Woman’s lawyer calls for probe of Winston case | FLORIDA TODAY | floridatoday.com
Attorney Patricia Carroll called on the attorney general to investigate the Tallahassee Police Department’s handling of the case, saying that detectives failed to interview key witnesses, used unreliable and incomplete forensic tests and never tested the alleged victim’s blood for the presence of date-rape drugs …
The lead detective got a search warrant for her client’s cellphone and social media accounts but failed to do the same for Winston and his two companions immediately after the accusations were made, Carroll said …
“The bulk of the investigation was into the rape victim,” Carroll said. “I’m looking at an investigation of a rape victim, not a rape suspect.”
This article sparked an unwelcome trip down memory lane, reminding me how the Melbourne Police Department (on Florida Today‘s stomping grounds) investigated attempted homicide. What was particularly annoying was the lead detective demanding evidence of prior violence that took a drive to Detroit for me to obtain, and which he subsequently discarded, along with other evidence. The MPD even ignored a substantiating arrest in an adjacent municipality, Palm Bay. And a 911 incident. And – most importantly – a false police report filed with their agency that clearly showed Jane-Doe-in-the-making intent.
Every screwy, sexist, lawless thing the Melbourne Police Department did was absolutely fine with Brevard/Seminole State Attorney Norm Wolfinger’s office.
And whatever was fine with Wolfinger’s office was fine with Florida Today, despite their having recently printed many articles about internal, FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigations of the chaotic Melbourne Police Department. They’d also printed a short article about the Palm Bay prostitution sting arrest.
To know for an absolute certainty that victim’s rights are most definitely determined by what the media is willing to cover, and how they’re willing to cover it, compare and contrast Florida Today‘s linked article to this Tallahassee Democrat article.
Same date – 12/14/13 – and although both newspapers are owned by Gannett, each article provides an entirely different take on the same story, and you needn’t go far past the headline of each article to detect just how different the takes are.
The two reporting teams were – diplomatically – a male and a female for each Gannett article. If they’re aware of each other’s work, I wonder how they keep breakfast down. I’m not sure I’ll be able to.
Florida victim’s rights are often advertised and seldom adhered to. If that makes you unhappy, writing a letter to the editor and/or the governor likely won’t get you anywhere. Just yet. Stay tuned.
Update: Upon checking Gannett’s mothership – USA Today – I found they used the Tallahassee Democrat version of the story, with no changes to authorship but some changes to video and links … and with a change of date – 12/13/13. Perhaps it’s the function of the mothership to test the waters.