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Man who accused Minneapolis police speaks out

Discussion in 'Legal' started by TheeBadOne, Oct 16, 2003.

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  1. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Member

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    The 25-year-old man who accused two veteran Minneapolis police officers of sexual assault took his case to the public Wednesday, saying he feared for his life.

    Stephen Porter told his story hours after he was released without charges from jail, where he was being held after his arrest during a drug raid on Monday. Shortly after speaking to the media, Porter collapsed in the arms of supporters who had rallied around him and was taken away by ambulance.

    Attorneys for the officers denied wrongdoing and some city and community leaders cautioned against a rush to judgment.

    Police Chief Robert Olson has suspended officers Todd Babekuhl, 41, and Jeffrey Jindra, 43, and turned the case over to the FBI. Police records show no disciplinary actions against either officer in the last seven years. Porter, who has a history of drug convictions, has alleged they were involved in assaulting him with a toilet plunger.

    Stephen Porter collapsesRichard Tsong - TaatariiStar TribuneDozens of community leaders and representatives met with Olson Wednesday morning at the Minneapolis Urban League to talk about the allegations, the investigation and the broader issue of police-minority relations.

    During a news conference after the three-hour meeting, members of the African American Leadership Summit, the Coalition of Black Churches, the American Indian Movement, the Somali Justice Center and others decried what they said was another example of police brutality. In separate interviews, however, they said they were appalled by the heinous nature of the allegation but were pleased that Olson took swift action in engaging the community in dialogue about the broader issues the case raises.

    "The word I will be giving my people is, you make no move until you hear from me; let's not jump to any conclusions and let us gather all our information; chill for right now," said the Rev. Jerry McAfee of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in north Minneapolis.

    Yet there also was concern expressed that not enough has been done over time to address issues of police brutality and many said they wondered if this case would be the catalyst for systemic change within the department.

    After he was released from custody Wednesday, Porter walked at a normal pace from the jail to a parking ramp a block away with his attorney and a flock of reporters and photographers. He said he would cooperate with the FBI investigation.

    "I'm hurting. Real bad," he said. Later in the day, he appeared hunched and moved more slowly as he prepared to address reporters.

    Sources familiar with the medical report filed by a doctor who examined Porter at Hennepin County Medical Center on Monday night said that his injuries were consistent with his report of soreness and tenderness of the rectum. After Porter was treated at the hospital he was returned to the Hennepin County jail.

    The allegations surfaced after Fourth Precinct officers served a high-risk search warrant for drugs at an apartment in the 2500 block of N. 3rd St. in the Hawthorne neighborhood late Monday afternoon.

    The officers found some marijuana and suspected cocaine, cited some people at the apartment and decided to take two men to the Hennepin County jail. At the jail, one man was cited, then released; Porter was booked. Attorney John Nelson, representing Porter, said that drugs were not found on Porter.

    After the officers left the jail, Porter told a jail supervisor that he had been "criminally assaulted" by Minneapolis officers.

    Speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon, Porter said Jindra told another officer to get something from the bathroom before that officer returned with a plunger.

    "So he had a plunger," an emotional Porter told WCCO-TV. "He handed it to officer Jindra."

    He then gave explicit details, saying the officers used the handle to penetrate him twice.

    About a half-hour after he spoke to reporters at The City Inc., a community center on the North Side, he collapsed in a hallway, surrounded by activists and family members.

    As Porter fell, Spike Moss, vice president of The City Inc., caught him before he hit the floor. Porter lay writhing in the hallway for several minutes. Michelle Gross, a nurse who is active in the local movement against police brutality, tended to him and an ambulance was called. Reporters and photographers were herded down the hallway away from Porter.

    State Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minneapolis, who was in the hallway, said later that Porter briefly lost consciousness. Paramedics arrived and Porter was rolled out on a gurney, an oxygen mask on his face.

    The Rev. Randolph Staten said late Wednesday that Porter was taken to an area hospital, though he declined to identify which one.

    Moss said Porter had given him a detailed account of the allegations, but Moss declined to give specifics about their conversation.

    "I was as brokenhearted as he was when he told me," Moss said. "I felt his pain. He said, 'They did me like an animal, Spike. Like I wasn't human.' "

    Porter's girlfriend, Evette Lewis, 25, talked to him sometime after 8 p.m. Monday when he called from jail.

    "He told me [the police] sexually assaulted him with a plunger," she said.

