True Crime, April 30, 2008 

Justice For The Just

'Twas a tough week in the local news-stream for the forces of good—and we're not referring to Hannah Montana, though the Cyrus breakfast table doubtless hosted its share of awkward conversations over the last few days. Instead, the BW True Crime Fearmongering Department presents for your perusal a bloodcurdling trio of cautionary tales about those ostensible good guys who ostensibly tend to our ostensible legal system.

Tale the first: Joseph Duncan's lawyer is suspected of engaging in escapist behavior during his off-hours. Admittedly, a serial killer's defender may sound like a stretch of the category "forces of good," but remember, federal public defender Thomas Monaghan has that job and the rest of us don't. There's something quite noble in his willingness to take that gig off the market. However, there was reportedly something less noble in Monaghan's bloodstream when he crossed paths with Boise Police officers during the wee hours of Sunday morning. 'Twas booze! A further inspection allegedly turned up several small, green plant-parts that could further help transport our litigious subject to a happy land far away from the courtroom. Alas, he won't be away for long, judging by the four misdemeanor charges listed alongside his mug at DUI driving, marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession and causing an accident involving damage to a vehicle.

Tale the second: A Garden City police officer has been fired for allegedly using his finely honed criminal-tracking skills to stalk a "former female acquaintance," according to local news accounts. What, exactly, separates an acquaintance from a former acquaintance, you ask? The answer is, "A heaping helping of psychological denial." Luckily, Garden City Police Chief James Bensley didn't seem to be in the mood for evasion when he announced over the weekend that though he is "prohibited from publicly discussing personnel matters, I concluded that Mr. Diercks' alleged actions surrounding this incident are contrary to our professional standards."

Third verse, same as the first: An Idaho State Police trooper pulled over a Boise Police officer just after midnight on Sunday morning and arrested him for driving under the influence. Yeah, it's not as exciting as the first two yarns, but don't tell that to Gary Miller, a Boise cop with a decade on the job who will now face both criminal proceedings and an internal investigation. Assuming that BPD's internal investigations are anything like the ones on old episodes of NYPD Blue, the process will likely suck for everyone involved.

How Quickly You Forget

Only a year and change have passed since the show COPS broadcast a series of three episodes chronicling Boise's seamy criminal underbelly, but some members of our sleepy populace have apparently already forgotten the moral of this and every other TV copumentary: Cops are supposed to raid trailers, criminals are supposed to rob gas stations—not t'other way around.

In regards to the first clause, Boise Police are hoping to catch a sniff of the three masked men who reportedly broke into a trailer on Driftwood Avenue last Tuesday, held two victims at gunpoint and skedaddled with an assortment of video games, cash and jewelry. As for the second, Boise Police haven't made any indication that the man in an "FBI" hat who robbed the Jackson's convenience store at Eighth and Fort was actually a federal agent. The suspect seemed to enjoy playing the part, though, as evidenced by the confident way he pulled off the early morning heist. At about 7 a.m. on April 26, a slender 6-foot whitey in a black hat, black jeans and a black hoodie pulled up his sweatshirt and revealed to the cashier a semi-automatic pistol stuck in the suspect's waistband. He demanded money and fled on foot before police arrived. Anyone with information on either of these heists should mull over calling Crime Stoppers at 208-343-COPS.

Carnival Cannibals Bite the Fist that Bites

Conventional wisdom says human evolution is a genetic process that takes many years to change our species significantly enough for anyone to notice. Luckily for this column, there is a cure for conventional wisdom. Even luckier, carneys are that cure. A group of carnival workers in Medford, Ore., recently evolved over the course of a single evening from a bunch of slack-jawed thumb-biters into creatures capable of utilizing basic tools to solve their social problems, according to a story in the Medford Mail-Tribune.

This triumphant achievement got underway around midnight on April 20, when several of the workers began having a heated Lincoln-Douglas-style debate on the topic of whose turn it was to take a break. The discussion culminated when one of the speakers punched another in the face, and the victim caught his assailant's left thumb between his teeth and tore off the tip. A team of uniformed bipeds soon arrived on the scene, along with a domesticated beast named Tiko, who found the lost digit in a clump of grass near an overpass. People in white coats couldn't reattach the flesh and chose to remove the exposed thumb-bone that remained. Greenbelt joggers take note: Thumb-ripping is an often-overlooked but quite effective way to disfigure an attacker in a way that will frustrate him for as long as he lives, eats or wipes.

These particular victors weren't done establishing their dominance over their vanquished foe, however. In a scene right out of the monkey-section of 2001: A Space Odyssey, a group of four workers used a tree-branch to attack the one-thumbed man and his brother when the pair returned to the carnival the following morning. No announcement has been made clarifying whether the attackers knew the branch was a branch, or whether they simply believed it was a new extension of their arm that magically allowed them to womp stuff. Regardless, they collectively womped, kicked and punched their former colleague while (presumably) hooting wildly until a passing motorist scared them off by honking her car's horn. The motorist called 911, and within a few minutes, another team of uniformed bipeds arrived and herded three suspects into the back of a police car. Bryan Andrew Sayward, 21; Joseph Ellion Polach, 37; and James Richard Neal, 24, were each arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, harassment and third-degree assault. The three, who have no permanent addresses listed, all remained in jail a week later on $35,000 bail apiece.

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