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Lost, Buried, Burned: Oklahoma’s Rape Kit Scandal

Lost, Buried, Burned: Oklahoma’s Rape Kit Scandal
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2019

If you are puzzled by the nationwide rape kit testing backlog, Oklahoma provides maddening insight on the bureaucratic forces that create intolerable inertia — and injustice.

An estimated 225,000 rape kits have gone unprocessed across the country; more than 7,200 have been neglected in Oklahoma. Last month, a woman who reported an Oklahoma City sexual assault to police back in 2011 discovered that her rape kit had gathered dust on a shelf in Tulsa’s police department for seven years — after the Oklahoma County district attorney had informed her he was dropping the case because no rape kit existed.

Police, prosecutors and politicians do not have a sense of urgency about the issue. Why? My ongoing investigation shows that status quo obstructionists don’t want to clear the backlog because they don’t want the public poking around government-run crime labs — especially ones with a shameful history of forensic misconduct and a culture of destruction.

Solving the rape kit testing problem requires accountability and transparency. That means shedding light on long-buried secrets that go well beyond the usual incompetence and inattention that have led to backlogs. It’s not just rape victims who suffer when criminal justice agencies shut out the public. It’s criminal defendants trying to prove their innocence against charges of sexual crimes.

Consider Rayshun Mullins, who petitioned the state of Oklahoma three times for post-conviction testing of DNA evidence used against him in 2009. (The Sooner State was last in the nation to adopt a post-conviction DNA testing statute in 2013.) Three times he was denied. Why? Shockingly, dozens and dozens of crucial forensic items in Mullins’ case have been destroyed or “lost.”

Gone. Poof. Disappeared.

Oklahoma requires that criminal justice agencies “retain and preserve” biological evidence for as long as a person convicted of a violent felony offense is incarcerated. Mullins certainly meets that criteria: He is serving a whopping 1,015 years plus six consecutive life terms behind bars for multiple rapes and robberies.

There is an exception allowing destruction of biological evidence if a criminal defendant is notified in advance and given 90 days to object. But as Mullins revealed to me last week:

“They never told me that they would destroy them. I found out when I got them papers.”

The papers are part of an inventory compiled by the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office, which I obtained exclusively. Among the destroyed or lost pieces of evidence in Mullins’ case:

—34 items collected in one victim’s case, including SANE/Rape kit, clothes, buccal swabs (taken from the cheek for DNA), sheets, cuttings and sexual assault trace evidence from the victim and Mullins, which were all “destroyed in 2013.”

—A second victim’s purse, photographs, check card, calendar book, checks and papers, which were released to Oklahoma City Det. Kim Davis. According to the documents, “their current location is unknown.” Davis claimed D.A. David Prater’s office had them. The D.A.’s office denies having them after a “thorough investigation.”

—A third victim’s swabs and trace lifters, which “were destroyed in 2013.”

—A fourth victim’s SANE/rape kit, swabs, buccal swabs, clothes, bedding, swabs of persons of interest, Mullins’ swabs and buccal swabs, which were all “destroyed in 2013.”

—A fifth victim’s SANE/Rape kit, clothing, toilet paper, bedding, disc containing photographs and fingerprint cards, which were all destroyed on an unknown date.

The Oklahoma City forensic analyst responsible for analyzing evidence in Mullins’ case is former crime lab employee Elaine Taylor. She is the same analyst who confessed to her OCPD supervisor Byron Boshell back in 2000 that she destroyed untold numbers of rape kits after two years at the behest of her colleague and infamous OCPD rogue chemist Joyce Gilchrist (who said she was authorized to destroy evidence by former D.A. Bob Macy) because “the only thing I could do was follow her orders or else pay the consequences.”

Taylor was conducting tests on rape kit evidence in Mullins’ case less than three years after this shocking admission. It is unknown for how long and in how many other cases this routine evidence destruction continued. What is known: Gilchrist facilitated several wrongful convictions (including two exonerated death row inmates) over more than a decade by falsifying blood evidence, destroying human hair evidence, concocting junk science testimony on dog hair, and lying about and destroyed semen evidence while Taylor worked under her.