    "He said he was in a lot of pain," Lewis recalled Wednesday. "He said he was bleeding. I asked if he'd been taken to the hospital and he said, 'No, not yet.' "

    Lewis said the conversation lasted about 15 minutes because at the end of it, he said that deputies were coming to take him to the hospital. Porter called Lewis again Tuesday and told her about the examination.

    "It was hard for him to talk about," she said.

    Wrongdoing denied

    Babekuhl has worked for the Police Department since 1989 and Jindra since 1996. Each officer has several letters of appreciation and awards.

    Before leaving town Tuesday afternoon, Jindra's attorney, Frank Bruno, called the accusation "totally false." It all sounds like a case of someone making copy-cat allegations, Bruno said, referring to a sexual assault accusation made recently by a Hennepin County jail inmate against three Hennepin County sheriff's deputies.

    Jim Michels, one of the attorneys for Babekuhl, said his client denies assaulting anyone.

    "At this point, I'm still trying to ferret out why he is even involved in some sort of investigation," he said, adding that his client did nothing improper.

    He said his client "was sharing the same bewilderment about 'What's going on, why am I involved in this?' "

    Michels said he didn't know if any officers were with Porter alone in a room at the apartment, but said it's generally common for officers to separate multiple suspects and that officers conducting strip searches, for instance, may take people into closed rooms "just for personal dignity and privacy reasons."

    A drug record

    Porter has an extensive record of drug arrests and convictions.

    According to Hennepin County court records, he is awaiting sentencing to 2 1/2 years in prison in connection with a cocaine possession arrest in January in Minneapolis. A police report said that he admitted to officers that he had crack cocaine hidden between his butt cheeks in that incident.

    That arrest occurred while he was on work release from prison, where he was serving four years on a 1999 felony cocaine conviction following an arrest in Brooklyn Center. In 1997, he twice pleaded guilty to drug possession crimes and spent a year in the Hennepin County workhouse.

    No charges were filed against Porter in Monday's raid.

    "By the time the police were able to gain entry into the dwelling, the only drugs that were not destroyed were some that they found in the toilet," said Chief Deputy County Attorney Pete Cahill. "They could not link them to any specific person for a possession charge."

    Chief Olson said the allegation is tough for a department to cope with, but the officers will be able to deal with it. He knows it's the nature of the business, but said he was a little frustrated because when something like this happens it sets community relations back a step or two.

    "I think the community is coming together a little bit over this," he said.

    While the FBI is investigating, the department's internal affairs unit is also reviewing the facts, which is standard.

    "I don't care if we dig stuff up that makes us look worse," he said. "I want swift, fair investigations. It benefited us in the long run."

    He wouldn't discuss specifics of the case Wednesday, but said he made his decision to send it to the FBI after reviewing preliminary information he received from an experienced investigator. He said he believed the allegation was serious enough that it needed to be looked at by an outside law enforcement agency.

    FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe said the agency will have no further comment on the investigation. After the FBI finishes, the report will be sent to the Department of Justice's civil rights division, which has the final prosecuting authority, he said.

    It is the second time this year that Jindra has been investigated by the FBI. He was accused in May of choking a 14-year-old boy, punching him and slamming him to the ground. The FBI found that the "evidence does not establish a prosecutable violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes," Fourth Precinct Inspector Tim Dolan wrote in a note last week. The Justice Department has also declined to prosecute, Dolan said.

    In another high-profile allegation, test results from the clothing of an American Indian man showed only his DNA, nothing from the two Minneapolis police officers who were alleged to have mistreated him in January at the Little Earth housing complex.

    Two residents of the complex in south Minneapolis said they saw officers from a marked squad car assault the man, whom his lawyer Larry Leventhal identified as Ron Johnson. It also was alleged that someone urinated on his upper torso and head.

    The investigation into the officers remains open because one is on active military duty in Iraq and the case can't be concluded until he returns, city spokeswoman Gail Plewacki said.

    She said the DNA results had been available for a couple of months; she released it Wednesday after a request.

    The catch is that the absence of DNA evidence in the urine doesn't exonerate the officers because urine is not a good source of genetic material, Plewacki said.

    In the wake of this week's allegations, Mayor R.T. Rybak has set up a community meeting for 7 p.m. Friday at Farview Park, 609 29th Av. N.

    http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/4157025.html
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    BS or not, you be the judge.
     
  2. Dorian

    Dorian Member

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    *sniff sniff*

    Smells like BS to me.

