STAFF RESPONSE: GRIEVANCE “INAPPROPRIATE”
by Sharon Rondeau
Fitzpatrick has been imprisoned since last August and was moved to his current facility, NWCX, in early December.
Fitzpatrick sent us a white original and three carbon copies of his three-page complaint against instructor Terry Hopper, Pro-Social Life Skills (PSLS) counselor Candice Prince, Guild #14 manager Jeff Bratton, Program Director Vivian Windsor, and Correctional Officer Lexie Smith, all of whom are named at the outset of his complaint.
The top form in the packet is titled “INAPPROPRIATE GRIEVANCE NOTIFICATION,” dated June 23, 2015, and signed by “Cpl. Gillihan, Grievance Chairperson.”
The two reasons provided for the “inappropriateness” of Fitzpatrick’s complaint were “No specific details” and “Grievance shall be submitted on Form CR-1394 pages 1 and 2. All copies must be legible and in tact… [sic].”
In a previous mailing, Fitzpatrick described Hopper as having threatened him with a “beating” if he did not acquiesce to participating in the PSLS course. Fitzpatrick has refused to take part because in the workbooks which accompany the class, inmates are asked to admit to aberrant behavior and their need to correct it in order to return to society.
Fitzpatrick maintains he did nothing wrong in approaching the McMinn County,TN grand jury on multiple occasions between August 2012 and March 2014 with petitions containing criminal allegations against judges, court clerks, local law enforcement, prosecutors, and the grand jury foreman. On March 18, 2014, while awaiting a decision on whether or not he would be called in to testify, Fitzpatrick was arrested by two sheriff’s deputies on four indictments issued by the very grand jury to which he had brought his complaint.
Following a pre-trial hearing on June 16, 2014 in which the key witness, then-grand jury foreman Jeffrey Cunningham, denied having accused Fitzpatrick of anything, Fitzpatrick was tried and convicted on charges of aggravated perjury and extortion. On August 19, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood sentenced Fitzpatrick to three years in state prison after a lengthy soliloquy in which he called him “a moral coward.”
Sworn affidavits from eyewitnesses at the sentencing hearing indicated shock at the way in which it was conducted.
Shortly after his arrival at BCCX, which serves as the state prison intake facility, Fitzpatrick was told by a prison counselor that he did not qualify for any of the prison system’s educational programs. Fitzpatrick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Science and an MBA specializing in Technology Management.
Fitzpatrick has also reported that the course is a means by which prison officials are billing the federal government, which is funded by taxpayer dollars, for as much as $3,000 per participant.
The Post & Email apologizes for its present inability to display the documents resulting from a printer/scanner issue. However, Fitzpatrick’s grievance reads, in its entirety (errors left intact):
TDOC/NWCX personnel named in the complaint are (1) Pro Social Life Skills (PSLS) instructor Terry Hopper, (2) Program Director Vivian Windsor, (go to continuation page (2)) [next page, top] (3) PSLS Counselor Candice Prince, (4) Unit Manager for Guild #14 Jeff Bratton, and (5) Correctional Officer Lexie Smith. TDOC/NWCX officials are to receive this report as a formal criminal complaint accusing instructor Hopper and counselor Prince of criminal activity and criminal act targetting Grievant Fitzpatrick which occurred this morning, Friday, 19 June 2015 between 1003 – 1014 hours local (10:03 – 10:14 a.m. CDT). All five (5) TDOC/NWCX employees — Hopper, Windsor, Prince, Bratton and L. Smith are subjects of this complaint, all of them working together in an unrelenting campaign attempting to force Grievant Fitzpatrick to confess in speech and in writing to criminal acts and criminal activity wherein Grievant Fitzpatrick presently and stridently protests innocence. All five accused actors are working together — joined at the hip in synchronized maneuverings — to compel Grievant Fitzpatrick, under extreme prejudice and duress, to speak and write publicly against Grievant Fitzpatrick’s best interests.
Efforts of this gang of five were foreseeable and foreseen in their various coordinated assaults bringing Grievant Fitzpatrick under a barrage of incidents striving to force Grievant Fitzpatrick to unwillingly act against himself. The gang of five coordinated campaign has been ongoing since Tuesday, 26 May 2015.
