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“WE’RE STACKED LIKE CORDWOOD IN HERE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 8, 2010) — The following is a transcription of a telephone call from LCDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, who contacted The Post & Email today at approximately 10:33 a.m.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: The news of the day is that I was moved last night at about 6:00 p.m. into Cell #5. It’s a four-man cell, 11 x 11 feet. You have a commode, two double bunks; you’ve got a shower; and after that, the usable floor space is about 50-60 square feet. It’s cold as all get-out, and this is where I am right now. The reasons for the move were a long list; you and Tim Harrington can come up with that list as well as I can. But one of those reasons, I imagine, is that I’ve been sending messages out in a bottle.
Here, there are only four men; I’m one of four, and no one’s leaving here anytime soon. So the messages in a bottle…not so much anymore.
MRS. RONDEAU: So it’s not as if they moved you to a slightly more comfortable place?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Oh, no. No, this is not more comfortable. This is a very small space. You have four men living in a small box, and this is against state law. We’re stacked like cordwood in here.
Anyway, that’s the news that’s fit to print right now.
MRS. RONDEAU: Would you say it is punishment for your having communicated with people and gotten them to communicate with me?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I don’t know, but I can tell you that I anticipated a move like this for reasons that go to that kind of retribution. It happened in moments. It came as a surprise.
Anyhow, I’m ready to take any questions that you might have for me.
MRS. RONDEAU: I have received some communications from people who have started to come forward on the website. They are telling parts of their stories: stories of murders, of Officer Trent Prock tasering people at night for fun…Have you seen that while you’ve been in the jail?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Oh, I knew about that before I came in here, yes. I know about that. Prock was one of the four officers who arrested me. That guy’s just a jerk. He has no business being a policeman.
MRS. RONDEAU: I sent him a copy of the article which accused him of that and other things with the headline “YOU’RE FAMOUS!” I remember you had mentioned that he “likes to taser people for fun,” but someone else from the outside is also saying that. And people are telling stories about people who have died in jail because they didn’t get medical treatment.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes. Trina Miller, back in 2007, died of a heart attack in here after she complained of chest pains, and they said, “No, it’s just indigestion,” and the next thing you know, she’s dead.
MRS. RONDEAU: I got that story about her specifically. There are stories of people being threatened on the roads; “If you do this, we’ll do this”…it’s absolutely incredible. The messages in the bottle are apparently coming through.
Are they doing anything about the complaints you submitted to the guard yesterday?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I won’t know what happens there because I’ve been moved to another cell.
MRS. RONDEAU: Someone had mailed you something, and she said she knows for sure that it arrived there last Wednesday. Has anyone told you anything about it?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I received a letter from North Carolina, yes.
MRS. RONDEAU: This was something else. There was some money in it…did anyone say anything?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: No.
MRS. RONDEAU: I wonder what they did with it?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I’ve received one letter from North Carolina; there were three letters inside the envelope, but there was no money in it.
MRS. RONDEAU: No, this is from somebody else, and she said she knows for a fact that it arrived there on Wednesday. I’ll call the jail and see why you haven’t gotten it.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Well, the pressure has got to be kept up. Keep calling the FBI, keep writing those guys as hard as you can. The pressure just has to be unrelenting. In the meantime, this is like a POW camp here. You do what you can to survive and to endure, and that’s what’s going on here right now. Again, federal intervention is the only thing that I can see right now that’s going to get this thing corrected.
I have another court hearing tomorrow at 9:00, the assignment hearing for those other two charges that they put on me: resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. That will be heard tomorrow, and it will be sent to the grand jury, the fake grand jury. And J. Reed Dixon is the judge who is going to hear that case, and he has no business being involved in my case because he’s compromised.
I do have other information that I’ve learned, but I cannot give it to you over the phone. It’s very, very important information, so the sooner I can get to a free phone, the better.
MRS. RONDEAU: I wish there were something I could do about how cold it is and how bad it is…
LCDR FITZPATRICK: It’s a POW camp here, and this has to continue to build as a national outrage. Sheriff Bivens and that property locker…there are more invasions into that property locker than I’ve reported to you. People have just been in and out of there, and there’s more to report about that that I can’t say now. But that needs to become a national story, and all the cases that are tied to that property locker are now infected. So there’s that. Bivens is the most corrupt sheriff in the country, and if he’s not the most corrupt, he’s close enough to be categorized that way. And he’s running the most corrupt jail system here. This sheriff’s department is nothing but a goon squad.
