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Gerard and Sheila Dugué, both former NOPD employess

 

 

The Dugué Defense: Part 10

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by Firpo Carr

Online Sentinel International -- The Firpo Files

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The Tenth Plague: The Way of Dugué

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February 12, 2012, Los Angeles, California--The unwarranted sham trial of retired Sgt. Gerard Dugué of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officially got underway on Monday, January 23, 2012, with the seating of six women and six men to serve as his jury, and ended in with a mistrial shortly after the prosecution rested on Friday, January 27, 2012. Despite the prosecution's effort to postpone the trial, the wise, honorable, justice-loving U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt would have none of it. Not only did he deny their requests, he predicted the trial to last no more than two weeks. Yours truly went on record as hinting that it wouldn't even last that long--and it didn't.

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This is the same judge who ripped into the prosecution, shooting down a number of their motions; and who lambasted FBI procedures during the investigation, telling one agent that he had to be "the worst note-taker in the history of the FBI."

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As this investigative journalist predicted in an interview with New Orleans radio host Hal Clark of WYLD long before the trial started, the government's farce against Dugué fizzled in the face of the prospect of overwhelming evidence establishing Dugué's innocence.

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In this installment--the tenth in a series defending Dugué that continues to rebuke the two-headed monster of the mainstream press and deluded prosecution--can be likened to the Tenth Plague visited upon the ancient Egyptians. There are several reasons for this. The first has to do with Deborah Brumfield.   

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The Brumfield Debacle: Working in collusion with the mainstream media federal prosecutors have attempted to poison the jury pool in their case against Dugué by bringing up past officer-involved shootings he investigated.

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Recognizing the debilitating desperation of a prosecution team led by Embattled Barbara "Bobbi" Bernstein, the keenly perceptive and most Honorable Judge Kurt Engelhardt (God bless his soul!) apparently denied prosecution motions to allow for the consideration of these other cases.   

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Whether they realize it or not, Judge Engelhardt did prosecutors a favor. Take the case Danny Brumfield, a 45-year-old African American male shot and killed by an NOPD officer just after Katrina. The case was later investigated by Dugué. Officers Ronald Mitchell, Jr., and Ray Jones, both African Americans themselves, were the ones involved. The December 9, 2011, issue of The Times-Picayune reports:

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"Mitchell and Jones were accused of lying about circumstances surrounding the shooting of Danny Brumfield, 45, a few nights after Katrina. The shooting occurred in the dark of night as thousands of people waited for rescue outside the convention center. Mitchell and Jones drove by the building, a scene of increasing desperation, in a marked [black and white] police car.

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"Brumfield tried to stop their car, although exactly why he did so is unclear. What was undisputed was that Mitchell shot Brumfield with his pistol-grip shotgun. Jurors heard two days of testimony about whether Mitchell and Jones lied about the circumstances of the shooting and what they did after the fatally wounded Brumfield fell to the ground.

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"The officers were not on trial for their actions that day, a point repeatedly underscored by both prosecutors and defense attorneys. They were accused instead of obstruction of justice and perjury for allegedly lying during civil depositions taken years after the September 2005 incident. The depositions were part of a federal lawsuit filed by Brumfield's widow, who eventually settled the case for $400,000." Brumfield's widow is the subject of detailed discussion below.

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According to a December 3, 2011, Associated Press article, in a wildly frantic effort to indict Dugué in the case of Brumfield, federal prosecutors said in a court filing that "Detective DeCynda Barnes and her supervisor, retired Sgt. Gerard Dugué, conducted a ‘slipshod' and ‘half-hearted' investigation of Brumfield's shooting. Barnes didn't interview any civilian witnesses or review the autopsy report, so she didn't realize Brumfield was shot in the back, prosecutors wrote.

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"The New Orleans district attorney's office sent Barnes a list of follow-up questions and asked for Mitchell to be re-interviewed. Barnes apparently refused, claiming all their questions already were answered in the police report, prosecutors said."  

