MPD investigators interviewed the victim’s best friend, Maria Frank, Ethics Project Questions

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Details from the police report:

MPD investigators
interviewed the victim’s best friend, Maria Frank, who was initially
reluctant to speak to officers because she feared retaliation by the gang
members involved. She eventually revealed that on July 24 she was with Lois
in her home in the same neighborhood, when an altercation between Lois and a
drug dealer started. She saw an individual pull Lois out of the house, shove
her into the garage and then heard sounds of a struggle, screams, and a gun
shot. She ran from the home and hid at her grandmother’s house until the
police located her.

The evidence
collected from the crime scene, and statements by Maria Frank, lead to the
arrest of William Tanner, an African-American male. The investigation also
lead to the arrest of Anthony Landon, believed to have driven William Tanner
from the crime scene, and Tanner’s younger brother, Joey, who is believed to
have helped William Tanner dispose of incriminating evidence the next day.

Videotaped interview with Anthony Landon

In an MPD
interrogation conducted by Detective Jones, Anthony Landon, a White male,
admits to knowledge of William Tanner’s involvement in gangs and drug selling
activity. He states that he knew when he drove William Tanner to the victim’s
residence that Tanner planned to threaten her about money owed him and that
he knew, from past experience, that Tanner was capable of serious physical
violence. He denied all involvement in any violent acts against Lois and
stated that when he drove Tanner away from the crime scene, he did not know
that Tanner had just killed her.

Interview with an officer not involved in
the case:

According to MPD
Detective Phil Manning, Lois Murphy, a White female, was known by the
Metropolis Police Department (MPD) as a drug user. She had three convictions
for drug-related crimes and was currently on probation for her most recent
conviction. She had been a confidential informant for Detective Manning for
almost two years, providing information about drug trafficking activity in
Metropolis. Detective Manning believes that Lois was not involved in a gang,
but he knew she came in contact with gang members when she purchased drugs. Detective
Manning knew she had drugs in her possession at times that he met with her,
but did not arrest her because he wanted to keep her as an informant.

Detective Manning
also knew that Lois was in violation of the terms of her probation by
purchasing drugs, but he never reported that to her probation officer because
she was a valuable source of information for the department, leading the
local drug task force to many successful raids.

Interview with Nearby Convenience Store

Raoul Garcia, the
Latino owner of a convenience store down the street from the victim’s
residence, was interviewed for background information on his knowledge of the
victim and criminal activity in the neighborhood. He stated that that the
cops frequently stop by his store for a chat and ask how things are going in
the neighborhood, and they tend have a visible presence on his block. He’s
always happy to provide a cup of coffee free of charge to any of the officers
who stops by because he knows they have a tough job and they are looking out
for the businesses in the neighborhood. He sees no problem with showing his
gratitude in this small way.

Interview with Nearby Bar Owner:

Joe Sampson, a
White male and the owner of the Corner Tap, was also interviewed about the
safety in the neighborhood and the amount of known gang activity. Joe stated
that he knows drug dealing goes on in the neighborhood and there are often
fights between rival gangs. He says he does not have to worry about any of
the violence spilling into his bar because he’s friends with many cops. There
are a couple officers who swing by his place a couple times a night whenever
they are on the night shift, and he always makes sure they are taken care of
when they come in to watch the football game on Sunday. And, unlike the bar
down the street, none of his customers get hassled by the cops at closing
time. The word is out that he’s friends with the cops.

Media accounts:

An article
appearing on July 31 in the Metropolis
Daily News
reported that a call had been made from the victim’s home
phone on July 24 during which the caller said in a quiet whisper that she
needed help but then the phone was disconnected. No follow-up call was made
by the dispatcher and no squad was sent to the residence. When asked about
this call by the Metropolis Daily News,
the MPD denied that such a call had been made.

In another article
on this story appearing on August 15, the Metropolis
Daily News
reported that the MPD acknowledged, after further inquiry,
that a call had been made on July 24 from the victim’s residence. The MPD is
refusing to release either a transcript or the audio of the call, citing data
privacy restrictions.