    A convicted felon and a liar is what we appear to have here. With lots of support from people who want to believe him just because they hate the people he is accusing.

    That's just what I got from it though :)

    p.s. The opinions stated above are just that. Opinions. If you don't like them, you have two choices:
    1: Deal with it and forget about it.
    2: Die still pissed off that I offended you.
     
  3. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Must be the same time delayed pain I see in plaintiffs all the time. Seems to flare up right before a deposition or hearing. They should get a cure for that one of these days.

    Injuries "consistent" with soreness and tenderness? WTH does that mean? Has he got 'roids or was it Mexican day in lockup?
     
  4. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    Well, it COULD be true. The Minneapolis police department has a nationwide reputation for brutality and lack of regard for individuals' rights.

    Thing is, we just don't know. We -- and the groups rushing to condemn, or defend, the cops -- would do well to wait and let the FBI do their job first.

    The truth will out.
     
  5. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    what a waste of a perfectly good plunger.
    :what:
     
  6. Carlos

    Carlos Member

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    Sounds to me like the cops are doing the copycatting here. :cuss:

    If this is true, the dirtbags should lose their jobs, go to prison for a bit, and hopefully suffer the same fate while in.
     
  7. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Member

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    I wonder if general tenderness could be caused by habitually packing your crack with, well...crack? :confused:
     
  8. Carlos

    Carlos Member

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    Now I get it, they accidently used the wrong end of the plunger, trying to get those rocks. :rolleyes:
     
  9. BamBam

    BamBam Member

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    Good one Carlos!
     
  10. feedthehogs

    feedthehogs Member

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    Rectum, damn near killed him!
     
  11. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Member

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    From another board:
     
  12. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Member

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    FOLLOWUP

    Alleged victim was police informer

    The man accusing a Minneapolis police officer of sexually assaulting him during a drug raid was a confidential informant for the officer, sources with knowledge of the case said Thursday.

    It was unclear Thursday whether the alleged victim, Stephen Porter, was still informing for accused officer Jeffrey Jindra or other officers at the time of the raid in a north Minneapolis apartment Monday. It also was unclear whether his informant status played any role in the drug raid or allegations that Jindra used a toilet plunger handle to assault Porter, 25, in the raid.

    Police Chief Robert Olson has turned the case over to the FBI. Jindra, 43, and officer Todd Babekuhl, 41, have been suspended until the investigation is completed. Each officer's attorney denies the allegations.

    When Porter spoke to reporters Wednesday, he repeatedly referred to Jindra by name, saying that Jindra told another officer to get something from the bathroom before that officer returned with a plunger.

    Porter, who has a history of drug convictions, is awaiting sentencing in connection with a cocaine possession arrest in January in Minneapolis. A police report said he admitted that he had crack cocaine hidden between his buttocks.

    Police records show no disciplinary actions against either Jindra or Babekuhl in the past seven years, but Jindra was accused in May of choking and manhandling a 14-year-old boy. The FBI investigated and found a lack of evidence to prosecute him on that allegation.

    Olson had no comment Thursday night on the relationship between Porter and Jindra.

    Olson and top city officials went public with the allegation Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Olson reviewed a preliminary report by one of his veteran investigators.

    Thursday, Olson and Mayor R.T. Rybak held another news conference in what the mayor said was their effort to update what they can release on the case.

    "I'm absolutely outraged by the allegation," Rybak said. "But if the allegation is false, he [Porter] could be charged with a federal crime."

    Although leaders of Minneapolis' minority community expressed shock at the allegation, they urged caution until the investigation is finished.

    Wednesday, Porter and his supporters held a news conference during which he outlined in detail the allegations against the officers.

    Fourth Precinct Inspector Tim Dolan said he stands behind the accused officers. He called Jindra "unmatched" when it comes to "quality narcotic busts." He described Babekuhl as a "steady Freddy" who always comes to his shift with a hard focus on what work has to be done.

    Although Dolan declined to discuss the allegation, a retired police officer who once supervised both officers said that Porter's allegations could be a ploy to avoid facing another drug charge that could potentially send him off on a long prison term. Porter has not been charged in connection with Monday's drug raid.

    "If he'd been convicted on this he'd have a whole bunch of time that would have been crashing down on him," former police Sgt. Bob Gretton said of Porter. "The motivation [for making the accusation] is that he's got a ton of time hanging on him in state court and any convictions will put him away."

