FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

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FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby William Thornton » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:50 am

So opined the Jacksonville Times Union yesterday in a staff editorial:

JSO and First Baptist: Troubling issues

First, there is a perception that one of Jacksonville's most influential institutions used its influence with the Sheriff's Office against a man who had been criticizing it. This raises free speech issues.

Second, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has ethics rules that allows an investigator who works on the security detail of the church he attends to conduct the investigation.


The goal should be to avoid perceptions of favoritism. This case certainly fostered that perception.


This isn't brain surgery...the action of the church and sheriff's department were highly questionable and discussions of the blogger/church matter have long since moved beyond questions of whether or not it is proper for some disgruntled church member to anonymously blog about his dislikes of his church. Such actions may be unwelcome, counterproductive, and/or ethically questionable, but they are not illegal.

Black eyes for FBCJax, its pastor, and the sheriff's department here... all self inflicted.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Steve Wilcox » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:05 am

William if you think the JSO is deserving of a "black eye" it is only because you do not understand police and legal interal workings, procedures and the law.

Certainly Det. Hinson does, but that does not mean the entire JSO deserves to be treated as if they are guilty of criminal behavior. I would keep the focus on Det. Hinson if I was going to exaggerate my claims. The JSO acted on a criminal complaint, whether true of false, and then reported on the claim. I am sure it happens everyday.

As for the self-inflicted black-eye, I agree with respect to FBCJax and the pastor. It could have been handled much differently.

Again I post the Sheriff's response to this which was also a letter to the editor on the same day of this Times Union editorial.

"I would like to clarify some information that has been reported about a recent intelligence investigation conducted by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, regarding perceived threats against a local religious congregation.

Our agency is responsible for investigating any perceived threats and possible criminal activity that is reported to us by a citizen. Our detectives routinely share what they learn in the course of the investigation with the victim or complainant.

Suspects would not be made aware of this information, if it is gathered in an effort to determine if a threshold of criminality exists and none is found. In this case, the case was closed on Nov. 13 with no further action by JSO warranted when no criminal conduct or significant threat to the church was determined to exist.

In this case, the information about suspicious behavior directed at Pastor Mac Brunson and his home and family was provided to a detective whose normal duty assignment with the JSO is to investigate possible threats against Jacksonville's religious institutions. He is a member of our Intelligence Unit. He would have investigated this situation had the complaint come from those affiliated with a mosque, a synagogue or any religious organization. This is Detective Robert Hinson's job as the intelligence point person for the religious community and other designated critical infrastructure sites in Jacksonville.

All our religious institutions are a major part of Jacksonville's critical infrastructure and we remain vigilant in investigating all perceived threats and security issues associated with those institutions. In light of recent violent incidents that have occurred in churches around the country, I think our vigilance is necessary and most appropriate to ensure public safety.

Had another officer received a similar threat or tip or raised a similar concern, Hinson would have ultimately been the officer assigned to investigate. I have no issue with his investigation and there is no conflict of interest because he is affiliated with that particular congregation.

The fact that the medium used to communicate the messages being investigated was the Internet is irrelevant. Investigations are conducted into the sources of anonymous letters, phone calls, and in this day and age Web sites and e-mails, any time it is deemed appropriate for public safety.

We then look at the contents and sources of Internet information regularly, as part of our investigations.

I hope this information helps clarify for citizens that this was not about "outing" a blogger, but instead was about proactively addressing public safety.

JOHN RUTHERFORD

Jacksonville sheriff "


Taken from http://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/let ... d_properly
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Wade Burleson » Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:36 pm

Steve Wilcox said, 'William if you think the JSO is deserving of a "black eye" it is only because you do not understand police and legal interal workings, procedures and the law."

"Our detectives routinely share what they learn in the course of the investigation with the victim or complainant" - statement by Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.

Steve,

I find the the Sheriff's statement bordering on bizarre. If he cannot comprehend the ethical breach by his department, not to mention the possible violation of state and federal law, when his detective shared the "personal information" of Tom Rich to FBC Jacksonville administrators, information the detective gleaned in his investigation, then he ought to be fired. Let me illustrate the seriousness of such unethical police conduct with an illustration independent of FBC Jacksonville.

