Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How the Ruling and the Scotland Yard Review have Nothing to Do with Madeleine

A lot of people believe that when a homicide occurs, that law enforcement and the judiciary system have a remit to pursue justice for of the victim, to do everything possible to avenge the loss of life on behalf of a person who cannot do so for himself as he is no longer on earth. I am not sure what fanciful words are used in the UK and Portugal, but when a crime occurs in the US, any effort made by police or prosecutor is done so in "the interest of the state." What exactly does that mean? Most believe that since the state represents the citizens, it must mean "in the interest of the citizens" - in the case of a homicide -  for the victim, who was a citizen, for the family who are the living victims, and the community who has a dangerous perpetrator still in their midst who may well strike again.

In reality, what this remit means is, a crime is pursued in accordance with how important it is to those in power. This does not mean that there are not detectives and prosecutors out there who are working passionately to get justice for the family and get killers off the streets; there certainly are. But, in the end, what it may come down to is how important it is to those who run the state, not the people of the state.

The more important the citizen, the more effort put into the case. The more media received, the more attention the case receives. If the truth about the crime, the criminal, or the handling of the case is damaging to the state, there may be some sort of cover-up, small or large. If it benefits the state to put someone away and close the case regardless of his guilt, so be it. If it serves the state to fudge evidence or lie, it may well be done. Why? Because there a people called politicians out there and they have the power to have things their way.

I have long tried to help people pursuing justice for Madeleine to understand that this whole case is far bigger than one little girl. It stopped being about Madeleine on May 3 because, after that, it became about the parents, the friends, the UK, Portugal, police, politicians, media, egos, careers and international political issues.

Ever since there was UK interference on a high level, it was clear this case had gone south and that there were interests to the state that had nothing to do with supporting the Portuguese police investigation. When the McCanns returned home to England and the Portuguese shelved the case, this was the second nail in the coffin of justice; it was clear the Portuguese state had some interest to protect far beyond justice for a small child. When Scotland Yard was given the green light to do the review, there were only two possible reasons; the McCanns were innocent or the McCanns and Company (whoever they are) were confident that Scotland Yard had a remit to only address an abduction theory and that it was ironclad. This Scotland Yard remit was evidence that there were some interests to the state that were quite major because it was an unprecedented move to have a UK police force intervene in a case in another country that they had not been invited to participate in and to start the case by limiting, from the start, the scope of the review.

Next, we see a police force spend an insane amount of money and time and manpower on one case, a case that is unlikely to see any results if the parents were not involved, because it is a fact that, if it were not the parents' crime, then Madeleine was dead by May 4 at the hands of a pedophile and her body tossed or buried years ago; hence, Scotland Yard was not rushing in to save a life. And Scotland Yard certainly showed no urgency because they took years mulling over the files and doing god-knows-what instead of getting straight to work analyzing the crime scene and suspects and getting the job done. I have never seen a more bizarre state of affairs than watching this crack team of more than three dozen detectives use more money than than the entire annual budget for criminal investigation for some small countries in the world and come up with absolutely nothing credible in a "simple case of child abduction." Friends, this is politics, not proper police work.

And now we have the ruling. Some are already trying to see a silver lining in this catastrophic legal loss of Gonçalo Amaral; the judge disallowed certain points, the McCanns only got a partial payment, Gonçalo still has an appeal. Make no mistake, if the coffin hadn't been nailed shut with the Scotland Yard investigation, this is solid evidence that there is collusion between the Portuguese and British governments, that there was pressure on the judge to rule in favor of the McCanns and against freedom of speech in Portugal. And, in doing so, this readies the ground for the lowering of the coffin into the ground, for Scotland Yard to follow suit and declare the McCanns innocent of any wrongdoing (other than mistakenly thinking their children were safe alone in the vacation flat), to close the case with "we tried our best to cooperate with the Portuguese but we sadly can no longer spend millions on a case we cannot bring to prosecution; but we can assure the public that we know who the abductor is and he is no longer a threat to anyone as he is a) deceased or b) already in prison."

This devastating ruling pretty much puts angel wings on the backs of Kate and Gerry McCann and adorns Gonçalo Amaral with horns and a pitchfork, and gives the media yet more fodder for pro-McCannism. Since Scotland Yard has declared the McCanns are not being investigated, stated that Madeleine was abducted, and has spent years chasing one lowlife after the other and one pedophile/burglar theory after another, there is no way that Scotland Yard is suddenly going to do an about face and arrest Madeleine's parents, and if anyone thinks this is still going to happen, I have both swamp property and a London Bridge to sell you.