    High-risk raid

    The allegations surfaced after a search for drugs by 10 to 12 Fourth Precinct officers at an apartment in the 2500 block of N. 3rd Street in the Hawthorne neighborhood late Monday afternoon. The raid was considered high-risk, meaning there was a possibility of weapons or gang activity there. Officers found some marijuana and suspected cocaine in a toilet, cited some people there and took two men to the Hennepin County jail.

    Two women who were in the apartment said that police entered, handcuffed them and kicked them while they were lying face-down on the floor. The women said they heard the shattering of a toilet and a sudden rush of water.

    "We did hear one of the officers ask for a plunger," said Maura Eldridge, 22.

    Angelina Cress, 32, who lives in the apartment, said she heard Porter -- who was in another room -- being beaten by police.

    Eldridge said that she and the others were made to lie face down, handcuffed. She said that Porter was in another room and that they did not see what happened.

    Babekuhl and another officer took Porter to jail. Porter later told a jail supervisor he had been "criminally assaulted" by Minneapolis officers. A source familiar with the medical report filed by a doctor who examined Porter at Hennepin County Medical Center on Monday night said that his injuries were consistent with soreness and tenderness of the rectum that he had reported.

    Porter was unavailable for comment Thursday.

    'Not faking it'

    A few hours before his news conference on Wednesday, Porter was driven by a friend to the house where the drug bust occurred. He briskly walked across the street, then jogged across the yard, running up the steps to the door, where he was let inside. After a short while, he came out and walked quickly back to the waiting car.

    When he finished his news conference, he collapsed and was taken away by ambulance. Porter was examined by a doctor Thursday afternoon at the Pilot City Health Center in Minneapolis, said Kelley Hardeman, an aide to community activist Spike Moss.

    She said Porter underwent a CAT scan among a battery of tests during the two-hour exam.

    "Sometimes he'll say something, then he will put his head in his hands and start crying," Hardeman said.

    She said Porter had taken some Vicodin (a pain reliever) before he met with Moss.

    "He is not faking it," Hardeman said of Porter. "He is in severe pain."

    Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, talked to Jindra and Babekuhl and said the officers are having a difficult time dealing with the allegation.

    "Porter portrayed himself as some victim at the news conference and then doesn't let reporters ask him questions," Delmonico said.

    Rybak said that the FBI will be filing reports on the case with the U.S. Department of Justice at least twice during the next three-and-a-half months. FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe said the agency will conduct a thorough and timely investigation.

    Dolan said Jindra and Babekuhl "are among the officers who've made this a top-performing precinct year after year. "I know what they're about and their character. My gut and my prayers are with my officers."

    He said that when he told the men that they were being suspended, they were bewildered. Because of department rules, the men were not told why they were being relieved.

    "They didn't know who the accuser was," Dolan said. "They'd heard rumors, but that was all. I told them it will be a tough, rough time. "

    Jindra briefly worked for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office before joining the Brooklyn Park Police Department in April 1984. He started with Minneapolis in 1996. He has received many commendations and awards. As a Brooklyn Park officer he was reprimanded in 1985 for using excessive force with a prisoner.

    Porter has been involved in a series of contacts with Minneapolis police since 1996 and has been charged with illegal drug possession, auto theft and twice giving false information to police. Before his allegation, Porter had been involved in another high-profile incident.

    In April 1998, he was one of four people lined up execution-style and shot by then-15-year-old Krishaun Harris in the basement of a home on Willow Avenue N. in Minneapolis during an apparent robbery. Two teenage cousins died, but Porter and another person survived, apparently by playing dead, according to the prosecutor of that case.

    http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/4159341.html
     
  13. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Yup, he's not faking it. :rolleyes:
     
  14. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    When my back is acting up, and I have to take Percocet, I can literally jog up and down steps and walk upright.

    As it wears off?

    I can barely move...

    While I'm generally disinclined to believe the individual, I'm not going to rule his story out based on either his record or his apparent lack of pain at one point.
     
  15. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Pain killers usually don't lose their effectiveness when the taker knows cameras on pointed at him, and maintain effectiveness when he doesn't know the cameras were there.
     
  16. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    This story cracks me up ... :D
     
  17. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    And the award for the Best/Worst Joke of the day goes to you. You get extra points because the term crack has a dual meaning in this case.
     
  18. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Buzz,

    "A few hours before his news conference on Wednesday, Porter was driven by a friend to the house where the drug bust occurred. He briskly walked across the street, then jogged across the yard, running up the steps to the door, where he was let inside. After a short while, he came out and walked quickly back to the waiting car."