Taylor is also the analyst at the center of former OCPD officer Daniel Holtzclaw’s wrongful conviction, which he is appealing. Six internationally renowned scientists called for a retrial after examining Taylor’s faulty work on the case. Like Mullins, Holtzclaw was charged with serial rape. Like Mullins, Holtzclaw was investigated by sex crimes Det. Kim Davis, who worked closely with Taylor for nearly 20 years.

At a recent deposition in federal lawsuits against Holtzclaw, who is represented in the civil litigation by famed exoneration attorney Kathleen Zellner, Taylor admitted she personally witnessed boxes of evidence from sex crimes, homicide and other cases being burned and shoved “in a big ole hole” down by the Oklahoma City river.

Moreover, Taylor contradicted her trial testimony, admitted the Holtzclaw forensic evidence could have been contaminated (by her son-in-law and co-lead Det. Rocky Gregory), and admitted to being involved in at least six other contamination cases (which Oklahoma officials, who held illegal secret hearings on Taylor’s work, refuse to disclose to the public).

Lost, burned, buried, tainted: This is an alarming crisis, whether you are a rape survivor, criminal justice reformer, forensic scientist or taxpayer. And I’m certain it’s not just an Oklahoma problem. Peel the layers of government intransigence enveloping a rape kit backlog and underneath you’ll find much more than criminal neglect.

***

Wise words:

End the “TPS” farce: It’s time for ingrates to go

It’s time for ingrates to go
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2018

Crying “hate” is a lazy way to debate. But in the Beltway, where honest discussion and vigorous deliberation are desperately needed, the rhetorical sloth is so thick you need a Big Foot circular saw to cut it.

Take Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who thrust a Liberian immigrant, Linda Clark, into the limelight as her State of the Union special guest and poster child. “She has lived here over 18 years,” Rep. Omar lamented, “and there’s no reason she should be taken from her family.” Ahead of the annual address to Congress on Tuesday, Rep. Omar blasted President Donald Trump for “threatening to deport” Clark and “thousands of Liberians for no reason other than hate.”

Clark in turn echoed her radical host’s heated rhetoric, calling White House efforts to reform the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure programs “hateful” and castigating Trump “for deliberately targeting people like me.”

Sigh. This is why the White House cannot deal in good faith with the unreasonable party of “abolish ICE!” “no walls!” “amnesty for all!” and “deportation equals hate!” The Democrats have weaponized America’s grace against itself.

There is a very simple reason that Omar’s SOTU guest and hundreds of thousands like her from 10 different countries have been threatened with deportation. They were allowed to enter, stay and work here because of the extraordinary generosity of the United States of America. And now, after decades of our government’s largesse, their time is finally up.

The Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure programs were established as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, signed by President George H.W. Bush. (News flash: Bush was a Republican, but the Resistance smear merchants never let such facts get in the way of their hate hyperbole.) The idea was to create an orderly way to deal compassionately with foreigners who could not return to their home countries due to natural disasters, hurricanes, environmental catastrophes, civil war, epidemics and other “extraordinary and temporary conditions.”

An estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants from El Salvador first won TPS golden tickets after an earthquake struck the country in January 2001. In addition, 60,000 illegal immigrant Haitians received TPS after earthquakes in their homeland in 2010. An estimated 90,000 illegal immigrant Hondurans and Nicaraguans have been here since 1998 — when Hurricane Mitch hit their homeland. Several hundred Somalis remain in the country with TPS first granted in 1991, along with some 700 Sudanese who first secured TPS benefits in 1997.

TPS designees won three-year renewable passes to live and work here, travel freely and enjoy immunity from detention or deportation. Participants were originally required to provide proof that they arrived here on an eligible date, committed no more than two misdemeanors and no felonies and maintained a continuous presence in the country. But the programs are dangerously rife with unchecked document fraud, including unknown numbers of TPS winners who have used multiple aliases and faked their country of origin to qualify.

And without a fully functioning biometric entry-exit database in place to track temporary foreign visitors, there’s no way to track all the TPS enrollees.