It hasn't been about Madeleine. It has been and is about the state. This is the way the world works. When there are no compromising issues like incompetence, misconduct or corruption, killers are caught, cases are properly closed, and the community is safer. When it goes awry for whatever reasons, the state and whoever controls it will make sure they don't go under because of one unfortunate situation.

A lot of people have not wanted to believe my take on this case. Personally, I would rather not believe my take on this case! It was my hope early on, even though I saw the signs of political interference, that there might still be some chance of the Portuguese police reopening and solving this case properly; that they would fight back against the UK pressure. When I wrote my profile on the case and, even when I went to Portugal, I still had some very faint glimmer of this case somehow turning around. But, when Scotland Yard started in with all the suspects and digging, I knew, for sure, it was a done deal.

What has been my interest in all of this? To promote good deductive criminal profiling and proper handling of missing persons and homicide cases. I would have been ecstatic to see Scotland Yard assist in the arrest the McCanns; my profile would have been validated, I would be vindicated, and, we could have a wonderful example of a police agency willing to return to the evidence and, in spite of the unpleasant prospect of have to charge parents of a missing child with a crime, follow the evidence to the proper conclusion. Happy day!

But, this was and is not to be. From years in the trenches, I can tell you that more often than the public has any clue, justice is not served and families and professionals and future victims are often collateral damage in the quest for political expedience. In fact, I have seen cold cases more often "closed" for damage control with lies and fall guys than with truth and justice which is why I refuse to work them any more. When cases go on too long, there is often a good reason; they are broke and can't be fixed. And because things are the way they are, because the world has many good people but is not always good, I choose to do what I can that is positive and might bring the best results for the future. I prefer to focus now on training detectives in deductive criminal profiling so that they can do better analysis of their cases and prevent errors that cause them to go cold. If one can help detectives do a better job, than there it less likely that egos and politics will need to take over a case and cause its demise.

The Madeleine McCann case is truly one of the most fascinating and bizarre cases I have ever run into and it will be a case that will be discussed for many a year. Perhaps, when a few decades pass, we may learn the truth; perhaps, we never will. My hope is that we will learn the right things from this case that help illuminate some grave problems within the system, but my fear is that the politicians and the media have so obscured the truth that the general public will never get a proper understanding. Again, sadly, this is the way the world often works; history is written by the conqueror, and folks, we are not the winners here.


Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 29, 2015

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown

Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Final Word on the True Damage of Ad Hominem Attacks in the Madeleine McCann Case

I want to write a final statement on the subject of ad hominem attacks in the Madeleine McCann case and hope it has some effect on what I see happening across the net. Although I did write a "final post" on the case way back and stopped providing a running commentary, I have come back a number of times to make specific comments on very troubling issues. This is one of the concerning issues and applies not only to the Madeleine McCann case but the problem of ad hominem attacks in general. Whatever issue the ad hominem attacks occur within they cause nothing but destruction which often is the entire point of those dishing them out. Ad hominem attacks destroy civil conversation and often shut down any unwanted viewpoint. There is a great difference between debating a topic and attacking the debater. One furthers analysis and the other shuts it down. And that is what is happening in the McCann case.

 I am not the only one being verbally attacked; there are others who have suffered really vicious slurs, some have dealt with far worse than I. Sadly, some of those who have been attacked are attacking others themselves; hence, the antis are factionalizing while the pros are pretty much just one group. We have lost the point of what we set out to do which was bring attention to the miscarriage of justice, open the public's eyes to the police files that contain evidence that should allow the public to question the McCann's innocence, to bring attention to the fraudulent fund, and to support Gonçalo Amaral in his fight to present the case to the public.

I think everyone was one pretty much the same page until Scotland Yard stepped in. In doing so, the Yard gave legitimacy to the McCanns and the pros' standpoint. Scotland Yard's search for an abductor pretty much labeled the antis as nutters. Now, at that point, we all had two choices: convince ourselves that Scotland Yard really was on our side and it is just a matter of time before they bring down the McCanns and we all are vindicated or accept that no such thing is going to happen and we are all pretty much just going to have to live with never seeing justice and being labeled conspiracy theorists and idiots.

I chose the latter because that is reality to me. It is sad and frustrating and certainly not ego-enhancing but it is the way things work. My hope is simply that enough people will eventually recognize that Scotland Yard had a remit that was political in nature and, in the future, we need to work to separate justice from political manipulation. I want to highlight that the McCann case was a gross perversion of how missing children's cases should be handled and publicized, how private funds  in such cases should be questioned and vetted before money simply handed over to be abused. I want the case to be understood because I believe that early proper analysis can prevent homicides and missing persons' cases from going unsolved and unprosecuted.

