Some of you might consider that the decision to "redact all the case numbers to avoid a labor fee for the search for potential confidentially/ exempt cases," was a thoughtful gesture done to save me a few dollars, but bear in mind this is the same State Attorney's Office who I've accused of countless illegal and unethical acts, and I can assure you that the redaction of the case numbers was not a thoughtful gesture, but rather one intended to make it almost impossible for me, or anyone for that matter, to learn the identity of any of the individuals whose cases were impacted by the failure of the Miami Police Department to protect this homicide evidence.
By removing the case numbers, the only tracking numbers that could be used to research these cases were the Property Receipt Numbers that hadn't been redacted, and the only way that I or anyone else could obtain information by using the Property Receipt Numbers would be to get inside the Miami Police Property Room and access their computer system.
To make doubly sure that neither I, or anyone I might seek help from could learn anything more about these cases, not only were the case numbers redacted, but also the Court Case # and the various Categories Of Death.
The removal of the Court Case #'s made it impossible to use the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court's website search to gain any information on these cases.
And just to make sure that I wasn't aware that there were Court Case #'s available, the State Attorney's Office went so far as to remove a portion of the header in the list that had originally read, In Custody/Court Case #.
Below you find another, complete copy of this document that I received from the Miami Police Department last week and you will see in this copy all of the information that the State Attorney's Office removed.
In short, the State Attorney's office not only illegally removed information from their copy of the document that was not protected by any legal exemption, but in doing so they also failed to reveal all of the information that they removed, which beyond violating Florida Public Records Law is tantamount to engaging in Obstruction Of Justice.
This is how corrupt public official behave when they want to try and hide information.
Here is the copy of the document that the State Attorney's Office provided me on December 6th.
Here is the copy of the original list that was prepared by detectives from the Miami Police Department's Homicide Unit that I finally received on January 19th.
This version provides not only the redacted information missing from the list I received from the State Attorney's Office, but 10 more pages of information, that the State Attorney's office also chose to exclude from her response and failed to notify me about.
On October 20th, Miami Police Chief Rudy Llanes appeared in a video that the department posted on You Tube in a misguided effort to address the news leaking out of the department that hundreds of pieces of homicide evidence stored in a shipping container under the I-95 Expressway had been destroyed.
I say misguided, because as I was able to piece together in the days and weeks following the release of that video that the Chief repeatedly lied about his personal knowledge and involvement in the 4 year process that had eventually led to the discovery that, in his words, as many as "564 cases had been potentially affected" by the destruction of this evidence.
Shortly thereafter, I submitted my first public record's request to the Chief for a copy of the list of these cases that he had claimed in his video had been sent to the State Attorney's Office.
I followed that up with a request to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office for a copy of the same list, figuring that maybe between the two requests one of these public officials might actually provide me with the list.
The first to respond was the State Attorney's office, although the list that came from her office had been severely and illegally redacted removing information that SHOULD NOT have been blocked out. I got that list on December 2nd.
I kept the knowledge of receiving that list a secret to see how long it would take the Chief of Police to provide me with the department's copy.
After repeatedly emails - some of them sarcastically written - and a threat of a lawsuit, a copy was finally provided to me on the evening of January 19th by Assistant City Attorney Juan Perez.
The document was the same, and yet it was significantly different, and in those differences, and in the information contained in a subsequent list provided by the police department which I included as part of my last story, you can get an understanding of not only how both the State Attorney"s Office and the police department have been trying to manipulate and control the information contained in the original list of cases, but more importantly, how these two versions reveal that even now, 3 months after the information was first leaked about the destroyed evidence, no one in authority is ready, or willing to tell the truth about was actually occurred.
THE STATE ATTORNEY'S COPY OF THE LIST
When I received the list from the State Attorney's office, it came with the following message.
What these numbers reveal is that there was evidence related to 509 total cases storied in the shipping container, and of those 509, a total of 312 were "probably affected" by the destruction of the evidence.
Of those 312, a total of 192 cases were homicide cases, with another 25 cases involving Misc. deaths.
