Time to Dial Down the Rhetoric

Not about the policies of  the Chesapeake Police Department leadership, or the Carpetbagger Prosecutors, but at least about the individual Officers who have lost one of their own. I have noted a lot of comments here and elsewhere claiming organized mass perjury and faked emotion. That is unfair. It is also counterproductive in arriving at the truth.

When emotions run high, it is human to make monsters of those who oppose us. That is happening on both sides of this issue, and human as it is, we must recognize it in ourselves and others and allow for it.

What we are opposing is bad policy, not bad people. The officers in the field did not make our laws, but they are bound to enforce them. The policies that led to the tragic death of Det. Shivers were set at higher pay grades than the officers who carried them out and who are testifying in court.

If there has been dishonesty, it will be revealed in due time, but we should give the benefit of any doubt to the sworn testimony of these officers until that happens.  People certainly remember their own part in major events in their lives in the most favorable light, but I really don’t believe nine police officers conspired to collude on substantial items of perjury.

So, please, at least in this forum, lets treat these officers as we would if they were sitting here with us, with respect even when we disagree on policy.


19 Responses to Time to Dial Down the Rhetoric

  1. VaMarine22 says:

    Thanks Doc for the post..

  2. CEH says:

    Thank you.

  3. ktc2 says:

    As much as I hate to do this, isn’t “The officers in the field did not make our laws, but they are bound to enforce them. The policies that led to the tragic death of Det. Shivers were set at higher pay grades than the officers who carried them out . . . ” pretty much equivalent to “I was just following orders”?

    I’ve made no derrogatory comments about any of the officers but and don’t intend to, but I just wanted to point out that this excuse has been tried before and it doesn’t hold up.

  4. KBCraig says:

    I understand that the officers’ emotion is real. I also understand that they were not ordered onto this raid by higher authorities; instead, it was the front-line officers themselves who set this tragedy into motion.

    It is one thing to withhold condemnation of someone “just doing his job” because a gun is pointed at him, his family, and all he holds dear; I can sympathize with someone in that position. It’s an entirely different matter to say we must not condemn an officer who was an eager participant, who perhaps even created the raid by a false affidavit and invalid warrant.

    Many of the officers on the Ryan Frederick raid were just along for the ride, and had nothing to do with obtaining the warrant. They are experiencing emotional turmoil not just at the loss of one of their own, but at being forced into that situation by corrupt colleagues. Those officers do have my sympathy; they’re being torn in both directions.

    As for those who obtained the faulty warrant in the first place, I have zero sympathy.

  5. ktc2 says:


    You are correct. They (at least two of the officers) don’t even have the bogus “I was just following orders” excuse.

    From Mr. Balkos excellent blog:

    “Indeed, the police officers who testified yesterday conceded that the only evidence they had on Frederick was the word of their informant, Steven Wright. Wright at the time was being held on felony charges related to credit card theft. According to the officers who testified, Wright had helped them on one prior case, and was paid $50.

    I should first add that this testimony conflicts with what Renaldo Turnbull (the other man who broke into Frederick’s house with Wright) told me in June, and with what he told the Virginian-Pilot last February. Turnbull said both he and Wright had been working with the police for months, and that the police had encouraged them to illegally break into private homes to obtain probably cause for search warrants.

    But let’s assume the police officers are telling the truth. If so, that means they broke into Frederick’s house after nightfall, using a battering ram, based solely on the word of a shady informant who at the time was facing his own felony charges. Not only that, but he didn’t even have the marijuana plants he claimed to have taken. Those plants, if they even exist, have never been in police possession.”

    So, based on their own admissions about knowing about the robbery and when they knew about it there are only two possibilities:

    A) These officers were encouraging or turning a blind eye to burglaries to get information for warrants.


    B) These officers are the most incredibly incompetent cops imaginable. I mean to the point it makes the keystone cops seem like the untouchables. This would have to be the kind of stupid that you can tell within the first minute of speaking with someone theres something wrong with them.

    While as a general rule its a bad idea to attribute to malice that which can be explained by simple incompetence in this case I think Occam’s Razor requires the answer to be A.

    • Don Tabor says:

      I agree that in the process of obtaining the warrant, it seems likely that either dishonesty or incredible gullibility may have been involved, but that only involves two officers, only one af whom survives.

      Even if that proves to be true, it does not impugn of the integrity of the other officers who acted on the warrant, or police in general.