The activity creschendoed this morning when Mr. Hopper and Counselor Prince ganged up on me in Price’s office in Guild #14. Conscenting in Hopper’s conduct, Prince sat at her desk approvingly as Hopper blasted one insult after another, then three (3) times threatening a beating, should I fail to (go to continuation page 3)… comply with his verbal commands to act and write statements against myself and against my best self-interest. I responded to Hopper’s verbal and promised physical assaults by backing up — three (3) times, hands open behind my back at “Parade Rest, as Hopper closed on me three (3) times — waving papers in my face demanding compliance. Hopper backed me into the corner of Price’s office to the point I could move no more.
Hopper’s and Prince’s assault was reported to Corporal Sellers this afternoon between 1335-1406 hours local (1:35-2:06 p.m. CDT). Cpl. Sellers advised I file this formal criminal complaint and grievance.
As I said above, these episodes and events were foreseeable and forseen. Regular reports went out separately — coming out publicly — as the days passed. I have no confidence in the TDOC/NWCX grievance protocol/procedures/process. No matter. It is of little consequence. I am represented by counsel. I issued instructions. There are public reports in existence and in distribution.
So as to have this report filed within the required twenty-four hours I must conclude here promising a more complete robust narration when (if) given an opportunity. Whatever TDOC/NWCX officials do will be merely in addition to my separate outside reports which I will aggressively pursue until finally resolved.
Fair winds, following seas,
Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III
Commander, U.S. Navy Retired
Distinguished Military Graduate
U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1975
B.S. Naval Science
Fitzpatrick writes in all capital letters; therefore, the appearance of the grievance is a bit different than presented here.
On a Post-It note on the back of the stapled grievance packet, Fitzpatrick included the following note:
Wednesday afternoon, 24 June 2015
1548 hrs. local/3:48 PM CDT
Sharon: this grievance returns today described as “inappropriate.” This was filed Friday night, 19 June 2015. I am working on a more detailed statement for my disciplinary I plan to copy for you. Corporal Gillihan can think on it on receipts. Important to note: Gillihan did not notify outside law enforcement.
More to follow,
On Friday, The Post & Email informed TDOC Communications Director Neysa Taylor of Fitzpatrick’s report of threatened assault by Terry Hopper. We received no response. However, in response to an earlier email sent to the TDOC webmaster and Taylor noting that the Pro-Social Life Skills course no longer appeared on the website in a list of courses given by Tennessee state prisons, we received the following on Monday:
|From:||TDOC Webmaster (TDOC.Webmaster@tn.gov)|
|Sent:||Mon 6/29/15 3:33 PM|
Our website has changed. Any bookmarks to our pages will no longer work. Also, you may need to clear out your cookies/cache in order to remove all copies of the old version of our Internet.
I am needing clarification on what you are needing so that I may go to the appropriate staff member for assistance. Is the root of the problem that he does not want to take Pro Social Life Skills or that he wants to be relocated to another facility?
Your concerns with the instructor and correctional officer at Morgan County Correctional Complex will be reviewed and handled as needed by the warden.
to which we responded with:
Thank you for your response. The problem is not at MCCX, but rather, at NWCX, where Mr. Fitzpatrick reported last week that he was physically backed into a corner and threatened with a beating if he did not participate in the Pro-Social Life Skills class for which he was deemed not to be a candidate during screening at BCCX.
The instructor so named in misconduct is Mr. Terry Hopper. I have written to Warden Mike Parris about this already but not received a response.
My readership is following this story very closely as well as that of Mr. Timothy Baxter, also at NWCX, who is suing the state of Tennessee for $5,000,000 for injuries received from two correctional officers in 2009.
It would seem that Fitzpatrick should never have been sent to NWCX if their emphasis is on basic education and behavior modification. I know from recordings of the trial and other documentation that laws were broken so that he would be found guilty.
Here is the article in full published on Friday which should explain the entire situation:
– The Post & Email – http://www.thepostemail.com –
Breaking: Walter Fitzpatrick Reports He Was Threatened with Beatings by Prison Instructor
by Sharon Rondeau