Others choose to believe the former, that Scotland Yard will come through. And, some, I believe, have gone further and further into complicated scenarios because they doubt that this is really going to happen and the more complicated the crime and the deeper the corruption, the easier it is to eventually live with the closing of this case as an abduction. I believe that when this happens, we will see years and years of continued obsession with these complex theories because many will need to keep doing so in order to counter the claim that the antis were dead wrong in their assessment of the McCanns. And I am not saying people don't have a right to delve into what ever they want, a speculate in any way they wish, I am not calling these people names and libeling them with all sorts of false claims; I am just pointing out that as a profiler I have seen excessive spinning of theories whenever a case doesn't see justice and, such theories rarely benefit the understanding of the case and the lack of justice served.

Nothing sucks like having the world label you as a moron or lunatic for spending years fighting for something that wasn't even true. I know because I have had that label put on me and there is no way to fight back because the truth is buried and likely will remain so. Watch the Jack Nickolson movie, The Pledge for a great example of this. I saw that movie years ago and I remember telling people that when I fight for justice in certain cases, if I don't win, this is exactly what will happen to me. And it has. And it isn't pleasant.

I don't believe that all that has been done in the McCann case has been for nothing even if the legal state of the case goes south. I believe it is always important that people speak out and question. And, when Scotland Yard shuts this case down, I do appreciate that the work of many people (even my detractors) will remain in public view.

The only thing I wish people would understand is that if we tear each other to shreds, the legacy left won't be a very good one and this can destroy all the good work done until now. Everyone who is now attacking me for my stance on Scotland Yard and my theory of the crime occurring on May 3rd is essentially is telling the public who reads of the case in the future that they can discount everything I said. Because there are attacks on Amaral, we can also discount everything he said. Because there are attacks on Joana Morais, we can discount everything she said. Because there are attacks on Tony Bennett, we can discount everything he said, because there are attacks on Sonia Poulton, we can discount everything she said, because there are attacks on Hideho, we can discount everything she said, and on and on.

Who will then be left to consider credible? I guess no one but the pros.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 25, 2015
Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown

Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Scotland Yard Review and Ad Hominem Attacks in the Madeleine McCann Case

I just wrote a set of responses to comments on my last post and I thought I should copy and paste them in a new post because I think they are important enough to restate in a place where more might see them. The comments I received where on my belief that the Scotland Yard review of the Madeleine McCann case is a whitewash and the recent ad hominem attacks on me that been quite vicious, mostly attacking my professionalism or the fact I am getting my information secondhand from the Internet (which is pretty much true for everyone commenting on this case except that I have been to Praia da Luz and investigated on the ground and I have met withGonçalo  Amaral). Here are my responses below:

I did not have faith in the Scotland Yard review from Day One. Why? Because they were not invited in by the Portuguese police nor were they looking for an abductor where the local police search for an abductor had failed. These are the only two reasons a foreign police entity normally involves themselves in a case. So what was Scotland Yard doing there? Only two possibilities: they are truly searching for an abductor in which case the antis including myself are completely off the mark or they are there to "find" an abductor which would put this is under a political corruption label. Since I do believe evidence points to the McCanns involvement and no abduction, this forces me into the second camp. I still have no clue as to why Scotland Yard would be brought in to cleanse the McCann name, but I can see no other reason for this bizarre investigation.

The second reason I have no faith in the Scotland Yard investigation is how inappropriately it has been handled. I have seen reviews before and they don't require this much time and money. Even if the detectives of Scotland Yard, including Andy Redwood, were sent in with the remit that the McCanns were off limits and the Yard was to focus on the abduction theory, it is hard to believe they would spend so many years and millions on the review without at some point, realizing that no evidence of an abduction occurred and the Tapas 9 behaviors and statements along with the cadaver and blood dog hits just might be where they should be looking. Since so much time has passed and so many abductors looked at, so much ground has been dug up that clearly was linked to the abduction theory, one can only surmise, at least I can, that the remit stands regardless of what anyone thinks. Who knows? Maybe Andy Redwood was only trying to do the job he was required to do and, maybe, he knows that it is hogwash and has tried to leave a few hints to the truth along the way. Maybe this was what getting rid of Tannerman and focusing on Smithman was about. However, since Tannerman must have been fabricated, this certainly can't be any kind of clever ruse to use against the McCanns because in court, the defense would shred the police for misconduct. The prosecution in this case had been dead in the water prior to the arrival of Scotland Yard and they have only made matters worse, if something can be deader than dead. ONLY if they find REAL evidence of someone having abducted Maddie (like her body being found buried under someone's cement porch or enclosed in the brick wall of their home) or Maddie's body being found in such a place and with such evidence to link to the McCanns, is a prosecution in Portugal going to happen.
As to the other cases of similarity, I can tell you along with those you have named, there are many more, cases of parents with children who have gone missing but no bodies. And, all most all of those have gone unsolved. JonBenet was unique because the body was still there but what happened in that cases was a horrible early investigation which compromised the evidence and the integrity of the department, leaving the case as a bunch of rubble.
So, the McCann case is really not alone in going unsolved. What really made it become so big was McCanns own use of publicity and the fund which is unprecedented in missing children's cases. Outside of the McCanns wanting money and fame, their attempts to "locate their child" or "clear their name" have failed dismally.