    Please note the wording of the sentence, and please tell me how your claim that he was reacting to TV cameras has any bearing on what is being reported?

    "A few hours BEFORE the press conferences..."

    In other words, he could still have been in the middle of the palliative effects of any pain killers, effects that could have largely worn off by the time he was seen at the press conference.

    Yes, this is supposition on my part, but no more so than on your part.
     
  19. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Maybe it's just me. I've spent a lot of time with assault victims and am habituated to take their claims at face value. But after 7 years of watching plaintiffs moan about their pain and suffering, only to expose them as liars, I get twitchy when someone has "intermittent" bouts of pain, which seem to coincide with the pain working to their benefit.

    As noted in the first article, "After he was released from custody Wednesday, Porter walked at a normal pace from the jail to a parking ramp a block away with his attorney and a flock of reporters and photographers. He said he would cooperate with the FBI investigation."

    "I'm hurting. Real bad," he said. Later in the day, he appeared hunched and moved more slowly as he prepared to address reporters."

    "About a half-hour after he spoke to reporters at The City Inc., a community center on the North Side, he collapsed in a hallway, surrounded by activists and family members.

    As Porter fell, Spike Moss, vice president of The City Inc., caught him before he hit the floor. Porter lay writhing in the hallway for several minutes. Michelle Gross, a nurse who is active in the local movement against police brutality, tended to him and an ambulance was called. Reporters and photographers were herded down the hallway away from Porter."

    Sure seems to be some convenient bouts of pain. No pain upon leaving custody; considerable pain in front of reporters; passes out amongst his supporters? Amazing, no? Of course, they didn't say which hospital he went to so there's no way to confirm he actually had this bout. But his supporters wouldn't lie, would they?
     
  20. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "Sure seems to be some convenient bouts of pain. No pain upon leaving custody; considerable pain in front of reporters; passes out amongst his supporters? Amazing, no? Of course, they didn't say which hospital he went to so there's no way to confirm he actually had this bout. But his supporters wouldn't lie, would they?"

    Sounds amazingly like me when the percocet starts to wear off and I don't get another one in time.

    Note that I didn't say I believe him, or what happened to him. But, knowing what I know about some police, I'm not at this point particularly inclined to disbelieve him, either. I'd have to say I'm neutral, but I'm not going to seize on behavior reported in a newspaper as the arbiter of who's telling the truth and who's not.

    What it will really come down to is medical reports. The report that the doctor gave to the paper is absolute generalist mumbo jumbo. He's not going to give out a full medical survey to reporters -- that would likely violate a lot of ethicial and legal constraints...

    But, I would also expect to hear, if this ever comes to trial, a full medical report.

    I'd also expect to hear, if this guy is suffering the kind of pain that he says he is, about perianal and intestinal damge.

    When this happened to Abner Louima in New York he was BADLY injured by the officers who assaulted him.
     
  21. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Agreed. But if this gentleman had that much damage, he wouldn't have been back in lockup. Remember that according to the first article, he was checked out by a doctor at a hospital and sent back to jail.

    No doctor is going to examine someone, note that he has damage that extreme, and then send him back without reporting the injury to other authorities. That would be a violation of medical ethics, the standard of care in nearly every state, and illegal in most states.
     
  22. Keith

    Keith Member

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    Bingo! He may well indeed be playing up the pain for the camera's, but that doesn't make his allegation untrue.
    He either was, or wasn't anally raped by the police. The medical findings will be the key evidence.

    Note this:
    Why would the police release (or invent) this information, if not to get him killed? The fact that they released this makes me lean toward the "victim" rather the police.

    Keith
     
  23. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "He wouldn't be back in lockup"

    Depends on the nature of the damage.

    Anal tear, stitches and back to an isolation cell. Depending on the size of the tear, that's no more serious than hemmhroid (sp?) surgery.

    Perforated intestine? Hospital.

    And on that charming note, I'm going to go barf and go greet my parents, who are down for a visit.
     
  24. Destructo6

    Destructo6 Member

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    What are the chances he was raped by another inmate and is blaming it on the plolice?
     
  25. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Destructo,

    Congratulations, you've said what's been in the back of my mind since I read this...

    Quite frankly, I'd say the chances are as good as his claim that he was assaulted by police.

    Or as good as Buzz's claim that he's faking the entire thing.

    Three definitely, completely acceptable and logical, possibilities.
     
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