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So the powerful New Orleans district attorney's office--the very office that prosecutes cops and criminals, saints and sinners alike--requests lowly Detective Barnes to re-interview Mitchell, and Barnes "apparently refused," stating that she questioned Mitchell sufficiently.

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Well, did either Barnes or Dugué receive disciplinary action in connection with the Brumfield investigation? More importantly, will they be charged with wrongdoing in the Brumfield case? WWLTV succinctly answers: "Neither Barnes nor Dugué is charged with wrongdoing in this case," and neither did either receive disciplinary action.  

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Now comes the fun part.

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Brumfield Background: Danny Brumfield and his wife Deborah were family friends of the Dugué family! The now widowed Deborah was practically a Dugué family member! If anything, Sgt. Gerard Dugué would have paid extra attention and been especially careful in his investigation of the Brumfield case. Dugué conducting a "slipshod" and "half-hearted" investigation, as the feds accused, were nowhere near being part of the investigatory equation.

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"While growing up in the Desire Projects, the Dugués and Augustines were good friends," writes Virgil, Gerard Dugué's younger brother. "Both had large families. They lived right across the street from us. Debbie Augustine (now Deborah Brumfield) was most precious in the eyes of my mother. Mom ‘adopted' Debbie right into the family. Debbie was like a big sister to the two youngest Dugués, Josie and Libby. Libby fondly remembers Debbie frequently braiding her and Josie's hair."

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As if chiming in on cue, Libby fondly reflects: "Debra Brumfield has played a significant role in my life. When I was a little girl, she spent countless hours babysitting my sister Josie and me while my parents worked or participated in church, school, and community functions.  She would often braid our hair and, in fact, taught us to braid.  ‘Nice' is such a simple word, but as a child it was the most profound description I could give of her. 

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"Debbie, as we fondly referred to her, was also a Godsend to my Mother. There weren't many people my mother trusted to come into our home, let alone care for her children. However, Debbie and my mother forged a bond that was very rare. It was a bond akin to mother-daughter-friend. Throughout Debbie's life my mother would follow her progress, and if ever Debbie had a need my mother would make certain it was met.

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"Not only did Debbie hold a special place in the hearts of my mother and me, but she also tugged the heart strings of my entire family.  My father and brothers adored her, and my oldest sister held her in the greatest respect. Being boys, my brothers more than adored her; they also taunted and teased her unmercifully, like another sister. 

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"Now that I've become an adult, after considering the superlatives ‘caring,' ‘smart,' ‘grounded,' ‘wholesome,' ‘sweet,' and ‘beautiful,' ‘nice' is still the first word that comes to mind whenever I think of Debbie."   

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Deborah at Mother Dugué's Funeral: Given her closeness to the Dugué family it is no surprise that Deborah Brumfield played a pivotal at the funeral of Mother Dugué. "When our mother died in November 2000," writes Virgil, "Debbie had a share (speaking) at her funeral service. I'll never forget it. In fact, I'm looking at the obituary now." This investigator has obtained a copy of said obituary. And, sure enough, Debbie Brumfield is listed fifth in the "Order of Service, Mass of Christian Burial," after Rev. Jerome LeDoux and before Jessica Steib. Debbie's part is entitled, "Prayer of the Faithful." Mrs. Dugué passed on November 4, 2000, and was buried a week later on November 11, 2000. God rest her soul.

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So while Debbie was playing daughter to Mrs. Dugué and big sister to Dugué sisters Josie and Libby, the boy that was to grow into Sgt. Gerard Dugué of the NOPD, and the brothers that were to become federal court Judges Dennis Bagnaris and Michael Bagnaris were busy planning an assault on the forces of evil on earth and in the universe. (See article "Gerard the Good" at http://firpocarr.com/katrina.html.)

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Dugués on Danny's Death: "When Deborah Brumfield's husband Danny was killed by a police officer during Katrina Gerard was devastated to know that his 'little sister's' husband had been killed. Our family shed many tears as we listened to Debbie on the CNN Shoot to Kill special report," laments a Dugué family member.

