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“I’M SLEEPING ON A CONCRETE FLOOR”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 1, 2010) —Today is the sixth day of imprisonment in the Monroe County detention center for Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, who was originally arrested on April 1, 2010 after attempting to make a legal citizen’s arrest of the grand jury foreman, Gary Pettway, who has been serving in that capacity for at least 20 years. Mr. Fitzpatrick contacted The Post & Email this afternoon from the Monroe County detention facility about a new development in his case.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I’m sleeping on the concrete floor. It’s like an icebox in here, freezing cold. I’m told this is the most complained-about correctional facility in the state of Tennessee. It’s not good at all. I’m told there have been over 900 lawsuits filed against this place following complaints. Nothing happens.
What we need right now is an aggressive, immediate federal response in here.
I was in a court hearing this morning which was unscheduled. Nobody knew anything about it. They came to the door, they said, “Come hither.” It was at about 12:20 and ran until about 1:10 p.m. There were no witnesses in the courtroom for me. I had no representatives in there. There were numerous policemen; there was the prosecutor, Jim Stutts; there was the judge; there was the court clerk, Martha Cook. There was a male court clerk whom I don’t know. These people know exactly what they’re doing here; they have qualified me on my own behalf, “pro se.” I don’t know what’s going on outside of here about any other attorneys coming to this thing, but I told the judge today that this was a dictatorship; I called him a dictator; I asked him if there was going to be a record of this hearing made available, and he said “maybe.” I said that we can’t go forward with this case and that no attorney can defend this case in the state of Tennessee because this is a dictatorship. They know exactly what they’re doing. The rig is in, and the only way that this is going to get stopped is by federal intervention: calls to the FBI, aggressive and unceasing; any attorney who is going to pick this up must go to the federal level. There must be a federal court injunction into this thing to look at it because I kept bringing up the issue of the grand jury today over and over and over again, and Blackwood said, “We’re beyond that. We’re not going to talk about that,” and I said, “I intend to bring that up during the court hearing,” and he said, “No, you’re not going to do that. You can’t do that.”
You see, they want to get past this grand jury and make it go away, but they can’t. So it’s very important that people know that this is as corrupt as we’ve said it is. These people know exactly what they’re doing; there were police officers in there; this was a closed hearing; it was unannounced; there was no press; and they do know that the police and the judges and the court clerks and the court reporters have done this over and over again. I saw it today in real life. These people are criminals and there’s nothing to stop them except a federal intervention, a federal response. That has to be a law enforcement response and a federal court response. They need to come in here and stop this.
I told him, “I know that four judges, including you, have committed crimes here,” and he stopped me from talking. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they don’t expect to get caught. The only way they’re going to get caught is by a federal intervention coming in here right away.
We have 35 people in here, and I told this guard here that there were people shivering this morning. You could hang meat in this room. The conditions are just abhorrent. The attention of this country has to come here to Monroe County. This judge is out of control. We have more information about the grand jury, but I can’t give it out over the phone. (Editor’s Note: phone calls made from the jail are recorded.) Once the FBI gets involved, we can share the information with them, but this is OUTRAGEOUS! I saw it today firsthand. These people know exactly what they’re doing. They’re joking; they’re poking at each other; they’re having fun with each other; they’re smiling at each other. I asked the judge, “Is this court transcript going to be available?” and his answer was, “Maybe.” They know that they doctor the records; they know that they can do whatever they want. They know they’re under federal investigation, and they don’t care. “We’re not scared, we’re not afraid.” These people are monsters. They need to be placed under arrest. The only way this is going to be stopped is by federal intervention and recognition of the sanctity, integrity and the necessity for a grand jury because these people here know. They need to be caught in rigging the juries. The judges are rigging the juries.
They’re going to have to have federal officers come in here in a raid situation and start making arrests. There’s plenty of information here. I’m told that the sheriff has a chop shop, a card chop shop here, his own business on the side. I’m being told so many things, much of which I can’t talk about over the phone. But I saw it today. This trial is being rigged right now. I reserved the right to bring in another attorney later should I choose to do that, and the judge said, “Well, maybe; we’ll see. Maybe not.” These people are just out of control. A federal response is all that we have to stop this from happening. So that’s where things are today.
MRS. RONDEAU: Now you said that 35 men are in a room where there is capacity for only 24?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: There are 24 bunks in this pod, Cell #1. When I came in here, there were 24 racks and they were all filled. Well, I went onto the floor. I’ve been on the floor ever since. It’s been four nights now sleeping on the concrete. And the pad they give you? It doesn’t count. You’re sleeping on the concrete. So we have 11 men sleeping on the floor; there are supposed to be two showers and only one of them works. Some of the time there’s no running water. They keep the temperature way down. There needs to be a federal intervention here to come and take a look at this jail that’s reported to be the worst in the state of Tennessee. It’s just outrageous.
The focus of this country needs to be at what’s going on here in Monroe County. Everything is rigged. It’s outrageous here, and they’re going to keep on doing this until there’s a federal intervention.