A beautiful, young divorced woman began to date a police officer of a major metropolitan police force. This woman's relationship with her former husband had gone south a couple of years earlier. It seems that now her ex-husband was saying things about her to others, things that harmed her reputation. He was saying that she was only interested in money, and once she married someone, she would be uninterested in him and constantly looking for "greener" pastures. The ex-husband had found out about every single relationship this woman attempted to enter, and he was somehow getting word to her new love interests that she was not a good person to be involved with in terms of a relationship. She was furious that at least two men had backed out of a relationship with her because of her husband's words. Unfortunately, the divorced woman did not know where her ex-husband lived anymore. There were no children, so there was no need for contact. Her ex also had an unlisted home number. She knew he had moved somewhere in the inner city, where he was self-employed and staying in a riverside apartment - but again, she had no idea where. She felt she had lost control of her life and she was frantic to shut down her ex-husband's talk. She told anyone who would listen that what her ex-husband was saying was "not true," buts she wished to confront him personally to threaten him. She didn't know how to reach him. She was fed up with losing relationships because of what her ex was saying about her. She did not wish to lose the relationship she was developing with her new boyfriend - the police officer. Enough was enough! So, an idea came to her for a possible solution.

She lies to the police officer. She tells him that "somebody" is stealing her mail, stalking her and possibly tapping her phone conversations. She does not know "who" it is, and has no "solid" proof that it is her ex-husband, but with the way her "ex" has made her life miserable by saying unkind and untrue things about her, she has no doubt it is him. Then, she goes further. She alleges that her ex-husband has made multiple enemies because of his unethical business dealings and pyschotic and sociopathic personality. She believes he is very, very dangerous, and she needs her friend's (the police officer) help.

She files a "complaint" with the police department. The officer, a solid detective in the metropolitan police force, neglects to identify any personal relationship with the complainant, and is assigned the case by his supervisor - within the normal course of the department's policies and procedures. The police officer runs a record check through NCIS (it comes up empty), requests of the state's attorney a couple of minor supboenas in order to find the "location" of this potentially dangerous sociopath. Then, the police officer, actually believing the story of his new girl friend, and wanting to protect the woman that he really cares about - shares all the information with her about her ex-husband . The detective tells her where he now lives, his work patterns, and who he is associating with on a daily basis - all without ever letting the ex-husband know he is being investigated.

The investigation leads nowhere. There is no evidence the man has done anything criminal, but the detective is content that he is protecting the woman he loves, and closes the case after handing over to his girl friend all the "information" routinely gleaned form the investigation. The police officer let's his new love interest know everything will be fine - this man will not be allowed to bother her. Important people now have their eye on him.

Then an amazing thing happens. The ex-husband is murdered in his house. After a lengthy investigation, it is discovered that the man's ex-wife, angry at what her ex-husband had been saying about her, murdered him while he was sleeping. It seems she was familiar with her ex-husband's habit of hiding the key to his house in a particular place, and drove over the his apartment, obtained the key from a magnetic case attached to the underside of the casing of the wheel, slips into the apartment and kills her ex-husband. In the civil lawsuits that followed, the police officer was found negligable for "routinely" sharing information with the "complainant." Though the illustration above is not from FBC Jacksonville, the similarities are evident.

UNLESS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY is UCOVERED, police officers are compelled, by the law, to keep the private information of citizens private. I would be very interested, Steve, as to whether or not you believe the detective and the police department in the illustration above, acted ethically and legally. If not, I would like to know how the situation in Jacksonville is different.

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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Haruo » Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:58 pm

I think Wade's analogy is right on the money, except that I'm not sure that the legal duty to protect private information is uniform across jurisdictions. It might be that Florida has a different legal standard on that, in which case the JSO-Hinson breach may have been ethical only.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby William Thornton » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:39 pm

Steve Wilcox wrote:William if you think the JSO is deserving of a "black eye" it is only because you do not understand police and legal interal workings, procedures and the law.


The blogger has filed a complaint. Let's see where it goes. I assume that among the numbers of people who think this is questionable there are not a few who fully understand police and legal internal workings etc., even if you think that I do not.

Steve wrote:Certainly Det. Hinson does, but that does not mean the entire JSO deserves to be treated as if they are guilty of criminal behavior. I would keep the focus on Det. Hinson if I was going to exaggerate my claims. The JSO acted on a criminal complaint, whether true of false, and then reported on the claim. I am sure it happens everyday.