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"She did not know Gerard had been indicted (didn't realize it was his picture on the CNN special).  Her son, Danny (named after his father), was taught in school by my sister (Josie) one year." Misguided, errant federal prosecutors are clueless as to the history and closeness of the Brumfields and Dugués.

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Dugué's Prosecution Part of Pattern?: On August 3, 2011, the present journalist/commentator received the following email. It is unaltered, and speaks volumes:

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"Hi Mr. Carr, As the daughter of an acquitted NOPD officer, I want you to know it is definitely true: innocent men get indicted by the federal government and sometimes they are convicted. What happened with my dad's case was scary, as I'm sure you're witnessing firsthand with Mr. Dugué's case, too.

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"My father as well as many other officers believe [sic] that Sgt. Dugué was indicted to prevent him from being able to [testify] at the other trials of NOPD officers. Mr. Dugué had a reputation for being an upstanding, no nonsense detective who looked only for the truth, no matter what it was. The prosecution even brought up a case from 2002 with one of the other officers on trial in the Danziger case, a case that Mr. Dugué handed over to the D.A.'s office for PROSECUTION, so obviously he wasn't covering anything up!

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"One of the officers who was actually found guilty in the Glover trial was granted a new trial, with the guilty verdict being vacated by the judge! The prosecutors are appealing his decision, but if you know anything about federal cases, judges don't vacate verdicts without truly just reasons for doing so. My point is, this was an innocent man who was found guilty. It does happen, which is why I am so scared for Mr. Dugué right now. I have a copy of the vacated verdict you can see, if you would like. PLEASE let me know.

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"And most importantly, PLEASE let Mr. Dugué know that there are a lot of people out there that believe in him and have him & his family in their thoughts and prayers, especially me. Thanks for all you're doing!

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Sincerely, XXX."

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Prosecuting the Prosecution!: In the case of retired NOPD Sgt. Gerard Dugué Embattled Barbara "Bobbi" Bernstein may well have crossed the Rubicon as her prosecutorial effort smacks of malicious prosecution. Plainly stated, Dugué may well be in a position to prosecute her for prosecutorial abuse!

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Vexatious Litigation: One source defines "vexatious litigation" as "filing a lawsuit with the knowledge that it has no legal basis, with its purpose to bother, annoy, embarrass and cause legal expenses to the defendant. Vexatious litigation includes continuing a lawsuit after discovery of the facts shows it has absolutely no merit. Upon judgment for the defendant, he/she has the right to file a suit for ‘malicious prosecution' against the original vexatious plaintiff. Moreover, most states allow a judge to penalize a plaintiff and his/her attorney for filing or continuing a ‘frivolous' legal action with sanctions (money award to the defendant for the trouble and/or attorney fees). ... An action for malicious prosecution is appropriate only when the judicial system has been misused." But can a government entity be guilty of judicial abuse?

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Government Abuse: Here's what another source reveals about judicial abuse: "Another difficulty for the plaintiff in an action for malicious prosecution is immunity. Generally, the law protects witnesses, police officers, judges, prosecutors, and lawyers from suit for malicious prosecution. Witnesses are given immunity because justice requires that they testify without fear of reprisals. Law enforcement and judicial officers are given immunity because they must be free to perform their duties without continually defending against malicious prosecution cases.

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"There are exceptions, however. If a law enforcement or judicial official ventures outside the bounds of official duties to instigate or continue a malicious prosecution, the official may be vulnerable to a malicious prosecution suit. For example, a prosecutor who solicits fabricated testimony to present to a grand jury may be sued for malicious prosecution. The prosecutor would receive only limited immunity in this instance because the solicitation of evidence is an administrative function, not a prosecutorial function (Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 113 S. Ct. 2606, 125 L. Ed. 2d 209 [1993])."

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U.S. Justice Department v. Black Lawmen: Despite the election of America's first Black president, and despite the appointment of America's first Black attorney general, the Justice Department still discriminates against African American agents and officers.