Author’s interview with Maria Frank

Maria Frank said
that the investigator who tracked her down promised that the police would
protect her if she came forward to testify. Relying on those assurances, she
told them what she knew about the incident. However, she now knows that
Metropolis has no funds for witness protection and the MPD cannot do more
than provide enhanced patrolling in her neighborhood. Maria feels that the
defendant’s gang friends want to kill her and feels betrayed by the MPD, especially
as she lives in a vulnerable area.

Internal affairs report

As a result of an
internal affairs investigation it was determined that the MPD representative
who denied the existence of the 911 emergency call on July 24 when the Metropolis Daily News reporter asked,
knew of both the existence of the call and the audio taped recording of the
call. In addition, the dispatcher was found to have violated standard
procedure by not calling back the residence following the hang-up call. It is
uncertain whether this was due to the location of the victim’s home or other

Videotape of MPD interview with Joey Tanner

The videotaped
interview of Joey Tanner, the 18-year-old brother of the murder suspect,
shows the MPD detective telling Joey Tanner that they have a witness who puts
him at the scene of the crime which suggests that he had some involvement in
the murder and could result in more serious charges. The investigative file
clearly shows that the detective knows that this statement is false when he
makes it. The detective at all times was professional in the interview,
appearing at times to have sympathy for Joey’s plight that his brother got
him into this situation and indicating that any cooperation on Joey’s part
would be communicated to the prosecutor and would be looked at favorably
“down the line.”

Joey Tanner
eventually tells the detective that the day after the crime he helped his
brother get rid of the gun, and he told the detective where it could be

Prosecutor’s charging decisions

Upon consideration
of all the facts, and following negotiations with Joey Tanner, the Metropolis
County District Attorney’s Office made the following charging decisions in
the case:

Tanner: Murder, second degree (unpremeditated)

Landon: No charges for aiding and abetting murder in the second degree, on
the condition that he testify truthfully against William Tanner.

Tanner: No charges for aiding and abetting after the fact, on the condition
that he testify truthfully in the case against William Tanner.

Author’s interview with informant:

In a discussion
with Billy Knowles, a White male and a known drug dealer who spoke on the
condition of anonymity, he stated that it is well known on the street that
there is an officer in the department who has been passing information along
to Anthony Landon including specific information about other gangs and notice
of planned drug raids. He doesn’t know the name of the officer, but he says
that Anthony seems to have some kind of inside connection because in the past
year the police have had big raids on nearly all the active gangs in the area
except his.

Author’s interview with deputy sheriff at
the Metropolis County Adult Detention Facility (jail)

A sheriff who
works in the county jail was interviewed about his interactions with the
three individuals who had been arrested. The deputy said that an inmate had
approached him and said that his cellmate, Anthony Landon, told him that he
was actually the one who brought the gun to the house on the day of the
murder and was in the garage when the shooting happened. The inmate said he
asked Anthony if he had been the shooter and Anthony did not actually say so,
but sort of gave a “knowing wink” in response. The inmate then
asked Anthony if the police believed his statement when he said he was just
the driver, Anthony gave another “knowing wink” and said that he
and “Jonesy,” the detective who interviewed him, “have an
understanding.” The deputy sheriff said that he gave this information to
the Metropolis County District Attorney’s Office before the trial.

Author’s interview with member of MPD

In an interview
about the culture of the MPD with another MPD detective, wishing to remain
anonymous, this detective said that the culture varies by precinct. There is
one precinct known as “Lower Town” where the officers are known to
play “fast and loose” with the rules, often putting in their police
reports that they Mirandized the suspect when they did not, putting down
false information in an affidavit to get a warrant, and, using excessive
force when arresting a suspect. The cops in Lower Town seem to have an
“us against them” mentality where their job is to “get the bad
guys,” and they take whatever steps they feel is needed to get the job

Describes what the
student believes is the important new information 

Explains what the key ethical issues are in
the new evidence.

Describes own opinion of the situation.

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