a strip-mall lot. Burt, whose given name had morphed into “Birdy” at an early age, appeared and rapped on the passenger window.

“Hey ya, boys. The big cop left with a Metro detective awhile ago. We better get this shit done, ‘cause he could be back any minute.”

Dino double-checked the dome light switch, then cleared his co-conspirators to exit. He popped the Buick’s trunk and extracted another cinched-tight trash bag. “Okay, Franco, do your stuff. Everybody else, back inside. If Franco gets busted, we’re outa here. Got it?”

Murmurs of agreement were trumped by Franco’s harsh objection.

“Like hell, Dino! You better not leave an old buddy out here by hisself! On Mother Mary’s soul, I swear I’ll kick yo flabby ol’ butt....”

“Fuggedaboutit!” Dino declared, invoking the Brooklyn salute and patting Franco’s cheek. “Just don’t get your ass busted, if ya know what’s good for ya! Now, get goin’ already! When you’re done, flick dat flashlight on and off, and we’ll pick you up, okay?”

Franco grumbled, but twisted the trash bag into a fist and took off. The others slipped back into the darkened Buick. At Akaka’s giant rig, Franco flattened himself against the passenger door, forced a long “Slim Jim” through the window seal and started probing. By feel, he found the critical mechanism, wiggled the tool’s hook into position, and yanked. Inside, the door-lock button snapped upward. Franco glanced around, ensuring all was clear, and opened the truck’s door.

Fortunately, Akaka had snuffed the cab’s interior light, and no alarm had been activated. Franco struggled to climb into the waist-high passenger seat and eased the door closed. He opened the trash bag and carefully dumped a black, blood-soaked corpse onto the pristine-leather driver’s seat. He, too, slipped a hand-scrawled message under a scrawny leg.

Before closing the truck’s door, he noticed a dark smear appearing around the carcass. Akaka’s fine leather seat was already blood-stained.


A half hour later, the four aging ex-enforcers were hunkered over pie and coffee at a Denny’s restaurant. They were still excited, Dino noted, reliving the night’s adventure. He hadn’t seen Franco this animated, since his wife died.

Dino tapped his coffee cup on the table, drawing the others’ attention. “Boys, ya done good tonight. Those shitbirds will be ruinin' their drawers, ‘round daylight, and they won’t have a dad-gummed clue who to blame." Serious now, Dino had dropped the back-East accent and slang of his youth. "Might take those dim bulbs awhile, but they’ll connect the dots and figure out that Erik’s friends have ‘em in the crosshairs." 

“What about the other shooter? We’re not lettin’ him skate, are we?” Birdy asked.

“Naw. I just couldn’t find out where he lived!” Dino said, eliciting chuckles. “Once we pin down his coordinates, we’ll pay him a visit, as well. Every one of those killers is gonna pay for shootin’ Erik!”


LAS VEGAS/4:23 a.m.

“Another very profitable night, Kale! Keep this up and we’ll retire in a year!” the Metro lieutenant declared.

Kale Akaka shook hands with his “pharmaceutical business” partner, gripped the shoulder straps of a nylon day pack stuffed with American green, and unfolded from the lieutenant’s low-slung car. He waved at the departing vehicle and dug a set of keys from his pocket. Even in the faint pre-dawn light, his new, bright-red F250 was gorgeous.

Dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, the powerfully built officer could have been a student, commuter or shift-worker. He pressed the “Open” button on a key fob, pulled the truck door wide and started to slide under the steering wheel. With one leg elevated, he froze. A lifeless desert raven lay on the contoured leather driver’s seat. The stinking dead bird’s blood had oozed into a thick stain—a foot-diameter blotch.

Furious, Akaka yanked a sheet of bloody paper that had been wedged under the bird’s claw-like talons:

VADER’S RAVENS ARE DEAD DUCKS.

A chill washed over Officer Kale Akaka. Somehow, the message reaffirmed a nagging conviction that had plagued him day and night, since he’d pumped four 9-mm slugs into Erik Steele’s body: Time was running out. His ticket-of-life had already been punched, then stamped:  Expired.


LAS VEGAS/7:10 a.m.

Olek Krupa was shaving, when his wife screamed. He grabbed a towel and ran from the bathroom, sliding to a halt long enough to sweep his Glock off the nightstand. Amy screamed again.

“Oly! What is that?” Amy babbled, terrorized. She backed away from the open front door, one hand over her mouth, the other flapping at a black, feathered mass.

Krupa crossed the threshold and squatted. A dead, bloody raven lay on its side, wings bent at unnatural angles. It was rank, radiating a sickening, putrid odor intensified by rising air temperatures. He tugged a note from a curved talon:

VADER’S RAVENS ARE DEAD DUCKS.

Slowly, Olek Krupa straightened. He crumpled the offensive sheet and glared at the bird’s matted, blood-glued feathers. He, too, felt cold terror rising within his being.

“Oly! Talk to me!” Amy was pouting, gripping the man’s bicep. “Who did this? It’s so....so...scary! What does...?”

“It’s an old mobster trick,” Krupa growled, irritated. “Somebody’s playing a sick joke.”

“But what does the sign...?” Amy cried.

“Hell, I don’t know!” he shouted, jerking his arm free. “Some sicko kid trying to freak us out!”

He stomped to the garage, returned with a shovel, and scooped up the large bird’s corpse. He dumped it into a trashcan, slammed the lid, then slipped into the back yard. The skinny cop knelt at the swimming pool’s edge and rinsed his hands, even though he’d not touched the rotting, jet-black raven.

From the kitchen, Amy watched her husband scrubbing his hands and arms. Narrow, sloped shoulders were shaking, and his eyes kept flitting around the yard, as if searching for the creep, who had left an ugly, dead raven. Either the man was crying—which she doubted—or he was trembling, filled with stark fear.

That frightened her. Something had snapped in Oly, when he was staring at the dead bird on his doorstep, reading that ominous message:

VADERS RAVENS ARE DEAD DUCKS.