      As a country, we have tolerated and even encouraged, incredible transgressions of our Constitutional rights in the War on Drugs simply because it was the easy way to pursue that goal. When we are assessing blame, we must look to ourselves as citizens for failing as guardians of our Constitution.

  6. TPB says:

    Mr. Tabor:

    Do you believe that Det. Shirvers was in contact with either Steven Wright or Renaldo Turnbull?

    Thanks for you answer and your great work.

  7. John Wilburn says:

    TPB –

    According to Renaldo Turnbull’s statements to John Hopkins (V-P reporter) Detective Shivers met with Mr. Turnbull at the 7-11 that is near the intersection of Battlefield Blvd and Cedar Rd and also spoke to him on the phone, on other occasions. He said that Shivers “told him what to look for” and to let “Steven” (Steven Wright, the “CI”) know if he knew of any burglaries or anything. He said Shivers told him “no evidence, no pay” and “if you know where it is, go get it.”

    Because of this, prosecutor Paul Ebert manipulated the court to have Mr. Hopkins removed from the courtroom, claiming that Mr. Hopkins was a “witness” (to a hearing that never took place, for a motion to suppress the search warrant).

    The Virginian-Pilot never raised a finger in protest…

  8. cem says:

    Dr. Tabor
    I have followed this case from the beginning, and I must say, You have been the
    most moderate voice on any medium I have found. I find your comments both extremely well versed and thorough. Please keep up this most improtant task for us who are simply not able to be at this trial. And by the way, when they do find this poor unfortunate man guily of something, please lead us on the march on city hall..

  9. TPB says:

    Mr. John Wilburn:

    Thank You for you quick response to my question.

    Maybe another question?

    Who was it that said that the asked Wright 15 times about the pot plants / and was never told that Wright was involved in the burglary?

    Thanks Again,
    Stay Gold

  10. John Wilburn says:

    TPB –

    That was Detective Roberts – he said he wasn’t aware that Steven Wright was involved in the burglary until “about three months ago.”

  11. TPB says:

    Mr. John Wilburn:

    Thinking out loud, If a Detective asks a CI 15 times about a crime, he either did not like the answer / answers he got the first 14 times; or he did not trust the answer / answers he got the first 14 times? If the Detective did not like or trust the answer / answers he got the first 14 times, Why did the Detective infringe on the rights on a “Clean Record Citizen” with this kind of evidence???? The Detective should of had more than this or he should of left this Citizen and his rights alone.

    I know that I don’t understand a lot about the courts / system. I must ask myself; Self, why would the Prosacutor would want to hold back the truth if he is not a crook himself?

    Thank You Mr. John Wilburn and Dr. Don Tabor for you Labor of the Truth.

    Thanks Again,
    Stay Gold,

  12. John Wilburn says:

    TPB –

    Detective Roberts doesn’t cover his six very well – he wasn’t a very convincing witness…

  13. ktc2 says:


    Well the long answer is because prosecutors are evaluated, rewarded and promoted by the number of convictions they get and not by the number of times justice is served. Thus the short answer is because they are crooks.

  14. Tom says:

    I was nearly another “casualty” of the “war on drugs” due to actions of the vice squad cowboys in the Portsmouth police dept. I’m NOT saying the chesapeake “cowboys” are the same BUT many times they run the operations themselves with little or NO supervision.

  15. […] Minor Deviation To Doc Tabor’s View I agree with Doc Tabor that it is time to dial down the rhetoric, and  on the tendency to unnecessarily demonize those who oppose us, but I have to part with him […]

  16. ktc2 says:


    Check this out for your answer on prosecutors:


    This is a large part of why we no longer have a justice system, but a legal system designed to criminalize and convict regardless of the facts.

  17. TPB says:

    Greetings, ktc2:

    That is very interesting. Thanks for the link.

    Thank You all for helping me find out about the real facts that surround this case.

    Thanks Again,
    Stay Gold,

  18. James Hicks says:


    Though few officers will confess to lying — after all, it’s a crime — work by researchers and a 1990s commission appointed to examine police corruption shows there’s a tacit agreement among many officers that lying about how evidence is seized keeps criminals off the street.

    Criminal-justice researchers say it’s difficult to quantify how often perjury is being committed. According to a 1992 survey, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in Chicago said they thought that, on average, perjury by police occurs 20% of the time in which defendants claim evidence was illegally seized.

    “It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers,” though it’s difficult to detect in specific cases, said Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals-court judge, in the 1990s. That’s because the exclusionary rule “sets up a great incentive for…police to lie.”

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