I doubt it will go that far but let's see who is behind this. The sheriff dept seems to be having difficulty persuading observers that this was handled routinely, probably because of the pungency surrounding the matter.

Steve Wilcox wrote:As for the self-inflicted black-eye, I agree with respect to FBCJax and the pastor. It could have been handled much differently.

Again I post the Sheriff's response to this which was also a letter to the editor on the same day of this Times Union editorial.

"I would like to clarify some information that has been reported about a recent intelligence investigation conducted by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, regarding perceived threats against a local religious congregation.

Our agency is responsible for investigating any perceived threats and possible criminal activity that is reported to us by a citizen. Our detectives routinely share what they learn in the course of the investigation with the victim or complainant.

Suspects would not be made aware of this information, if it is gathered in an effort to determine if a threshold of criminality exists and none is found. In this case, the case was closed on Nov. 13 with no further action by JSO warranted when no criminal conduct or significant threat to the church was determined to exist.

In this case, the information about suspicious behavior directed at Pastor Mac Brunson and his home and family was provided to a detective whose normal duty assignment with the JSO is to investigate possible threats against Jacksonville's religious institutions. He is a member of our Intelligence Unit. He would have investigated this situation had the complaint come from those affiliated with a mosque, a synagogue or any religious organization. This is Detective Robert Hinson's job as the intelligence point person for the religious community and other designated critical infrastructure sites in Jacksonville.

All our religious institutions are a major part of Jacksonville's critical infrastructure and we remain vigilant in investigating all perceived threats and security issues associated with those institutions. In light of recent violent incidents that have occurred in churches around the country, I think our vigilance is necessary and most appropriate to ensure public safety.

Had another officer received a similar threat or tip or raised a similar concern, Hinson would have ultimately been the officer assigned to investigate. I have no issue with his investigation and there is no conflict of interest because he is affiliated with that particular congregation.

The fact that the medium used to communicate the messages being investigated was the Internet is irrelevant. Investigations are conducted into the sources of anonymous letters, phone calls, and in this day and age Web sites and e-mails, any time it is deemed appropriate for public safety.

We then look at the contents and sources of Internet information regularly, as part of our investigations.

I hope this information helps clarify for citizens that this was not about "outing" a blogger, but instead was about proactively addressing public safety.

JOHN RUTHERFORD

Jacksonville sheriff "


Taken from http://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/let ... d_properly


I'm not sure that "helps clarify" anything but it is the best spin that can be put on a troubling, questionable investigation.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Steve Wilcox » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:02 pm

Who was the one that told the world there was a subpoena issued against the blogger while he was pretending NOT to be the blogger?

Perhaps if Mr. Rich did not do that he would still be anonymous.

He brought this part of the conflict on himself.

Sorry comparing FBC to an insane murderer is not the same.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Wade Burleson » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:48 pm

Steve Wilcox wrote:Who was the one that told the world there was a subpoena issued against the blogger while he was pretending NOT to be the blogger?

Perhaps if Mr. Rich did not do that he would still be anonymous.

He brought this part of the conflict on himself.

Sorry comparing FBC to an insane murderer is not the same.


Steve,

Again, you have missed the point. Nobody is comparing FBC to an insane murderer.

The comparison is with a police officer sharing personal information with "the complainant" when NO criminal activity is discovered - only alleged. You seem so interested in defending the church that you may have trouble seeing my objection to your original comment has nothing to do with the church and everything to do with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Lamar Wadsworth » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:24 pm

I don't think there is any way to clean this thing up so that it looks or smells like anything other than what it is, a case of someone who has connections with people in law enforcement using those connections to retaliate against someone who has dared to oppose him. At most, this is a civil case, and there are private investigators who can be employed to do the investigative work needed to pursue it as a civil matter. Is there so little real crime in Jacksonville that a taxpayer supported law enforcement agency has enough time on its hands and enough surplus manpower to pursue something like this when there is no probable cause to think that a crime has or is about to be committed? Sounds like the law enforcement agency's time would be better spent on cracking down on real criminals, you know, like jaywalkers and people with burned-out license plate lights. Gotta nip it the bud, as Barney Fife would say.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby SLyons » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:14 am

Steve Wilcox says:

"Who was the one that told the world there was a subpoena issued against the blogger while he was pretending NOT to be the blogger?