As I’ve reported repeatedly over the past quarter-century, these “temporary” amnesties have become endless, interminable residency plans for unlawful border crossers, visa overstayers and deportation evaders from around the world. They are not, and never were, entitled to be here. Entry into our country is a privilege, not a right. That’s not “hateful.” It’s the stance that every modern, industrialized sovereign nation takes toward noncitizens.

Trump is the first commander in chief to challenge the temporary-in-name-only farce since the creation of the program. At least 3,700 Liberians like Clark have been here since 1991 on TPS because of civil wars that ended 16 years ago. President Bill Clinton first ordered Deferred Enforced Departure (discretionary deportation delays) for this group in 1999, arguing that the country was still unstable. Nineteen years later, after multiple extensions by Presidents Bush and Obama, Trump finally determined that it was safe for these guests to return to their homeland.

But instead of thanks and farewell, the beneficiaries of our country’s humanitarian TPS and DED policies like Linda Clark and their Democratic enablers like Rep. Omar are clinging bitterly and hurling invectives at leaders who take our laws and borders seriously. The disgruntled “victims” have an army of ACLU lawyers helping them sue to avoid deportation and a phalanx of open borders journalists to drum up public sympathy for their plights. Next week, they’ll be marching on Washington, pounding their drums and shaking their fists as they demand green cards and citizenship.

What other nation in the world has been so foolishly tolerant of so many foreign ingrates and agitators overstaying their welcome? If President Trump can’t pull the plug on this interminable charade, no one can. Once again, my old adage will prove true: There is no such thing as a “temporary” amnesty.

Posted in: Immigration

Conservatives: Don’t fall all over yourself defending Howard Schultz

As longtime readers know, I have been a staunch defender of the free market and job creators for my entire career.

My book, “Who Built That,” was a passionate defense of American entrepreneurs in the face of the Obama-era war on wealth.

Now, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz is facing the progressives’ backlash against billionaires:

“I’ve also been criticized for being a billionaire,” Schultz said Wednesday. “Let’s talk about that. I’m self-made. I grew up in the project in Brooklyn, New York. I thought that was the American dream, the aspiration of America. You’re going to criticize me for — for being successful when in my company over the last 30 years, the only company in America that gave comprehensive health insurance, equity in the form of stock options, and free college tuition? And Elizabeth Warren wants to criticize me for being successful?”

I’ve noticed some conservatives expressing sympathy for his plight. My feeling is more of schadenfreude.

Don’t forget: Schultz, like so many other liberal CEOs, has pandered to progressives and thrown non-leftist customers under the bus by grandstanding on guns and open borders. He attempted to mollify SJWs by shutting down all his stores for racial bias training. And he has wavered on his position on tax cuts.

Can’t say I’m shedding tears watching him getting eaten alive and dividing the social justice wing he has tried to ally himself with for years. In fact, I’ll enjoy watching the spectacle sipping a piping hot non-Starbucks beverage and raising a toast to the intramural catfight.

Posted in: Politics

The MAGA-phobic manure-spreaders of media sensationalism

The manure-spreaders of media sensationalism
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2019

Here we go again. If you think the manure-spreaders of sensationalism who masquerade as ethical practitioners of journalism learned anything from last week’s MAGA-bashing Covington Catholic High School hoax, I have three words for you:

Ha, ha, ha.

On Tuesday morning, uncorroborated claims by actor Jussie Smollett that he was the victim of a “brutal” hate crime by Trump supporters in Chicago went viral across social media. Entertainment rag TMZ.com first splashed “exclusive” headlines that the “Empire” cast member was “beaten by MAGA backers” in a “homophobic attack” at around 2a.m. in Chicago. If you have no idea what “Empire” is or who Smollett is, join the club. The TV star is apparently a vocal critic of Trump and attacked “45 and all his white hooded cohorts” on Instagram last week.

But I digress.

Within minutes, the gossip site’s squib on the TV star’s alleged victimization trended on Twitter and rocketed up to USA Today, Variety, CBS, CNN, and the New York Times. The Fishwrap of Record breathlessly reported lurid details of two people who “wrapped rope around his neck,” which multiple outlets characterized as a “noose.” A police statement providing incident background stated that “the offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim,” according to Smollett. Multiple websites reported that the substance was bleach.