MRS. RONDEAU: Sheriff Bivens’s photo is all over The Post & Email.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: He and a guy named Tuffy Watson are connected to all sorts of money laundering, taking bribes, chop shops, auto shops, and murders in the community. This community has been under siege for decades.
MRS. RONDEAU: It’s really incomprehensible…and the people are so scared.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: That’s the thing to report, too. The more this gets reported at The Post & Email, the better, because that’s the only outlet they have. I was told back in 1980 about the Advocate & Democrat, or whatever name it was going by; in fact, they said it was either called “The Advocate” or “The Democrat,” and now we have the “Advocate & Democrat”…but they were going to report on some of the corruption here and they were threatened with the place being burned down. So the local paper’s not going to report on this.
MRS. RONDEAU: They put out all propaganda about your hearing on November 1, and according to you, they weren’t even there. They said that the four officers chased you up the street and that you had your door barricaded, and then they said that you were pronounced “sane” to stand trial. Where did any of this come from?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Well, the downstairs was barricaded. I ran into the house. They broke the door down. The door that they came in was not barricaded; I had just stepped outside the door. It was a weak moment; I made a mistake, and then they came running down. I was right next to the house, just steps away. Then I ran back into the house and I was going to just take a stand inside. They broke the door down, and the first part of the altercation took place in the kitchen and then they moved me out onto the lawn.
Again, these people should not have been in the position to be there. It was a false arrest. This is nothing more than the government taking action against me. And these people are scared here; you can tell. This house of cards is coming apart, and we have to keep it up. They’re scared blind. Everything that I’m telling you, Sharon, is rock solid.
MRS. RONDEAU: I emailed Michael Thomason about his latest article, the one we’ve been talking about, in which he also said that the officers had no intention of arresting you.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: What??
MRS. RONDEAU: He said, “They went to the house not intending to arrest him but just to see if he was any risk to the community,” or something like that.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: That’s nothing but a lie. They parked in a light SUV minivan up in the parking lot which is adjacent to where I live. I walked out of the house; I looked right at the van, and I said, “Hmmm, that doesn’t belong there,” and I was going to go up to my neighbor’s house to deliver a message which was that the FBI was investigating, and then I realized that I had made a mistake, and I turned back around, and these four officers were running down the hill at me. I got back into the house, closed the door, and then they broke in. I’ve also been told that there was a roadblock set up there. They thought I was going to drive out of there, and they were going to try and take my car. They wanted to do that, too, impound the car, and add up all the extra charges. But I never drove the vehicle.
MRS. RONDEAU: The writer mentioned something about a car and “Fitzpatrick doesn’t drive much anymore,” and I wondered how a reporter would know that?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: He doesn’t. They’re making all this stuff up.
MRS. RONDEAU: And one of the officers was quoted as having said that you were a “big, stocky guy” and they had to taser you twice to get you to sit up straight in the police car.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I was never sitting up straight in the police car, and when they started tasering, they didn’t stop. That’s not something you count.
MRS. RONDEAU: They could have caused a heart attack and you could have died.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: A lot of things could have happened. These guys don’t care. I’m trying to remember…Blackwood said something on the bench when I went in on the first of November. These court reporters are court editors. They add things and they take things out, and I asked him if there was a transcript that was going to be available, and he said, “Maybe.” I asked him what laws in Tennessee applied…there were a lot of comments made such that if a reporter had been in the room, they would have picked up on that. Again, there was no reporter in the room. In fact, a reporter whose name is Mark Boren came running up afterward. He had heard about the hearing and was running across the street from his office and still didn’t make it there on time. The way the judge was talking, he knew there was nobody in there to record it.
Again, we have to keep the pressure on. It just has to be unrelenting. I’m told that the FBI has been trying to investigate this place for years and years and years and now maybe they have an opening; maybe not. I don’t know.
Automated Operator: You have one minute remaining.
MRS. RONDEAU: I’ve been told that people are hammering the FBI.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: That has to keep going, and the more the word gets into the community, the better.
MRS. RONDEAU: I believe that some people are calling the Health Department and reporting what happened to Mr. Jacobs.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Well, tell Tim Harrington and everybody that I said “Hello,” and tell Tim “Thanks.” You guys can speculate about why they moved me, but this cell is just outrageous. It’s just wrong.
Automated Operator: Your time is up.