Not only were homicide cases affected, but also a total of 95 other cases involving everything from Sexual Battery to one DUI case.
The fact that 64 of these cases were related to Sexual Battery, and the history that the Miami Police Department has in failing for years to properly submit Rape Kits for testing - as of January of 2016, the City of Miami had more untested Rape Kits in storage than any other police department in Florida - the fact that evidence related to Sexual Battery cases was subjected to this kind of sloppy protection and possible contamination raises it's own questions about the attitude of the Miami Police Command Staff when it comes to looking out for the rights of women who've been sexually assaulted.
Most importantly, at least for the family and friends of the victims of homicides is the revelation that contrary to the implication that the Chief attempted to make at the last City Commission meeting, his blatant effort at double-talk by stating, "We do know that there are no defendants in custody awaiting trial with evidence in this container," were so grossly crafted to mislead the Commissioners and the public, that just this sentence alone should be grounds to fire his ass immediately.
Yes, there might be "NO DEFENDANTS IN CUSTODY AWAITING TRIAL," but the list includes 15 Open Homicide Cases:
Even with the inclusion of the redacted information, a first, second reading of this list will probably still leave you confused, because like those optical tricks where you're told to stare at a photo to discover a hidden object, this list is confusing because some of the information needed to decipher what these numbers mean wasn't included and has to be deducted.
From the first revelation that evidence had been destroyed, the explanation offered by the Chief, an explanation never denied or expanded on was that the shipping container at the center of all the controversy was identified as the Homicide Container where only homicide evidence had been stored.
In fact, more than homicide evidence was stored in this shipping container. The container, according to the below breakdown that was part of the list prepared by the Homicide Detectives turns out to have been a catch-all for various kind of cases.
And at least 7 cases where a Warrant has been issued. This number might be reduced to 5, because in the State Attorney's copy of this list it states that there are "5 Active Warrants" and 2 "In Custody."
So, while there might not be any defendants in jail awaiting trial, there appears to be 20 to 22 suspects on the loose that cops haven't caught yet, and whose cases might be affected by evidence destroyed.
That's a pretty significant piece of information that you would think that someone besides me would consider worthy of being made public. In fact, that's the kind of information that you would expect both a local newspaper and the local TV stations to consider really important to communicate to the citizens, given that it's their tax dollars that is being supposed to be used to pay for the safe storage of this evidence.
Lastly, at the last Commission meeting the Chief, when asked when the last piece of evidence had been placed in the shipping container claimed that the evidence stored in the shipping container was in 2011. Like other comments he's made, that comment could now be categorized, in what could become a new way to describe lying, as "An Alternative Fact.".
There's nothing like publishing a story about used shit paper in an empty lot in a city far from Miami to illustrate that when it comes to making a choice between devoting time and energy to do stories that would inform the community on the impact of what destroyed homicide evidence might mean to the administration of justice and to families and friends of murder victims in this community, the Miami Herald more often than not will choose to go with stories that reflect where they've allowed their journalism standards to go: They will choose to write about shit!
It's Miami, Bitches!
I can claim without fear of contradiction that the Chief's comment to Commission Chairman Hardemon in the above video were lie.
On December 28th, I was provided an Excel document with the Property List numbers for 421 cases that were associated with the evidence placed in the shipping container.
Here is that list.
The Property List numbers for cases: 141229-37890, 120101-000670,140819-242138, 130521-144889 and 120806-225822, are included in this document.
The first 2 numbers identify the year that the case was generated. Therefore, 2 cases created in 2012, 1 case created in 2013, and 2 cases created in 2014 were storied in that shipping container, which contradict the Chief's claim that no cases were stored after 2011.
Among the things you should consider about the information that provides the backbone for this story is that it didn't come from any secret sources. This is all information that was contained in public records - records that I had to repeatedly and aggressively pursue, and records that anyone in the local news media, showing the same gumption and determination could have obtained.
As I revealed last week, the local news media is far more interested in reporting on crimes that occur 300 miles from Miami instead of the crimes committed in Miami by Miami Police officers, and the Miami Herald, when given a choice will often choose to devote valuable space in its "news hole" for stories like this.