The Free Lance–Star accuses two Caroline County Sheriff’s Deputies of police brutality using the word of someone charged with a felony.

Because he’s so damn believable, right?

For those that haven’t been following this story, a student along with her father and grandmother were arrested at Caroline County High School last week following an incident where they allegedly assaulted two sheriff’s deputies, as well as school administration personnel.

According to a reporting by WRIC (Channel 8) in Richmond, the father had previously been arrested twice on school grounds after refusing to leave. According to online court records he already has a pending assault and battery charge as well.

But that doesn’t stop esteemed local reporter Portsia Smith from repeating his claims that the sheriff’s deputies attacked his mother (the student’s grandmother) without provocation, and that’s when he stepped in to help his mother:

The father said everything was fine and they were leaving until his daughter realized she left her purse in the building.

He said his mother and daughter went back to get it while he stayed behind talking to one of the officers.

Then he said he saw his 69-year-old mother thrown to the ground by a sheriff’s deputy. His mother said she didn’t know what was going on.

Did our esteemed local reporter seek comment from the Sheriff’s Office or the deputies involved? Nope.

Did she ask for a copy of the surveillance tape, which captured the incident, from either the school system or the Sheriff’s Office? Of course not.

Did she bother contacting any of the people who witnessed the incident, such as the administration personnel? Nah, that’s too much work.

Hopefully, the deputies sue the father, as well as this incompetent ‘reporter’, for libel when this is all said and done.

The Orwellian newspeak approach to whether we have gangs in Caroline County or not.

This is from a story in today’s edition of The Free Lance–Star:

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer talked about how decisions have consequences and discussed cases he has prosecuted in the county.

The sheriff and prosecutor say they don’t think the county has any real gangs, but they have seen “gang-like” activity in Caroline.

This is absolutely amazing. A couple weeks ago, Spencer wanted to put someone in a real prison for a real amount of time because Spencer alleged that a 16-year-old was a real gang member:

Ricky Alan Heinbaugh Jr. will stay locked up in a juvenile facility until he is at least 18 years old.


Judge Horace A. Revercomb III sentenced him yesterday to an active sentence of 2 years. But because he is 16, he is allowed to serve the time in a juvenile facility. After two years, Revercomb said, his behavior will be reviewed.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer argued that Heinbaugh’s criminal history and destructive behavior make him a danger to Caroline County. He had a gang expert critique Heinbaugh’s MySpace page, which the expert said had signs of possible gang affiliation to the Bloods street gang, such as tattoos and mannerisms.

And when Spencer was accused of intimidating witnesses who were subpoenaed to testify against Lashawn Monroe, Spencer said that they were really lying and all members of a real gang:

Spencer argued that the seven witnesses called at the hearing had a motive for wanting to speak out against him: They were all in some way friends or relatives of Monroe and had been reluctant to testify from the start.

He added that many of them are members of the same gang.

“This is an effort by a criminal street gang to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings here,” he said.

Christ, I heard less BS when Latney was the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

And while I disagree with Supervisor Floyd Thomas quite often, he had some great pearls of wisdom at the community meeting:

Supervisor Floyd Thomas pulled $50 out of his pocket to add to the prizes being given away that night. He challenged all of the students to appreciate life.

He talked about how precious life is to him after overcoming cancer two years ago. “To see kids fight over something that doesn’t matter, it just hurts me,” he said.

More gang graffiti in Port Royal: “Duece” strikes again.

I got this picture via the series of tubes from my brother (shameless plug: check out his own two hate-blogs, On The Right and Orange, VA Independence Day Tea Party). It was taken yesterday, you can see in the background Shiloh Baptist Church and its cemetery:


Not cross-posted at any other blog for once.

Gangs? I thought we only had “wannabes” here in Caroline County, along with some other thoughts on gang denial.

Does anyone remember the Caroline County constitutional officers debate back in 2007 at the Bowling Green Town Hall? Perhaps when the question of gangs and gang crime came up to the candidates for Sheriff? Tony Lippa stated that we only had “wannabes” in the county.

