By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Bernal says that the internal affairs investigation determined that Hall gave the woman his work number because he wanted to see if she'd be interested in posing as a confidential informant for the department. Because he did not give the woman his home or mobile number, investigators concluded that he did not violate departmental policy.
After she was released from jail, Francisco also provided her attorney with a written report of her encounter with the vice officer, which included several salacious details, that was turned over to investigators. She writes that she rubbed her breasts on his back, rubbed his penis and took a shower with him, before he placed her into custody. Bernal says that the footage reviewed by the investigators shows that the woman did rub her breast on the officer, but she did not take a shower with him. She only stood outside the shower as he washed himself.
The arrest reports from the Acapulco Spa provide a rare glimpse into the unseemly world that vice officers inhabit and the maze of dilemmas that await them. To make an arrest, officers often have to act as sleazy as the typical patron of a shady massage parlor. Sergeant Curtis Braziel posed as a customer of the spa on May 27, shortly before McPherson was arrested. A woman led him to a private room where he had his pick of several different employees. After he choose Kristen King, a 19-year-old California native, she instructed him to get undressed, place his clothes on the armoire and sit on the couch.
He told her that he just took Viagra and wanted to "get the money out of the way" before it kicked in.
"What do you want?" the 19-year-old woman asked him.
"I want a blow job."
"Two hundred will get you everything you want."
"Then I want to fuck you doggie-style."
"That will be $50 extra if you want to fuck."
Braziel later arrested her for prostitution.
Many of the arrest reports suggest that the officers' conduct may have been at least partially justified since the employees at the spa took a hands-on approach to see if the men were law enforcement. One woman told a plainclothes vice officer to put his clothes on the armoire. The woman left the room and came back to find the officer still clad in his underwear. She came up behind him, placed her hands on his penis and said, according to the prosecution report, "You won't be a cop, would you?" He said he wasn't, took off his underwear and laid facedown on the massage table.
Other reports also show that the women wouldn't even begin discussing exchanging sex for cash until the plainclothes officers removed their garments. Still, some of the defense lawyers involved in these cases say that the officers prolonged their experience after they gathered incriminating evidence.
"Once the offer is made, you've made your case," Berry says. "There is no reason to get a hand job."
Asked about the X-rated massages his officers received, Bernal acknowledged that the department is placed in a difficult situation. "A female rubbing her breasts on an officer is not something we seek out, but I don't want to go into specifics of what we can and cannot do because once you start printing that we won't be able to make any cases."--Matt Pulle
November is sweeps month and this Thursday at 9 p.m., Fox 4 News airs a scathing piece on the saga of Emily Dowdy, a Hillsboro woman serving a sentence of 40 years in an Oklahoma prison ("Oklahoma Railroad," July 21, 2005). Dowdy was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the 1999 death of Ryan Brewer, 20-year-old son of an Oklahoma City police captain. The prosecution accused Dowdy, then an architecture student at the University of Oklahoma, of driving drunk. Dowdy's defense: She wasn't drunk but under the influence of the date-rape drug GHB.
News reporter Jeff Crilley got a TV camera into the maximum security prison where Dowdy is serving time. A ruling from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on her request for a new trial could come any day. In her appeal, Dowdy's attorney Mark Henrickson has argued that she did not receive a fair trial because of repeated and egregious prosecutorial misconduct. Portraying Dowdy as a rich bitch party girl, prosecutors at one point elicited testimony from a witness that Dowdy appeared in a newspaper photo taken after the accident at a tailgating party holding a beer can. The photo actually showed Dowdy holding a hot dog bun.
If she is granted a new trial, it will be Dowdy's fourth time to face Oklahoma County justice. The pattern has been remarkably consistent. A judge declared Dowdy's first trial a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct. After a second trial, Dowdy received 20 years in prison, but the verdict was overturned on appeal because the judge refused to allow her the GHB defense. The appeal of Dowdy's third trial, when she received 40 years in prison, accuses the judge--married to an OKC police officer--of favoring the prosecution.
"It's such a sad story," Crilley says. "What TV does best is allow you to see into Emily's eyes and see who this person is. If she's right, there's someone out there who is just as responsible for this car wreck, and they haven't spent a day in jail."