As to the public view of this case and the guilt of the McCanns, they matter little in the eyes of people who control things unless they are a real threat. Outrage is only so good if it has some kind of true power. The outrage against the McCanns is pretty much just on the Internet and in comments. This is not real power. When people take to the street in droves, then you have something, but even with the horrible waste of taxpayer money by Scotland Yard on a case that isn't even British or likely prosecutable, where is the real protest? There isn't one and that is why when Scotland Yard closes this case down with some dead creepy guy or a "we tried our best" the whole case will go quietly away except on the Internet where people who have websites and FB pages and tweet will believe still that the whole world is watching and not just some very tiny segment of it. That Sonia can make a difference with her documentary is questionable, although I appreciate her doing it. Unless she is really on a major MSM channel (which I find unlikely), I think her documentary will be much like Hall's; very useful to posterity but not so much still enough to turn public protest around and expose enough of the corruption to turn this case around.

As far as the ad hominem attacks on me for not buying into certain theories, my frustration is mostly at seeing things devolve from a clear focus on this case of the McCanns' involvement in the death of their daughter and a subsequent hurried coverup and support of Gonçalo Amaral and his fight for justice, to a dozen very convoluted theories that I believe only serve to damage the antis message that the McCanns are not innocent and the fund has been stealing money for years from unsuspecting people. In becoming so obsessed with creating alternative scenarios to the one Amaral had forwarded, the label of nutters and conspiracy theorists is going to cause the message to be killed. While I take issue with many of these theories, I have never made a personal attack on other antis because I don't want others to think ill of them and, quite frankly, I don't think ill of them for thinking differently than me, so I see no reason to not still be friendly and polite. I don't want to cause the antis to disband into camps that attack each other (which is what I am seeing happening) and give fodder for the pros to abuse us.

I feel bad for all because I know they mean well, but, sadly, along with what I believe will be closing of this case by Scotland Yard without any prosecution of the McCanns, the message going into the future which should be one of simple concern of mishandling of missing children's cases, abuse of the media, misappropriation of public monies, and political protection will be lost in all the ad hominem attacks and complicated, bizarre theories. The gleeful personal attacks on me add to this destruction because I am one of the few professional voices on this case and if the antis call me incompetent, then that is one less professional voice. Recently, some have even trashed Gonçalo Amaral which pretty much is just knocking the legs from under us all. I wish people would understand that you don't have to agree with everything someone says in order to appreciate their efforts and be civil.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 24, 2015

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown

Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Madeleine McCann Case and Occam's Razor

This post isn't really a commentary on the Madeleine McCann case but this case does so well represent Occam's Razor in crime analysis that I feel a need to use it as an example. In my blog yesterday, "It Just Doesn't Work that Way in Real Life,"  I discussed how shows like Death in Paradise have very complicated scenarios of how a murder was committed, the perpetrator being practically a genius of planning and misdirection. I pointed out how rarely is this the case in real life; almost always, homicides are usually acts of desperation born of loss of power and control. Crimes of passion (quite mislabeled as passion being the motive), also known as "out-of-character" crimes (which is also a mislabel as the crime is quite within the character of the person committing it) are relatively impulsive, so planning is quite minimal. Serial killers are mostly of the anger-retaliatory type and rarely plan the crime much in advance; usually they are opportunistic and strike when they have a victim that wanders into their territory alone or, while doing their usually trolling of an area, finally get lucky when a target appears with no witnesses in the area. The reason they get away with their crimes is simply the fact that most of the time there are no witnesses and they are strangers to the victim and there is no obvious link for the police to follow. As long as they don't leave DNA that can be matched to a DNA bank, they have a good shot of getting away with their homicides.

Much rarer is someone who plans a homicide: a black widow poisoning her husbands, a man getting rid of his wife so he can have his freedom, a boyfriend eliminating a pregnant girlfriend. Usually the crime is not all that clever, it is just often hard to prove in a court of law that the killer is guilty. Much of the time, the body is well-hidden so that the "no-body, no proof of a crime" rule applies. At other times, the crime is staged as a stranger homicide and it works but not because it is so intricately planned. It simply works because evidence is limited to prove otherwise.