Here are some pictures that were taken of graffiti found in Port Royal in mid-July (photo credit: My brother, Garrett Watson; shameless plug: check out his own two hate-blogs, On The Right and Orange, VA Independence Day Tea Party):

Here’s some information about the graffiti from my brother as well:

This is the second time there has been gang graffiti in Port Royal, about 2 years ago there was Bloods graffiti in the trailer park in the western end of the town. Now this is on the town square. […] The graffiti is at the intersection of King and Middle street in Port Royal.

Judging as far as the graffiti goes, it is from the Traveling Vice Lords, or TVLN, TVL, a gang unified under the People Nation. The gang started in Chicago. They are united with Bloods and the United Blood Nation on the east cost. The heart symbol in the graffiti is a Vice Lord symbol, the upside down 3 pointed pitchfork is a disrespecting symbol to the Folk Nation, the rival to the People Nation, Vice Lords, and Bloods in the area. The name “duece” is most likely a street name of the writer of the graffiti or could be another Vice Lord clique that the TVL are affiliated with. If the “duece” is the gang members street name, the 2 under the two hearts means he is a 2 star Lieutenant within the gang.

He sent that information to several people in the Sheriff’s Office and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and never got a response. So much for that ‘community policing’ the Sheriff’s Office is supposed to pride themselves on. Thankfully, at least the property owner, or someone else, had painted over the graffiti by the next day.

And it get even funnier when you read Portsia Smith’s “Caroline Crossroads” blog, where she notes the events for last night’s National Night Out:

Ladysmith Neighborhood Watch, the Attorney General’s Office and the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office will host “National Night Out” August 4 at the Ladysmith Village Residents Club starting at 5:30 PM.

At 6:30 PM the Attorney General’s Office will discuss gang prevention, and screen an award-winning educational video, The Wrong Family-Virginia Fights Back Against Gangs.

Wait a second, I thought we only had “wannabes”! So, do we have gangs or a gang problem or not in this county? And where do I go to get a straight answer to that question?

Then we have someone else involved in the criminal justice system in Caroline County — who shall remain nameless — that says we don’t have gangs, we have “different groups” which commit crimes.

That’s right, different groups. That commit crimes. Let’s review the definition of a “criminal street gang” in Va. Code § 18.2-46.1:

“Criminal street gang” means any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, (i) which has as one of its primary objectives or activities the commission of one or more criminal activities; (ii) which has an identifiable name or identifying sign or symbol; and (iii) whose members individually or collectively have engaged in the commission of, attempt to commit, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation of two or more predicate criminal acts, at least one of which is an act of violence, provided such acts were not part of a common act or transaction.

What constitutes a “predicate criminal act” and an “act of violence” are also defined in the same section.

Looks like these “different groups” that go around committing crimes are pretty close to the definition of a “criminal street gang”, if they don’t meet the requirements already.

Other sections of the Code of Virginia provide for increased punishment for crimes that are committed to the benefit of the gang, such as recruitment, as well as for gang activity in school zones, and provides for civil asset forfeiture for the proceeds of gang crimes.

But this problem isn’t restricted to just Caroline County. A couple of years ago, a Virginia State Trooper who worked in Fredericksburg stated to a room with 30 people in it, “Fredericksburg does not have a gang problem, it has a gang presence.” To which anyone with a brain or a sarcastic bone in their body would think: Isn’t the presence a problem? (The Trooper also stated that there was no gang graffiti in the city, and any vandalism that you saw was the work of “taggers”. Um, yeah, sure.)

To demonstrate how absurd that comment is, think about this: Would anyone state the following?

“We don’t have a mafia problem, we have a mafia presence.”

“We don’t have a serial-killer problem, we have a serial-killer presence.”

“We don’t have a terrorist problem, we have a terrorist presence.”

Heck no. And if anyone stated that privately — much less publicly — they would be kicked out of their organization faster than you can say “gang problem”. But that doesn’t happen in this case, of course, because the Trooper is just repeating the company line.