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To further demonstrate how pervasive racism and discrimination are within the law-enforcement community, African American agents in the most prestigious federal law-enforcement bodies have filed lawsuits against the very governmental agencies they represent. Not surprisingly, racism and discrimination transcend the boudaries of city, county, and state agencies.

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FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation): A May 1, 2001, Los Angeles Times article entitled, "FBI Settles Black Agents' Discrimination Suit," chronicles a history of racism and discrimination within the Bureau. (Incidentally, the same article reported that in 1988, "hundreds of Latino FBI agents won a discrimination suit against the bureau after alleging that they were routinely given demeaning assignments on the ‘Taco Circuit.'")

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ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms): The ATF agreed to a $4.6 million settlement in a suit brought against it by Black agents in 1996. And an Associated Press article appearing in the Los Angeles Times (May 25, 2001) entitled, "More Blacks Join Secret Service Suit," reported that "More black agents joined a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Secret Service...adding new claims that they frequently endure racial slurs." According to the article the suit also claimed that "blacks are subjected to discrimination in promotions, performance evaluations, assignments, training and transfers."

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DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration): In 1982, in a class action of African American Special Agents against the U.S. Attorney General in the United States District Court (District of Columbia), the Honorable Judge Aubrey Robinson ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had discriminated against the Plaintiffs on the basis of their race: African American.

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CIA (Central Intelligence Agency): A Los Angeles Times article entitled, "Black Ex-Agent Sues Over Alleged CIA Bias" (from Times Wire Reports, March 3 2002), also speaks volumes regarding racial discrimination against Blacks within the Agency. See also, "Black ExCIA Officer Files Lawsuit," Associated Press March 2 2002).

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Former CIA case officer Jeffrey Sterling sued the agency in 2002 because he says "his supervisors discriminated against him." Sterling is a Black man. He contended that "white agency officials blocked key assignments that would have allowed him to advance in the CIA." See also the book (and movie), The Spook Who Sat By the Door (1969), which strongly illustrates that racial discrimination was (and apparently still is) ingrained within the Agency.

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SS (Secret Service): In 2000, 10 African-American Secret Service agents filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department, which had oversight of the service before that authority was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

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According to court documents, the plaintiffs assert that with respect to black special agents the Secret Service has "engaged in a pattern and practice" of racial discrimination.

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If the government treats its own Black law-enforcement agents this way, what makes you think they care about African American police officers across the country?

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Striking Back at the Empire!: A growing number of concerned Americans believe that it's time for a massive class-action suit against the U.S. Justice Department. There is now a hue and cry for the following organization to stand and be counted in the case of retired NOPD Sgt. Gerard Dugué: The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the National Association of Black Law Enforcement officers, the Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE), the National Organization of Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Amnesty International (AI), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

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The Way of Dugué: Honesty at Its Best: "Before Katrina struck several of us siblings tried to persuade Gerard to retire," bemoans Wayne, another of Dugué's younger brothers. "However, Gerard loved his job. He was totally dedicated to assisting the people of New Orleans. He always spoke with disgust regarding any corruption uncovered in the police department.

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"I remember telephoning Gerard shortly after Katrina struck," relates Virgil. "He was stationed at the Superdome at the time. He related to me an incident that had just occurred. He had witnessed a National Guardsman treating an older lady very unkindly as she was boarding an evacuation bus. Gerard intervened, put his arms around the lady, and said, 'It'll be okay, Sugar. You're going to be alright.'  Even this 'small' example of 'injustice' by a law-enforcer disturbed Gerard.  Gerard has always been exemplary in showing consideration for others' feelings."

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When it comes to the great number of innocent Black men being accused, arrested, indicted, imprisoned, or executed, Uncle Sam should be ashamed of himself. What law-abiding African Americans are saying to the government is this: "You already executed Troy Davis. With your insatiable bloodlust running amuck, and having been granted a new trial, you now have Gerard Dugué in your crosshairs--again. But this time he'll have more allies than ever before."

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Brace yourself Bobbi Bernstein.

 

 

 

 

Click here for Sgt. Gerard Dugué's background