This is truly horrible, if true. But color me cautious and skeptical. TMZ initially reported that Smollett had exited a Subway chain restaurant near his luxury apartment when accosted by the racist, homophobic assailants, who allegedly recognized him from his work on “Empire.” Allegedly, Smollett received a hate mail with the word “MAGA” on it addressed to him and sent to his studio in Chicago last week. If this was a premeditated “attack,” the FBI should get to the bottom of it.

But oddities and discrepancies abound:

TMZ quoted one of the “MAGA country” attackers who allegedly hurled epithets at Smollett: “Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?”

Question: How many racist, homophobic menaces wander around the upscale Streeterville neighborhood of liberal Chicago at 2 a.m. carrying rope and bleach, yelling about “MAGA country?”

Question: How many racist, homophobic menaces have ever heard of “Empire,” could recognize Jussie Smollett, or know or care anything about his sexuality?

Despite TMZ’s claim that Smollett had the “hell beat outta him” and attackers “broke his ribs” plus subjected him to a chemical attack, an ambulance was not called and he instead “self-transported” to the hospital. CWB Chicago, a local public safety watchdog site, reported on police dispatch records documenting that Smollett’s friend “Frank” refused EMS services for Smollett; no mention of bleach was made; “no or minor injury” was observed; and “officers never sent a ‘flash; message with offender descriptions to field units.”

Weird.

Another assertion not included in the CPD’s initial press release on the incident: Any mention of “MAGA supporters” or any mention of the race of the alleged assailants. Police clarified that they had not received any official information backing TMZ reporter Charles Latibeaudiere’s claim, which he attributed to sources close to Smollett, that the alleged attackers shouted, “This is MAGA country.”

Nor had the police corroborated that the attackers were white, since Smollett had told them their faces and hands were both covered. After launching a search for surveillance video and potential witnesses, the police department reported late Tuesday that “thus far we have not found anything to be able to put out a description.”

I was told that public records requests for the incident report may take “weeks” to be approved. I was also told the Chicago police remain in charge of investigating the alleged incident, while the FBI probe of the alleged hate mail remains separate.

CPD’s public information office also told me late Tuesday that when police responded to the 911 call regarding the incident, Smollett gave them no details about where it occurred or what the attackers looked like. None. They were reportedly on scene for an hour with Smollett. When I asked again how the claims about white “MAGA attackers” were disseminated in the press, the PIO replied:

“We have no idea where that came from.”

Minutes after I hung up the phone with her, a local Chicago reporter tweeted that Smollett did mention the “MAGA” angle in a “follow-up, supplemental interview.” Which is it?

Despite all the holes, contradictions, and unanswered questions, the MAGA hate crime narrative has already calcified. (Sound familiar?) By 5pm Eastern on Tuesday, a search for “MAGA” and “Smollett” on Google yielded 3,520,000 results. And TMZ ended its day of social justice pot-stirring with the Rev. Al Sharpton calling for President Trump to “denounce Jussie Smollett’s MAGA attackers” who have yet to be identified.

Classic manufactured “news:” Report on an uncorroborated hate crime. Plant unverified details. Repeatedly blame white male Trump supporters. Stoke Hollywood outrage. Enlist the Godfather of Hate Crime Hoaxes to call on the president to denounce phantom attackers. Reap clicks and publicity. Indict all skeptics as racists and haters. Repeat.

Smears first. Facts later. How much deader can American journalism get?

Posted in: Al Sharpton

The Covington Rorschach test: What do YOU see?

The Covington Rorschach test: What do YOU see?
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2019

Sometimes, a three-point celebration is just a three-point celebration. Sometimes, a pep rally is just a pep rally. Sometimes, a smile is just a smile. And sometimes, a hat is just a hat.

Only among the most deranged partisans could a universal sports ritual, a common high school activity, a typical teen face and patriotic headgear be construed as evil symbols of patriarchal oppression.