Killers are generally of normal intelligence who commit their crimes without great forethought and they also tend to cover their tracks in a hurried manner. Murderers don't think to the depth of perpetrators on television or in the movies; they just rush to take care of the problem and, in doing so, act in a manner that many others in their shoes have acted before. In real life, crimes are often committed and covered up in similar ways, the way humans act when under pressure and with the limited knowledge most have at the time of the crime and while under stress.

I am repeatedly encouraged in the McCann case to do further research on a number of issues that some believe proves Madeleine McCann died earlier in the week and that on May 3rd, the McCanns and their friends had a preplanned course of action to stage an abduction. They believe there is lots of evidence proving that Madeleine was dead for days by then: incorrect creche records, a manipulated photo, no sightings of Madeleine, odd behaviors, and no neglect of the children. I am not going to argue all of this: I am going to point out Occam's Razor and why have always thought that May 3rd was the key to what happened to Madeleine and when.

If something had happened to Madeleine days before, we simply would have seen her "abduction" staged earlier in the week. In real life, planning to stage an abduction for days and having to manipulate evidence of Madeleine being alive for days when she was not, is simply too bloody difficult to manage. Then, on May 3rd, after all that planning, the whole evening was an ungodly mess full of inconsistencies and errors, which would be odd for a so carefully premeditated scenario.

If the McCanns are guilty, what May 3rd represents is a disaster, as Gerry pointed out, and a quick attempt to over up that disaster. The simplest answer, Occam's Razor, is that May 3rd was a confusion because very little was planned and when it was (interviews with the police), it was still a confused mess because there was little time to think anything through and everyone's brains were a muddle.

The key to this crime is very simple: the Smith sighting. The Smith sighting has always been my Number One reason for doubting the McCanns' innocence in the disappearance of Madeleine. The most consistent behavior of parents of missing children is to want EVERY lead followed, even ridiculous ones. On the evening of May 3rd, the Smith family saw a child who could have been Madeleine being carried off towards the sea, yet the McCanns expressed little interest in this sighting and even tried to suppress it. If the McCanns were innocent and Gerry was not Smithman, and even if they thought Jane was telling the truth, that Tannerman existed and might have been the kidnapper,  it is hard to believe they would not have been gung-ho to follow-up that Smith sighting in every way possible, the way they did with Tannerman.

Applying Occam's Razor, why would they ignore and suppress the Smith sighting? What is the simplest of explanations? Because it was Gerry and he was in the act of covering up a crime that had just occurred. The reason Gonçalo Amaral believed this to be so is because he is a real-world detective and knows that Occam's Razor applies in crime investigation and the fanciful stuff you see on television is concocted by writers who need to come up with a show that is exciting to the viewers.

Detectives and profilers often are driven nuts by family members and citizens who, when a case goes unsolved, start going bonkers with unlikely theories, full of very intricate plots. They figure, if no one has been arrested and convicted, it must be because the crime is so complicated and clever.

In real life, it is often so much simpler; the crime is straightforward but it is hard to prove in court.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 21, 2015

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown
Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It Just Doesn't Work that Way in Real Life

Because I am trying to relax before falling asleep, these days I am trying to stay off away from FB and Twitter and email just before bedtime. So I am either reading a book or watching a fairly mindless bit of TV. One of the shows I have been watching lately is Death in Paradise. I like the show because it is lighthearted, not gruesome, and it takes place on a pretty Caribbean island which, actually, is the most important point to me.....aaahhhhh....

I liked the show a lot better in the first two seasons because Ben Miller, the fellow playing the British detective was in it.....and although his replacement is not so bad, I also don't feel the chemistry is as strong between him and the other characters. However, the crime solving a la Agatha Christie is still the same.

And, actually, this is the part of the show I like least. Mind you, in a filmy way, the show is actually displaying deductive criminal profiling - the only profiling I approve of - a method that relies totally on physical and behavioral evidence to solve the crime. So, while I SHOULD like watching how the crime is figured out, I am rather peeved that I rarely can actually solve the crimes! Is it that the detective is that much more brilliant than me or is it simply a fact that crimes aren't committed the way they go down on the show? I say it is the latter! So, in essence, when I look at the crime scene and try to understand it, it simply does not compute....because you won't find anything like it in reality.

The most untrue thing about the show is the level of planning and sophistication the killer always seems to have. The killers tend to have airtight alibis until the detective proves that the killer was so clever that he masterminded a way to appear to have an alibi when he didn't. Even the most unlikely killers - like 70-year-old women - plan amazingly intricate methods of carrying out their crimes. Brilliant! But hardly representing the majority of crimes out there.