One thing I want to make clear, however,  is that I’m not advocating for a ‘moral panic’ liked what happened in Las Vegas and Nevada from the late ’80s to the early ’90s. (If you want to learn more about that, read The Political and Organizational Response to Gangs: An Examination of a “Moral Panic” in Nevada [PDF] by Richard C. McCorkle and Terance D. Miethe.)

The problem here is that people in the government — state or local — refuse to acknowledge and accept the reality of the situation. And while gangs may commit the same types of crimes that individuals do, there are support systems, tools (some of which I outlined above), and strategies that can used specifically against them. If the police and prosecutors in the area refuse to acknowledge the existence of gangs in their jurisdictions, those support systems, tools, and strategies are useless.

There’s also another possibility: The police and prosecutors know full-well that there are gangs and/or a gang problem in their jurisdictions and they just choose to lie to the public while simultaneously refusing to use those support systems, tools, and strategies.

Someone tell me which option is worse: Willful ignorance or lying to citizens?

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Did Tony Spencer fail Criminal Law 101 at law school?

I’m basing this post on the assumption that the information printed by the Emporia Independent Messenger is accurate. I’m also assuming that Benjamin Boyd’s defense attorney Morgan Griffith is telling the truth. No offense intended to Delegate Griffith, but he is a defense attorney after all. And you know what they say about assuming…

From the Emporia Independent Messenger:

Boyd has a heavy hitter representing him in defense, attorney Morgan Griffith, who is also the number two Republican in the Virginia House of Delegates, as the District 8 Representative. “The misdemeanor conviction brought on a small fine and 18 months’ probation,” said Griffith. “This all happened before he ever became a teacher. He put down on his application that he had misdemeanors on his record, but wasn’t specific. Boyd was hired at Caroline. The Superintendent of Caroline County Schools, Gregory Killough, knew the specifics of the conviction and said he forgot to mention them to the school board. A second meeting was held and the board learned of the facts surrounding the 1991 case and decided to hire the coach. It was later that the recent charges were filed. “I don’t believe there was a forgery,” said Griffith. He didn’t sign a false name. “Uttering would be the passing of the application and I don’t believe there was any intent to deceive.” Griffith said that Boyd still plans to coach the Cavaliers this year.

Based on what I can find on the application for employees of the Caroline County School Board, the question involved is this: “Have you ever been convicted (as guilty or not innocent) of a violation of law other than a minor traffic violation? (If yes, attach explanation.)” If Griffith is accurate, then Boyd checked “Yes” on that question but failed to elaborate on a separate sheet.

(As a sidenote there’s a question stating: “Have you been convicted (as guilty or not innocent, or a determination of abuse or neglect founded against you) of any offense involving moral turpitude, the sexual molestation, physical or sexual abuse or rape of a child, or any like offense against an adult? (If yes, attach explanation.)” That question is a requirement of Va. Code § 22.1-296.1, but that’s a null point because the crimes that Boyd pled guilty were not crimes “involving moral turpitude” as I previously pointed out.)

And as Griffith pointed out in the story, where’s the intent to defraud that’s a requirement of a charge of forgery? Better yet, where’s the act that Boyd is being charged for? An omission in attaching a sheet to an application results in a charge of forgery and uttering? So much for requiring either an actus reus (guilty act) or a mens rea (guilty mind) to be charged with a crime.

And here’s a simple way to sort all this out without the legal mumbo jumbo: If the Virginia General Assembly ever thought that an omission or untruthful statement on an application was punishable by forgery and uttering of a public document (two Class 4 felonies), then why did they enact § 22.1-296.1 which provides for punishment for omitting or lying about convictions for sexual abuse or a “crime of moral turpitude”, which is only punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to a year in jail and/or $2,500 fine)? Why be able to charge someone with a Class 1 misdemeanor when you can throw a guy in prison for 20 years for forgery and uttering? It’s going to be some funny stuff when Morgan Griffith — who has been a Delegate for over 15 years — gets up during the trial and starts talking about the intent of  the General Assembly in enacting certain laws.

Boyd is neither guilty of forgery nor uttering of a public document, nor is he guilty of violating § 22.1-296.1; he’s simply guilty of applying for the same job as the son-in-law of Sheriff. He’s also guilty of applying for a job in a county where the Commonwealth’s Attorney has abandoned what’s supposed to be his neutral and detached role.