These, however, are the soul-sapping, lunacy-inducing times in which we live.

Nobody loses their marbles when black NBA stars make the universal “OK” gesture with one hand. Or two. Or when the elite athletes hold up the sign to the sky, turn two of them into triumphant eye goggles, stir the pot, sweep the floor or dramatically holster their finger-trios like weapons.

It’s all in good fun.

But when reputation-destroying agitators plundered the photo collection of the Covington Catholic High School basketball team in search of evidence to bolster their prefabricated narrative that the white Kentucky boys must, must, must be unrepentant bigots, the three-point celebration transmogrified into menacing proof of R-A-C-I-S-M.

Liberal pot-stirrers tweeted celebrities and journalists an image purporting to show that the Covington kids — still under siege after being slandered last week at the March for Life rally by Native American agitator Nathan Phillips — had flashed white supremacy signs. The teens were pictured on the sidelines of a basketball court in their uniforms, paying tribute to a teammate who had just scored.

No, they did not hail him with Hitler salutes, but with the innocuous three-point, A-OK sign.

Undeterred by basketball fans who futilely tried to explain the actual meaning of the hand gesture, monomaniacal left-wing detectives marked all the Covington athletes’ fingers with cuckoo red-font circles and disseminated their fevered forensic analysis across social media with enraged captions, including this one sent to the pope:

“This is the All White hand sign. This is Covington Catholic school. Is this what they teach at this Catholic school? Is this how Jesus wanted it?”

Comedienne-turned-decapitation fetishist Kathy Griffin gleefully attacked the boys, tweeting “Covington’s finest throwing up the new nazi sign.”

The New York Daily News and U.K. Daily Mail compounded the delusional smear with sensational headlines claiming Covington basketball players had taunted a black opponent while in “blackface.” Quelle horreur!

In truth, internet trolls had ripped a screenshot from the team’s video montage of pep rallies — where students had dressed up as nerds, businessmen and Hawaiians or painted themselves blue, white and (gasp!) black at various competitions.

It’s not racism. It’s athletic boosterism.

An alum, Ryan Toler, tried to correct the record, pointing out that he was pictured in the seven-year-old photo: “I’m shown in the background of this image. ITS CALLED A BLACKOUT THEME. WE HAD SCHOOL SPIRIT. WE DO THIS TO EVERY SCHOOL NO MATTER THE RACE OR ETHNICITY. Stop trying to force a fake story to drive your false narrative.”

But the media manufacturers of racism won’t stop because the ideological incentives to convict first and verify later are far too strong. Time after time, liberals see racism where it doesn’t exist, fabricate it when they can’t find it and ignore it within their own ranks.

They didn’t stop after falsely accusing Zina Gelman Bash, a Jewish Mexican-American lawyer, of flashing a white supremacy sign at a Senate confirmation hearing last fall for her friend Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

They didn’t stop after the liberal white zealots of the Southern Poverty Law Center falsely labeled famed neurosurgeon and Trump Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and anti-jihad activist Maajid Nawaz “extremists.”

They didn’t stop after hysterically spreading campus hate crime fakery cooked up at my alma mater Oberlin College, where excitable nitwits claimed a student walking around with a blanket wrapped around her was a lurking racist in a KKK hood; at Michigan State University, where a “noose” turned out to be a lost shoelace; or at Bowling Green State University, where a purported group of Klansmen turned out to be lab equipment covered with a white cloth.

They didn’t stop after attacking my Catholic high school alma mater, Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, N.J., four years ago, when a decades-old tradition of basketball fans dressing up in goofy costumes was falsely portrayed by USA Today as racism because students wore monkey pajamas and a giant banana (others wore a green ballerina tutu, a bumblebee suit, a jack-o’-lantern outfit and “Wizard of Oz” get-ups).

The Covington hoax is more than just the epitome of fake news. It’s a cultural Rorschach test that measures the impact of Trump-hating confirmation bias on the viewer’s intellectual honesty and emotional stability. Those calling to protest, dox, stalk or kill the MAGA hat-wearing Covington kids and their families over a selectively edited video planted by a foreign instigator prove, once again, that political correctness is a pathological disorder.