In one of the shows, a retired woman wanted to knock off her rival at an adult community on the island so she managed to steal her adversary's medicine, get the staff to prepare two of the same curried chicken dish (the curry for hiding the taste of the meds), go into the woman's room again and explain to her (before she had touched the dish) that she had the wrong dish (both were conveniently covered) and exchanged the poisoned curry dish for a supposed fish dish. Then, after the victim had consumed the poisoned curry and keeled over, the killer reentered the room (having stolen the key earlier off the table) and switched the unpoisoned curry dish for the the plate the victim had consumed the food off of (leaving a plate which, when tested for poison, had none). Then, the killer put the empty bottle of pills next to the dead woman's bedside so it would look like suicide.

But, wait! In order to make sure everyone REALLY thought it was suicide, our elder killer had make it appear that the room was locked from the inside! So what she did was put the bolt on the door and then pull the door hard in order to cause damage in the bolt area where it is attached to the door frame. Then, she went out and locked the door with the key.

Of course, everything works so smoothly for the most part in this kind of extravagant planning on the show. When the victim doesn't show up for a date that evening, her fiancé goes to her apartment, knocks on the door, and when he gets no answer, instead of contacting the manager to have the door opened, he breaks it down and so it appears that he broke that bolt when he accessed the apartment. Brilliant! Then the killer, who is conveniently with the fiancé, slips the key back onto a table.

In real life, the spurned woman would simply have had to get over her wish to be with the man or, if she were really a psycho, she might hit the lady with a rock or with a car but she certainly wouldn't have carried out such a complicated crime. Killers just don't act the way they do in this show and that is why the evidence presented in the series often doesn't even make sense.

Of course, in each episode we also have really fantastic clues like rare beetles or videos with hidden clues in them or unusual real life we get a dead guy that was shot with a .38 and no fingerprints.

Naturally, this IS television and fiction and it is just supposed to be a good story. But, as a profiler, I can't help being a wee bit frustrated that I can't solve the crime and it is only when the detective gets everyone together in the last minutes and explains how it all fits together, do I find out who did it.

I am sure I am not alone....there is some lawyer out there watching the show who is saying, "Aw, come on! You may have created a clever scenario and know who did it, but have you got any real proof? And if these killers were so clever to not leave any real proof, why the hell are they always confessing at the end?"

If only real life were like Death in Paradise....I could be solving a murder a week on some little island in the Caribbean. Only, if like Death in Paradise people keep getting murdered at such a high rate, I think there would be no one left on the island by the end of my first year of employment and I would be out of a job.

Yes, it is just a fun show but there is one downside that affects life badly. We have all heard of the CSI effect and how juries now expect there to be solid physical evidence at every scene, but we rarely talk about how we now experience overanalysis of every bit of information, bits that are, in fact, not necessarily proof of anything; detectives may do this and so may armchair detectives on the Internet. Theories can be created based on stuff that doesn't warrant such theories but because shows like this show how EVERY little thing means something and is connected to the homicide at hand, now we find people pulling puzzle pieces out of everywhere and trying to fit them into a puzzle they don't even belong in! A good portion of what is found at any scene has no connection to the crime, witness statements can be completely wrong, rumors about behaviors simply untrue, and making up theories to fit each piece of information into a crime analysis is unscientific and destructive. It is also a truism that the longer a case remains unsolved, the more people will "find" evidence and create even more elaborate theories for what happened.

Deductive criminal profiling is the scientific analysis of crime scene evidence. But, first, we better make sure that what we are looking at really IS evidence!

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 21, 2015

Harkening back to the writing styles and small town settings of earlier American authors – John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, and Carson McCullers - "Only the Truth" is a psychological mystery with as many twists as the country road leading to the humble home of Billy Ray Hutchins, a lonely uneducated man living in the hills of Arkansas. Life changes little for him from day to day until he brings home a young drifter he meets at the railroad tracks, the mysterious Charlene, whose last name he never asks. He becomes her Sweet Billy Ray and his love for Charlene is steady and uncomplicated until the sheriff shows up to take her away in handcuffs. With the only woman he has ever loved behind bars for the coldblooded murder of the old man across the road, a confused and devastated Billy Ray sets out on a quest to find the truth, only the truth, whether it leads him to be able to save his Charlene from a death sentence or it frees him from her spell. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Until Evidence Proves Otherwise, I just see a Cop and a Citizen

Following my CNN appearance discussing the Walter Scott case, I have been accused of racism, supporting racist cops, and acting as though black lives don't matter. I guess part of this reaction to my analysis of the case is a result of an underlying problem in our country; that racism still exists and affects the lives of many and also that many of our population see race first before thinking of any of the other issues that might be behind whatever behaviors they see. For example, Michael Slager's killing of Walter Scott is seen by many as a racist act, if not overtly, than a result of some deep-seated hidden racism, some dislike of African-Americans that came out at that moment. Some also see my discussion on CNN as an example of some racist mentality rather than a criminal profiler trying to point out the evidenciary and legal issues of the case.