It looks like Spencer apparently failed Criminal Law 101 at law school too…

H/t: Portsia Smith’s “Caroline Crossroads” blog.

Time for a variation of Godwin’s Law and other logical fallacies from people supporting Lippa’s railroading of Benjamin Boyd.

For those not familiar with Godwin’s Law, it states: “As a Usenet [a message board-style system] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” It was also used in the ye olde days (back when you had to carry the electrons on your back!) to determine when a Usenet discussion had reached it’s peak and needed to be ended due to someone deciding to compare someone else they were arguing with to a Nazi or Hitler. Anyone that make a comparison to Nazism or Hitler was determined to have lost the argument as well.

Well, here’s a new wider variation coined by me: As any argument continues, online or offline, the probability of a comparison to a mass murderer, including a serial killer, approaches 1.

And, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached that point in the back and forth regarding Sheriff Tony Lippa’s vendetta against Caroline County High School football coach Benjamin Boyd. In a letter to the editor in the July 23, 2009, edition of The Caroline Progress, Roger Cavendish stated the following as part of a tirade against former Principal Jeff Wick, the Caroline County School Board, et al.:

I can certainly understand why Jeff Wick is an ex-principal with his moral values. For him to even suggest that the drug crime was nineteen years ago is disgusting. I am sure that if Mr. Wick has anything to say about it the next time Charles Manson comes up for parole, he will want to hire him as a music teacher — after all, it has been forty years since he killed Sharon Tate and he is quite a musician.

Yep folks, he just compared someone that was convicted of two misdemeanors for the possession of steroids nineteen years ago to someone that was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of seven people. Do I really have to point the absurdity of that argument? To compare someone to Manson, who was involved in the brutal murder of seven people, including the murder of Sharon Tate who was eight-months pregnant at the time of her death, is beyond absurd; it’s reprehensible.

In the same letter Cavendish also stated that former School Board member and Coach George Spaulding had also come out in support of Boyd’s hiring and condemned Spaulding for supporting Boyd. Now that’s pretty interesting since Lippa is such good friends with George Spaulding through his wife Elisabeth Spaulding. Elisabeth Spaulding is the widow of Stan Benson who was a very good of friend of Lippa before his passing several years ago. In fact, Lippa was a big supporter of Spaulding’s failed bid for the Bowling Green Board of Supervisors seat back in 2007. Does all that support and friendship go out the door when someone ends up on the wrong side of one of Lippa’s vendetta, or, in this particular case, is it just the ravings of a lunatic like Roger Cavendish? It’s hard to decide at this point.

And then we have a portion of a the letter that appeared in the same edition from former Virginia State Trooper Robert Gordon:

As for the cheap shot by Mr. Wick regarding Sheriff Lippa’s son-in-law being interested in the coach’s position, it now has become a situation where members of the School Board and former principal Mr. Wick are now attempting to portray Sheriff Lippa as the bad in this entire matter.

First, note that nowhere did Gordon deny the truthfulness of Wick’s allegation. And, uh, excuse me, that’s a cheap shot? Is it a cheap shot for the Sheriff, the chief law-enforcement officer in the county, to publicly and falsely accuse someone of committing a crime? Is it a cheap shot for the Sheriff to invade another government employee’s privacy and to go around stating as a fact what was included on the employee’s application? Is it a cheap shot to get someone indicted for two felonies as part of a larger vendetta against someone and then run to a friend at WTVR Channel 6 News (Jon Burkett) to have him do a story about the charges?

No, of course not. It’s only a cheap shot to reveal to the public why a elected public official is pursuing a vendetta against someone. This is part of a wider revelation I’ve had: To Lippa and the people that are supporting him in this travesty of justice, they think there are two sets of rules: One set just for them and another set that everyone else has to follow. The problem is their set of rules is blank. They can do whatever they want: falsely accuse someone of a crime, try to publicly ruin a man’s reputation using the media, or try to get a man fired from a job that he was properly hired for, and it goes on and on. But when someone dares to point why they’re taking this course of action it’s a ‘cheap shot’, ‘an invasion of privacy’, ‘uncalled for’, or whatever else they want to say about it.