Perhaps if Mr. Rich did not do that he would still be anonymous."


Yes, this all could have been avoided if Mr. Rich had just kept his big mouth shut.

If Mr. Rich, when he heard that his name had been associated with mail stealing and stalking and picture taking in the deacon's meeting on 2/23, had just shut up, and taken his lumps, JSO and FBC Jax would have been able to get away with finding his identity using these unethical means.

Those troublemakers like Mr. Rich, who have the AUDACITY to go and probe and ask and dig to find out what the JSO and SAO and FBC Jax was doing investigating his blog to out his identity so that the church could then be able to serve trespass papers against he and his wife - it is people like Rich that are the problem. Darn it all, if Mr. Rich hadn't found out about those three subpoenas, two of which were on bloggers not associated with the church and that ALSO had no criminal activity in them...this would have saved the SAO, the JSO, FBC Jax, Mac Brunson, and Mr. Rich himself all of this public embarrassment. Shame on you Mr. Rich!! It is YOU Mr. Rich...YOU caused all this grief! Not Mac, not Hinson, not the SAO...it was YOU Mr. Rich who should never have asked any questions or raised the issue of why subpoenas were issued against you and the other two bloggers. Don't you know you are to just stay silent?? And when you found the subpoenas, if you would have just shut your big yapper, and not TOLD ANYONE!

And as Mr. Wilcox says: if that pesky, rascally Mr. Rich had not shown those three subpoenas on this blog, no one would be talking about this! Blame the guy who finds possible wrongdoing and dares to expose it so that others may know and judge rightly the possible wrong doing. The Times Union would not have written that article, and no one would know and we'd all be feeling better right now, wouldn't we?

Ahem....

Until the NEXT TIME when another complainer or blogger says something unkind toward FBC Jax or its pastor....and the whole thing is repeated. What if, by chance, in the future, there is some very serious wrong doing, or allegations of something even more sinister at FBC Jax under some other pastor some years later..and FBC Jax wishes to silence the person trying to expose it? Ask those at Trinity what happens when a mega church doesn't want to face problems at their church...and the lengths church leadership will go to protect the institution and its pastor from "negative talk".

You say FBC Jax wouldn't have ever done this again? This was just a one-time, extreme case?

Then go read the deacon's resolution passed 2/25 by FBC Jax. Better yet, watch and listen to it on video over at the WD website. Their message was: what we did to this blogger in "aggressively confronting" him, we'll do to you next if you unjustly criticize the pastor.

Fact is: the community in Jacksonville is overwhelmingly opposed to what the JSO did in violating privacy to out a blogger who was exercising his 1st amendment rights to communicate anonymously on his blog. Those like Mr. Wilcox and some at the downtown church, they will NEVER see this as anything other than simply a blogger who got what he had coming to him.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Steve Wilcox » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:22 am

Wade Burleson wrote:
Steve Wilcox wrote:Who was the one that told the world there was a subpoena issued against the blogger while he was pretending NOT to be the blogger?

Perhaps if Mr. Rich did not do that he would still be anonymous.

He brought this part of the conflict on himself.

Sorry comparing FBC to an insane murderer is not the same.


Steve,

Again, you have missed the point. Nobody is comparing FBC to an insane murderer.

The comparison is with a police officer sharing personal information with "the complainant" when NO criminal activity is discovered - only alleged. You seem so interested in defending the church that you may have trouble seeing my objection to your original comment has nothing to do with the church and everything to do with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.


The JSO's job is to investigate "alleged" criminal activity.

Det. Hinson does this for all Jacksonville churches.

Info is shared with the person filing a complaint all the time and apparently Det. Hinson would have been in hot water with his superiors if he did not.

