Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Omaha World-Herald: Skilled and experienced Omaha police investigators know how to separate fact from fiction... except when they don't

Last Friday, in an editorial sharply critical of the Omaha Public Schools, the Omaha World-Herald read OPS the riot act for apparently not immediately notifying law enforcement authorities following a first report of a possible sexual assault on a child by a teacher, as required by state law.

While AKSARBENT rarely jumps to the defense of the shark-like bureaucrats at OPS, we had to laugh at the following World-Herald assertions:
...Perhaps there is a city or town somewhere with a Police Department that cannot be trusted to handle sensitive cases or to adequately investigate serious accusations. Perhaps there are places where unfounded accusations are often mishandled and the reputations of innocent people harmed. That is not the case in Omaha.

The Omaha Police Department has skilled and experienced investigators who know how to tackle a case and separate fact from fiction. They are led by senior officers who are professionals with a history of integrity, discreetness and sound judgment.
Really? Try telling that to Ed Brodnicki, who was falsely accused of attempting to kidnap an Omaha girl in 1992. He went $30,000 into debt and faced a prison term before his 9-year-old accuser recanted her lie. He claimed the cops wouldn't take seriously the polygraph test he had his own, hired investigators administer and that the police never administered one of their own to him. He also had issues with the fact that the cops drove the girl over to his house to identify him (!) instead of having her pick him out of a lineup.

AKSARBENT finds the World-Herald's heroic idealization of Omaha police procedures and personnel rather less persuasive than its editorial writers might wish.

In its own reporting of the case the World-Herald published this quote from Brodnicki:
"There was a certain point where the legal machinery made up its mind that I was guilty," Brodnicki said. "There was very little I could do or say to clean it this up... The dropped charges and financial settlement provided some relief. But prosecutors and police never apologized..."

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