Shakeup at the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office: Lieutenant Colonel Mike Hall resigns “effective immediately”!

From Portsia Smith’s “Caroline Crossroads” blog:

Talked to Sheriff Tony Lippa and he has confirmed that Lt. Col. Mike Hall resigned from the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office effective immediately Tuesday.

Lippa said Hall will focus on his lawn care business, B & H Site Improvements.

No other details are available at this time.

I’m sure I’m not the only that isn’t buying this. No one resigns “effective immediately” unless they get fed up and walk out or if they’re fired outright.

This is pure speculation, but maybe Hall got sick of a sheriff’s office being used to go after someone (i.e., Ben Boyd) because that someone got hired for a job over someone else’s (i.e., Lippa’s) kin (i.e., Robbie Jenkins)?

This whole thing is even weirder because it was Lippa that brought Hall into the sheriff’s office (Hall was previously a Virginia State Trooper, a sergeant I believe) to be Lippa’s Chief Deputy when Lippa was elected. I’m guessing that Major Moser is doing those duties now which he should be able to manage since he was Homer Johnson’s Chief Deputy for several years). Now, the question is will Major Moser agree to do things that Hall apparently refused to do? Only time will tell…

Let’s hope that Hall keeps his calendar clear for two years from now. That would be 2011 for those that have trouble counting. Lot of interesting stuff happening that year, constitutional officer elections amongst them.

Speaking of disclosing convictions on an application: Did a Caroline County Sheriff’s Office sergeant disclose his involvement in the tear gas attack of a gay bar when he was hired?

Prologue: I had originally planned on publishing this post on Monday but I deferred posting for one reason. The person involved, Travis Nutter, was one of the investigators which worked on the Joseph Beverley murder case for which John Wayne Peck was on trial for earlier this week. Since I did not know if Nutter would be testifying during the trial for the case, and out of concern for some juror who might have tried to Google his name and find some reason not to believe what he testified to, I opted not to publish this post until after the trial concluded. And, yes, I’m aware that jurors are not supposed to use to Internet to check up on witnesses nor defendants, but given the number of morons that were obviously on that jury I believe my concern was well-founded. Anyway…

It’s amazing the stuff you can find on the internet by accident.

He was also given a bad conduct discharge by the United States Marine Corps according to The Washington Blade:

A former Marine who was given a bad conduct discharge from the military six years ago for his involvement in the tear-gas attack on a Capitol Hill gay bar is currently working as a deputy sheriff in southern Virginia.

Travis Lee Nutter is employed as a deputy in the Caroline County Police Department [sic], located south of Fredericksburg, Va., according to Deputy Sheriff Roger [sic] Moser.

Moser said he was unaware of Nutter’s involvement in the 1997 incident, which gay activists have characterized as a hate crime. According to Moser, Nutter was hired as a Caroline County police officer [sic] in 2000.

The incident dates back to the summer of 1997, when a group of five U.S. Marines, stationed at the Marine Barracks at Eighth and I Streets, in Southeast, D.C., threw a CS grenade, containing tear gas, inside Remington’s, a gay country-western themed bar, just six blocks from the base.

The following year Nutter, along with the other Marines involved, served brig time, was demoted to private status and was given a bad conduct discharge from the military as a result of the incident.

According to Moser, Caroline County Police Department authorities are aware of Nutter’s military background. But Moser would not comment when asked if he knew of the details surrounding Nutter’s discharge from the Marines. Moser also would not say if the department would investigate whether Nutter lied about his involvement in the ’97 incident when he applied to join the force.

It could not be confirmed by Blade deadline if Nutter had been convicted of any crime for his involvement in the Remington’s incident, but coverage of the attack in the Blade seven years ago documented Nutter’s demotion and bad conduct discharge from the military.

“We don’t hire any convicted felons,” Moser said. “By Virginia law, you can’t carry a weapon if you’ve been convicted of a felony.”