Procter & Gamble’s toxic sanctimony

Procter & Gamble’s toxic sanctimony
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2019

One of the world’s most successful brands committed ideological hara-kiri this week. Recognized around the world as a symbol of manly civility for more than a century, Gillette will now be remembered as the company that did itself in by sacrificing a massive consumer base at the altar of progressivism.

To which I say: R.I.P.-C. (Rest In Political Correctness).

In case you hadn’t seen or heard, parent company Procter & Gamble launched a Gillette ad campaign blanket-demonizing men as ogres and bullies. Guilt-ridden actors gaze ruefully at their reflections in the mirror — not because they’ve neglected their hygiene, but simply because they’re men. Various scenarios of boys being boors and males being monsters flash across the screen before woke interlocutors show how “real” men behave in nonaggressive, conciliatory and apologetic ways.

At home and at work, in the boardroom, on the playground, and even while barbecuing in the backyard, Gillette sees nothing but testosterone-driven trouble. Message: Y chromosomes are toxic. The “best a man can get” can no longer be attained without first renouncing oppressive manliness.

Self-improvement must begin with self-flagellation.

A Gillette company statement explained that after “taking a hard look at our past” and “reflecting on the types of men and behaviors we want to celebrate,” officials decided to “actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette.”

But Proctor & Gamble, which bought Gillette in 2005 for $57 billion, doesn’t spell out which part exactly of the 118-year-old company’s past it now rejects. Was it founder King Gillette, the relentless entrepreneur who appealed to “red-blooded” young American soldiers? Was it the decades of multimillion-dollar promotional campaigns catering to physically superior athletes?

Or perhaps the mau-mauing marketers have adopted the radical feminist position that shaving itself is sexist. Is the ultimate goal to undermine the very raison d’etre of the $15 billion shave care industry?

I ask only half in jest. How else to explain this latest suicidal episode of collective consumer-shaming? Gillette’s two-minute, man-bashing missive may have racked up 7 million views on YouTube, but the “dislikes” outnumber “likes” by 4 to 1.

And the reviews are brutal:

“How to destroy your company in 1 minute 48 seconds.”

“Companies attempting to make profit should stick to that.”

“The single male is the most attacked maligned ridiculed and forgotten person in today’s society.”

“You can buy High Quality Razors that are NOT Gillette at the 99 Cents Store with NO lecturing on how to be a Man.”

“I’ll buy P&G products again when I see them release an equivalent ad targeting negative female traits: toxic femininity/paternity fraud/fake accusations… doubt that’s going to happen any time soon!”

“So now Gillette thinks that it is the arbiter of what all men should think, say, and watch. Screw Gillette, bought their products for almost 50 years, I will never buy another Gillette product. NEVER!!!”

“Thank you Gillette, I purchased your razors and chopped off my testicles with it. No more toxic masculinity!”

Ouch.

You may remember that P&G, which I un-fondly refer to Protest & Grumble, has dipped its sanctimonious toe into social justice waters before. In 2017, the company tackled identity politics with a video called “The Talk.” The preachy ad stoked fear and hatred of police and perpetuated racial stereotypes of officers lurking around every corner waiting to pounce on innocent black children and teenagers — alienating law enforcement families across the country and insulting every minority cop to boot.

The backlash against that ad apparently didn’t faze Protest & Grumble’s activist zealots. Once again, industry marketers are proving they’re not satisfied with selling useful products people want and need. No, they’re hell-bent on exploiting successful businesses to cram odious politics down consumers’ throats.

Like many Silicon Valley giants (hello, Facebook and Twitter) and SJW-hijacked sports enterprises (hello, NFL and ESPN), Gillette is now openly discriminating against its consumers-turned-critics to curry political favor with the #MeToo movement. Savvy social media observers caught the company throttling negative comments and dislikes on its YouTube video. They can manipulate likes and de-platform dissenters. But they won’t be able to disguise the bloodletting effect of toxic sanctimony on their bottom line.

Falling on your virtue-signaling blade may win you awards and headlines, but ultimately, it’s a fatal proposition.