Another Suspicious Death in Laurie Smith’s Jails

We’re at a point where we don’t know what else to expect next. Every day it feels like there is something new happening and it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride. Last night Dan Noyes, ABC7’s investigative reporter, uncovered yet another death with disconcerting details in the jails. A death that had been skipped over by everyone because the sheriff had it listed plainly as an accident.

The first incident covered in the story, Paul Pierce, shows the failures that we’ve seen and talked about in enforcement; it showed these same issues extend into the jails – repeated failure to follow through on investigations, often due to lack of training, disinterest/lack of knowledge regarding policy on the part of supervisors, or financial considerations by administrators.

The interview also follows through on the Walter Roches case and the story ABC7 did earlier regarding the issues with his death. *applause*  I was very discouraged in my belief the “there was no foul play” comment by the sheriff weeks back would effectively dismiss everyone and no one would look back. I was wrong, there appears to be one reporter here who has dug into this and intends to follow through. Noyes verifies the scant information I had available and expounds upon what happened to Mr. Roches with new facts.  Perhaps now Mr. Roches’ death will be taken more seriously as a part of the problem, showing the lack of training from top to bottom. Don’t forget there was a lieutenant making all the calls during this altercation. What can’t be missed here is the attempt at distraction on the part of a sheriff who has repeatedly claimed to “welcome all eyes.”  We saw an example of her best defense earlier today through the Mercury News and other sources — a release of data showing how she has failed to hold anyone responsible for much of anything for the last three years despite there being “hundreds” of complaints as she has noted to the media. The more she talks the more conflicted her facts get.

Personally, while I cheered throughout the report at the information finally coming to light, did a “touchdown” dance that Mr. Noyes uncovered even more to show the public just how unforthcoming the sheriff is about what needs to be improved in her office… the best part though was the beginning.

When Mr. Noyes stated that “more and more sources” from inside the sheriff’s office were contacting him I was so proud that the people who have the power to make a difference are taking action.  I am so proud of those of you all for stepping out and standing up despite all the reasons we’ve been given not to do so. The sheriff may have deleted our core values from our lexicon and our office web page, but that doesn’t mean we, as enforcement and corrections deputies, have given them up.

No one has listened to us for years now. Many people have simply given up in the face of disinterest, ridicule, or worse, the now constant threat of retribution that so many have experienced — but here is a professional reporter that is showing he will listen. Have doubts? The next statement in the report should remove them — Noyes and ABC7 have “stories lined up for the coming weeks.”  I have a sneaking suspicion about what one or two of them are from the work of myself and my sources.  If I’m even slightly right, you’re going to want to keep an eye on ABC7 in the coming weeks.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to Dan Noyes and ABC7 — no one has been willing to cross the sheriff and all those who have stood with her to show the public what is happening. I hope your efforts gives the many, many good men and women in our office hope that there may be real solutions to real problems and not just yet another whitewashing of problems until the heat is off the sheriff.

For those of you that missed the story on the air, you can view it here: Don’t forget to check  back to see what else they have too add to this unraveling story line about our sheriff.