Moser added that the Caroline County Sheriff’s office conducts a National Criminal & Intelligence check on all applicants.

Moser said all applicants must pass a criminal background check, and a federal background investigation before being considered for the position. But because the Remington’s case was handled by military authorities, it may not have appeared on a criminal background check.

The Blade this week requested Nutter’s discharge records from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and was told that the request would take “several days.”

When Moser was asked if he had viewed Nutter’s military discharge records prior to hiring him, he said he was “not at liberty to discuss anything involving an officer’s personal issues.”

Nutter did not return calls seeking comment.


The Blade reported in early 1998 that Nutter, who was 21 at the time, was charged with conspiracy in aiding Ryan M. Barrett, the Marine who threw the tear gas grenade into Remington’s. Barrett pleaded guilty to conspiracy, assault and theft charges that year during a court martial proceeding at the Marine base in Quantico, Va.Barrett admitted that he threw a CS grenade — commonly known as a tear gas grenade, which is often used to control crowds during outdoor riots and other disturbances — into the gay bar.

The CS grenade was thrown into Remington’s at 2:15 a.m., on Saturday, July 12, 1997; about 70 patrons were inside at the time. No serious injuries were reported, but shortly after the attack, Remington’s owner Steven Smith told the Blade that many customers and employees had suffered stinging in their eyes and throats.

Authorities charged the Marines with conspiracy to commit assault, assault, wrongful disposition of property (the tear gas grenade), breach of peace, and underage drinking.

Five months after the incident, a judge in a military court martial sentenced Barrett to four months confinement in a brig, lowered his military status to private and issued a bad conduct discharge.

Nutter was demoted to private; the lowest military rank, and was one of five Marines sentenced to a 35-70 day confinement in the brig.

Nutter was given a bad conduct discharge for his involvement in the incident.


After the sentencing of the other four Marines in ‘98, the Marine Corps prosecutor of that case, Maj. Joseph Bowe, told the Blade that the bad conduct discharges, and the fact that these men had been convicted of crimes listed as federal offenses will remain on the records of the four for the rest of their lives.

It could not be confirmed by Blade deadline if Nutter had been convicted of any crimes listed as federal offenses, but he did receive a bad conduct discharge from the military in February of 1998.

For those that are unaware, a bad conduct discharge is just one level about a dishonorable discharge. And while I don’t see where The Washington Blade did any follow-up regarding whether Nutter was actually convicted of any crime for the whole accident, what I did find out online regarding a bad conduct discharge says that it can only be given to a someone as the result of a court martial which leaves me to believe that Nutter was convicted of something.

And while Homer Johnson bears the responsibility for hiring Nutter, it was Lippa that retained Nutter as investigator even after his office learned the full details of Nutter’s separation from the military.

And to make matters even worst, Nutter was just promoted to sergeant where he “will serve as the first line supervisor for the Investigative Division” according to Portsia Smith’s “Caroline Crossroads” blog at

I guess everyone deserves a second chance, except for that monster Ben Boyd of course. </snark>

Tip: If you don’t want to be facing a two-count felony indictment, you better not apply for a job that a relative of Sheriff Tony Lippa has also applied for.

I previously coyly mentioned a rumor that’s been going around as to why Sheriff Tony Lippa has declared a vendetta against Caroline County High School football coach Ben Boyd. I also stated that I wasn’t going to repeat the rumor at that time because it hadn’t been confirmed by anyone yet. Well, this portion of a letter from former Caroline County High School principal Jeff Wick, which appeared in this week’s edition of The Caroline Progress, is enough for me:

Is it a coincidence that the sheriff’s son-in-law [Robbie Jenkins] also interviewed for this job and did not get it? That is for the public to decide. In the end, this miscarriage of justice and harassment of a law-abiding citizen who paid the consequences for a disclosed incident that occurred 19 years ago is ludicrous and needs to end.

Well said.

It’s pretty interesting that The Caroline Progress actually published the letter with that particular section intact since they’re supposed to be such a pro-Lippa publication. If Lippa’s lost The Caroline Progress, he’s lost Caroline County I would say.