I can't speak to Michael Slager's mindset (which is what has to been proven in court) because I don't know the guy. But I know myself, so I can speak to my own thinking. When I saw the video, I saw a cop shooting a citizen. The video was concerning which is certainly why Slager was arrested and charged. There was enough of a distance between him and Scott to question whether he pulled the trigger our of fear for his life. But, at the moment I saw the video, I did not say, "Oh my god, a white man has shot down a black man." Why? Because that white cop could have been my son-in-law a white man who has been a deputy for a local Sheriff's department.

"Aha!" you say, "See? you can identify that white cop with one of your family!" Yes, I can, but I can also identify that black citizen with one of my family because I also have an African-American son. For that matter, I can furthermore identify that cop with my daughter who is a police officer and is bi-racial.

I care about cops and citizens of all races becaue I have a family that represents both law enforcement and non-law enforcement, black and white, bi-racial, and multi-racial, American and non-American. In fact, I have relatives that represent law-abiding citizens (my children) and not-so-law-abiding citizens (a few in-laws - some of which I like and some not so much). I see individuals before I see race or employment or status or even criminality. What I look for is evidence that tells me what happened. And each crime stands alone until and unless there is proof of some connected set of crimes - a serial killer, organized crime, or a politically protected governmental organization. Certainly, in history - past and present - there has been police misconduct by individual officers and by law enforcement agencies - but we shouldn't claim immediately a single case is representative of systemic racism within a particular police department or the entire police system until there is evidence that this is so.

Sadly, the media has been all too willing to fan the flames of anger and discontent that exist within the population into a bonfire, ratcheting up certain issues in specific incidents without concern for whether those incidents are true examples of a particular problem  or not. Not every unfortunate incident is an example of racism or sexism or terrorism or corruption or whatever ism that can make a news story go from a local concern or an isolated one-off crime to a national disaster that must fill the airwaves 24/7 with self-righteous pundits and protests and angry tweets.

What we need in our country is to return media to be an unbiased reporting of news and in proportion to the actual severity of the event. We need to reestablish the ability for all of us to have an intelligent conversation without hositility and name-calling. If we cannot learn to be civil and save our venom for times when it is truly called for, we just become not a melting pot but a vile muck that has lost all of its fine flavor.

We need strong leadership in politics and in media and in the community, leadership that isn't about stirring up trouble but moderating the problems in our country and working together to find solutions in a cooperative and calm manner. I hope we see this kind of positive change in the very near future.

Crimial Profiler Pat Brown

April 16, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Walter Scott Shooting

I recently appeared on CNN to talk about the Walter Scott case and a lot of people are angry over what I said or what I was trying to say. The host of the show had her own agenda of what she wanted me to talk about and kept trying to cut me off, so I lacked the time to present a complete analysis. Some have called me a shill which, if anyone has followed me for any length of time, they know I always just say what I think and I do not speak on behalf of any "side" or organization. I don't have an agenda except for the truth and keeping things in perspective and not going on some campaign outside of the issue of crime scene analysis, to be objective and not subjective, to explain what is the issue facing prosecution and defense, and not to score brownie points with anyone.

Let me break down what happened with this appearance, what I was saying, and why I have been so misinterpreted by a number of people who are sending hate mail and making hate phone calls.

My job as a profiler is to analyze the known evidence and the totality of the known evidence. Prior to the show, I gave a pre-interview discussing what I was going to say, how I wanted to specifically point out that the whole issue comes down to was whether Michael Slager had a right to shoot Walter Scott, to pull the trigger, and how this is what was going to have to be decided in court. I was under the impression I was going to be on the show alone and not on a panel. I was never told we were going to be including another police incident on the show and that the show focus was not going to be on the Scott case but on police brutality and overuse of force.