MRS. RONDEAU: I left a message for Captain Wilson this morning and stated that the entire world now knows about Monroe County, TN.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Capt. Wilson was one of the people who was beating up on me last week. He’s a jerk. He was sitting right behind me today in the courtroom laughing and snickering. The weight of the world needs to come down here. This is exactly what a dictatorship looks like. And I told them that today; I said, “This is a dictatorship. There’s no defense possible. We didn’t do the grand jury part.” And the judge kept saying, “We did do the grand jury.” I said, “No, we didn’t,” and he said, “Well, that part’s over. We’re not going to do that.” And I said, “No, you’re wrong about that.” It’s about the grand jury. This is all about the grand jury. We can’t go any farther until it’s fixed. But this judge wants to move forward, and I suspect they’ll keep me locked up here until 1 December when they pull me out of here and say, “Do you have your defense ready?” and I’m just going to say, “No, you know how this goes.”
Nothing is recorded about what happened this morning. There were no witnesses there this morning for me.
MRS. RONDEAU: It sounds reminiscent of the Soviet Union.”
LCDR FITZPATRICK: They’ve been doing this so long, and they’re so practiced at it – somebody needs to be placed under arrest. We have four judges that need to be taken down; it’s absolutely a nightmare.
MRS. RONDEAU: I called to the Monroe County detention center yesterday twice and was told two different things about visitation days.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Everything here is controlled. They change the rules just by speaking. So don’t believe anything they tell you. Federal intervention is what is needed. Keep people calling the FBI. For any attorney coming to this, this is not going to be handled in the state, because any attorney who’s going to come in under a Tennessee license is going to be nothing but corruption. This case needs to be heard at the federal level, and the first thing that we say is, “There’s no case here, because there’s no grand jury present.” And that includes the two new charges: assault and resisting arrest. The whole thing needs to be packaged and brought to a federal judge. And there may be an opportunity here to get a court order to get me released under the auspices of the FBI or anybody going to a federal judge. I”ve been kidnapped.
MRS. RONDEAU: I’ve been hearing that the Monroe County jail is being hammered with calls.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: We have to keep that up because this whole thing is out of control. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they think they’re going to get away with it. They’re trying to move this thing along as fast as they can. They need to be stopped. A federal judge needs to weigh in here and stop this. We need federal agents to get into this county jail and start talking to the inmates, because they have stories to tell. They have a wealth of information, and once the feds intervene, they’re going to need protection. These kids have been hammered.
This is a practiced, sophisticated operation. I was shackled hand and foot with a chain that ran between my legs and a bullet-proof vest. The hearing was closed to the public.
MRS. RONDEAU: What was the result of the hearing?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: The judge said that I’m qualified to be my own attorney, that I can defend myself pro se. “Prepare your case; you’re going to trial on the first of December,” and then I walked out in four-point shackles, and I’m brought back to my cell. There is no reason for them to be keeping me here right now. That was an ambush on Wednesday of last week; that was nothing but harassment. They’re building this case so they can change the subject, and the focus has to be on the takeover of the grand juries. The judges are rigging the juries.
They know exactly what they’re doing, and there’s nothing to stop them. I talked to you about the process that got us this far. We should not be at this point right now. This case should never have come this far. It’s been corruption at every level.
MRS. RONDEAU: Someone found a law from the 1970s that says that the judge chooses the grand jury foreman. Is that how it’s supposed to be?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: You pick a new jury every year, and then you pick the foreman from that new group of people. I don’t agree with the judge picking the foreman at all, but you pick a new jury every year so every year you get a brand-new jury and then from that group of new people selected, you pick a new foreman. But no judge can hand-pick a juror; it’s against the law. They pick the jurors randomly and then the judge, under Tennessee law, can pick the foreman from that new population.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do they seem deterred even in the slightest since the FBI visited last week and because of the public attention that’s being focused on them?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: No, they’re not. There are things I can’t talk about here, but there’s a lot here to find out about. You get the sense that these guys are working with the feds on the side of crime.
MRS. RONDEAU: Of whom would they be afraid, then?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: One of the things that has gone through my mind is, “How can this be going on here and not have federal involvement already?” This is why the pressure needs to be absolutely unceasing and oppressive on the FBI. These guys have to be shamed into doing something. The pressure has to be relentless.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do they feed you regularly?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Well, the food is what it is. There’s nobody here being malnourished. You have to pay a nurse to come down and see you. Medical calls and doctors are nonexistent.
MRS. RONDEAU: You have to pay?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes, for a nurse to take a look at you, it’s like $5.00. They didn’t charge me when the nurse looked at me, but when someone punched his hand into the wall, it should have been looked at, but he was told, “Oh, no, you gotta pay $5.00.” You have to pay for everything here. You have a commissary racket going here and they’re making tons of money off of these kids. Family members can’t bring in any books or any kind of personal items; it all has to be purchased through the commissary.
We can talk at length about the corruption that’s here. It’s absolutely off-the-scale. This facility needs to be torn down and a new one built. But they won’t do that because it will be money. The reason they don’t want to do jury trials is because it would mean money. You know how the judges are dealing with jury trials here in this community: the feds need to weigh in here; the good ones, the decent federal agents, those who believe in the Constitution need to weigh in here and start cleaning this place up. And this is where it only begins. This is outrageous.