Therefore no wrong was committed.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Lamar Wadsworth » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:04 pm

Using the powers of a law enforcement agency to merely harass and intimidate someone is the same thing that J. Edgar Hoover did when he used the FBI to pursue personal vendettas and attempted to silence MLK Jr. and other civil rights activists. While this blogger certainly offended the pastor and leaders of FBC Jax, there doesn't appear to be any evidence of any illegal activity. If there is no probable cause to suspect illegal activity, this is a monumental waste of law enforcement resources in addition to all of the first amendment issues involved.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:55 am

Lamar Wadsworth wrote:Using the powers of a law enforcement agency to merely harass and intimidate someone is the same thing that J. Edgar Hoover did when he used the FBI to pursue personal vendettas and attempted to silence MLK Jr. and other civil rights activists. While this blogger certainly offended the pastor and leaders of FBC Jax, there doesn't appear to be any evidence of any illegal activity. If there is no probable cause to suspect illegal activity, this is a monumental waste of law enforcement resources in addition to all of the first amendment issues involved.


I don't think any law enforcement person actually talked to Mr. Rich. So how can you claim they harrassed and intimidated him? All they did was an investigation and reported the results to the one asking for it.

Yes, there was not evidence of criminal activity AFTER the investigation. There was cause but proved to be wrong.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby gabriella422001 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:24 am

My question, to quote a former poster, is....what happens if something is going on that is completely wrong at FBC Jax, and they want to cover it up.....now nobody will ever be able to protest again, maybe even by siccing the cops on a person. I swear, if that doesn't reek of a cult, I don't know what does. I promise you, the ramifications of these actions taken by FBC Jax are going to be far far reaching. Makes you wonder why they would go to such extremes to silence a blogger, and what else they have to hide. When you get this extreme on someone who doesn't agree with you......calling him a "sociopath, a stalker, etc..........well....what is really going on here?
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:53 am

Ed: Steve Wilcox writes in part, "Yes, there was not evidence of criminal activity AFTER the investigation." So I must ask, Steve what evidence was there BEFORE the investigation?

Note! Allegation, does nor equal evidence. Nor does suspicion equal evidence. Lacking evidence of a crime there is no probable cause.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Steve Wilcox » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:11 pm

I do not have access to that information Ed.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby William Thornton » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:18 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Steve Wilcox writes in part, "Yes, there was not evidence of criminal activity AFTER the investigation." So I must ask, Steve what evidence was there BEFORE the investigation?

Note! Allegation, does nor equal evidence. Nor does suspicion equal evidence. Lacking evidence of a crime there is no probable cause.


The allegations were investigated. Nothing was found. The investigation was closed. There was no evidence of criminal activity before or after the investigation, which is what smells so bad for the church here. Every time I go back over it the thing acquires greater pungency. The church wanted to play hardball with a lone dissident in their midst and used law enforcement to do it. That stinks.

Note that the investigator (the one in FBCJax's back pocket, the one on the pastor's security detail) never contacted the blogger. Huh?

Note that the talk elsewhere on this subject is quite a bit more critical than here - the terms hypocrisy, cult, intimidation, abuse of power, blurring of church and state, and worse.

At the least Mac Brunson should act more like a follower of Christ rather than an bully and should publicly apologize to the blogger for this travesty.

The blogger has filed a complaint against the sheriff's dept. and their employee. We will see if that goes anywhere. Probably not.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:32 pm

William do you know with what agency the complaint was filed? And was it filed by "the booger" or was it filed on his behalf by an attorney ?
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:41 pm

BDW: Ed says in part, "And was it filed by 'the booger'"

I got a chuckle out of that one.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby William Thornton » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:17 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:William do you know with what agency the complaint was filed? And was it filed by "the booger" or was it filed on his behalf by an attorney ?


Don't know about the lawyer. I do believe it was filed with the sheriff's dept. You can go to fbcjax watchdog's site and find it there. I have linked it numerous times here.
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Michael » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:37 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:William do you know with what agency the complaint was filed? And was it filed by "the booger" or was it filed on his behalf by an attorney ?


BDW, I'm sure Ed "nose" what he typed :D
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Cathy » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:50 pm

Where is that spur?
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Re: FBC Jax & Sheriff's Dept: 'Troubling Issues'

Postby Steve Wilcox » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:10 am

William Thornton wrote:The church wanted to play hardball with a lone dissident in their midst and used law enforcement to do it. That stinks.


The blogger wanted to play hardball with the church and started an anonymous blog. I guess that smells rosey.

William Thornton wrote:At the least Mac Brunson should act more like a follower of Christ rather than an bully and should publicly apologize to the blogger for this travesty.


Yeah, but the bloggers and his followers do not have to act like a follower of Christ, only Dr. Brunson.
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