When it came my turn to talk, I was asked a question by the host about the Slager's demeanor after the shooting. I chose not to talk about that in isolation because it is meaningless in isolation and, in reality, has little to do with his guilt or innocence. His guilt or innocence lies in exactly the point I kept trying to make on the show; was he justified in pulling the trigger or not. The only evidence that matters is what happened THAT day from the time Slager and Scott came in contact. EVEN if Slager had a history of overuse of force (which has not been proven in spite of the ex-policewoman said on the show; so far just one complaint in six years) and EVEN if he had danced a jig after he shot Scott down. EVEN if he planted evidence (which has not been clearly proven) after the fact because we don't know if that would have been done because there he knew there was NO justification for the shooting or because he was so in shock that he panicked and thought he needed to add justification because he was scared that he wouldn't be believed. Believe me, the last thing cops want is to have to shoot someone because that means suspension and investigation and possible loss of the career one worked so hard to get. In fact, most police officers never fire their service weapon in their entire years on the force. But, again, all of this is not the issue. All that matters is, when Slager pulled the trigger, did he have a reasonable belief that if he failed to do so, he would be killed in the next few moments or someone else would be killed in the next few moments. Slager has now to prove in court that the EVENTS LEADING UP TO HIS DECISION where such that he was justified in shooting Scott.

This is why I attempted to take the viewers back to what happened prior to the shooting. What I said on the show was up to the end of the altercation, there is nothing to suggest Slager was not doing his job properly. He was polite at the traffic stop. He went back to his vehicle to do his check. Scott then acted improperly, fleeing the scene. Slager pursed and caught up with him. Scott resisted arrest. Even after being tased, he was not complying. He fought with police officer and again fled the scene. All of this shows Slager was dealing with someone who was acting in a violent and criminal manner.

So far, Slager appears to be in the right. Then, comes the end of the tussle and the taser issue which is a bit unclear. What exactly happened with the taser, who had it when, when was it dropped. I preferred not to get into this because it will take quite a bit of analysis to come as close as possible to what truly happened and this is the crux of the case that the prosecution and the defense will battle over. Then, when that is sorted out best as possible, the next issue is at exactly what range did Slager shoot Scott and is there any good reason, considering all the elements and evidence up to the point of pulling the trigger, that Slager or anyone else in his place have to shoot Scott down as he ran? Reasons in the mind of an officer in this situation that might be defensible would be 1) at the time he went to fire, he thought Scott had the taser and could turn and fire on him, incapacitating him, and, thereby allowing him to access his police weapon, or 2) that he thought Scott had a second weapon and could turn and fire and fire on him. One has to keep in mind that all events leading up to such a moment become extremely condensed in and heightened in the human mind which is why a split second decision can be hard to understand in retrospect. Slager might have thought Scott was closer than he was when he shot, thought Scott was more threatening (a taser didn't take him down), was terrified Scott had a hidden weapon, would take a few steps, spin around and kill him. THIS is what he has to prove to a jury if he doesn't want to spend his life in prison for pulling that trigger.

The other scenarios as to why Slager may have shot Scott could be that he was pissed Scott was going to make him run again or Scott had bested him and was going to maybe get away. Maybe Slager is a control freak who doesn't like losing. THIS is what the prosecution has to prove, that none of the events leading up to the moment of pulling the trigger justified Slager in believing that he had the right to shoot Scott.

Television can be a strange animal, especially in a short panel situation. While I was trying to make this point, I had little time to speak and was not allowed to get a thorough statement out. Meanwhile, what I was hearing from the panel were broad negative brushes about law enforcement and assumptions and hearsay. All of this type of discussion does nothing but emotionalize the situation and fuel anger. I was trying to get people to look at the incident itself, in isolation from some bigger political or personal agenda, and allow ALL the evidence to be gathered and presented in court.

There are bad cops out there; some officers have control issues, some love power, some love the hell out of weapons, some are racist, some are assholes. Guess what? Same is true for the teaching profession, the medical profession, etc. While departments need to do the best job they can hiring, the best they can in firing problem officers, the best they can in running their department in as ethical and pro-community as they can, sometimes a portion of the employees just aren't the greatest. I have spoken out quite strongly against certain officers and departments during my life, against incompetence and corruption. We all should but we shouldn't become irrational with anger without evidence to back it. Right off the bat with this case, we had the racism issue go full force simply because the officer was white and the victim was black. Yet, when the dash-cam video came out, that rage has softened a bit because we did not see a cop acting in a racist manner. The argument seemed to change to police brutality and overuse of force. I say, let's make sure we thoroughly understand the whole event properly before we decide if there is a political issue to make of this or just possibly a poor decision made by one lone individual.

The media needs to stop whipping up emotions based on a lot of junk reporting and hyperbole. It needs to start being responsible for what it prints and airs. And, as for us American citizens, let's not take on a lynching mentality. Let's discuss issues civilly and, when it comes down to cases like this, allow some time for the evidence to be gathered and understood and  let the outcome be decided in court.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 12, 2015