The Trial of Investigative Reporter Christopher Bollyn
June 11, 2007
The Trial of Investigative Reporter Christopher Bollyn
By Dr. Linda Shelton, Phd, MD
I met Mr. Bollyn about six months ago and talked with his children, wife and friends. While I do not agree with all of his writings, I am convinced his version of events concerning his arrest is correct. I am VERY concerned about this attack on HIM which was twisted, by the corrupt police and prosecutor, into a story in which he allegedly set-up the incident in order to cause a "confrontation with authority figures."
The Bollyn family in Salt Lake City, September 2006
I attended the trial. It was simply a farce - a Salem Witch trial, where someone with alternative views was crucified. It is clearly an illegal penalty on the exercise of constitutional rights - freedom of speech. The judge allowed the prosecution to make statements that were inconsistent with the evidence and highly inflammatory slander and defamation of Mr. Bollyn's character. The prosecutor so tainted the trial that a fair hearing was impossible.
Mr. Bollyn stated he is an investigative reporter who investigates unsolved crimes. He has written about depleted uranium, the 9-11 tragedy, and many other controversial issues of the day. I find it astonishing that the police and prosecutors twisted his career, and his right to question the actions of our government, into a theory that he purposely causes incidents to occur so that he can write about them.
I find it more astonishing that the judge allowed this baseless, anti free-speech and anti free-press argument. It's unbelievable that the jury bought it. No evidence was provided to the jury to prove this nonsense and therefore, it was impermissible defamation of the defendant.
Mr. Bollyn's attorneys pointed out the inconsistencies and lies of the police, but NO ONE ON THE JURY LISTENED, AND THE JUDGE IGNORED THE DUE PROCESS VIOLATIONS.
1. That they painted Mr. Bollyn as a "drunk", who "went to the liquor store to buy alcohol";
2. Who "faked" that he "had a broken arm" resulting from police brutality;
Christopher Bollyn addresses the public at a Hoffman Estates village board meeting, August 2006
3. Who "writes for the alternative press";
4. Who makes a living from making up crazy conspiracy theories;
5. Who called 911 solely for the purpose of luring the police to his property so that he could say they attacked him and make up another conspiracy and write about it for profit.
The three undercover tactical officers said Bollyn had approached the three of them, after they had gotten out of a car, which they had parked across the entry to his driveway - blocking it. They said they told the uniformed officer, who had been initially dispatched to respond to the call, that they would handle it. The uniformed officer then parked out of direct view of the Bollyns.
Officer Barber said Bollyn was "irate," and that "he was looking for a fight," and that "that scared the hell out of me."
Officer Felgenhauer said "I did not want to see what he was going to bring out of the house." Yet no search warrant was issued to see what was in the house after the arrest, and they allowed Bollyn's wife to go into the house and get a camera. When she tried to use the camera to document what was happening, they threatened to arrest her.
The three officers all stated that Mr. Bollyn smelled of alcohol. One said he could smell it from 10 feet away, while the other two said Bollyn had gotten as close as 2 feet from them.
Bollyn allegedly pointed a finger in one officer's face (Barber) from two feet away, and stood in a "bladed stance" with "clenched fists and clenched teeth." Bollyn said he stood 8 feet away and only pointed at their car. Bollyn testified that he said, "Why are you threatening our neighborhood, what is that (pointing to their unmarked car), and what agency do you work for?"
The undercover cops all said their vests were clearly marked with large letters saying "police" but admitted that the words were attached by Velcro. They said their badges were clearly in view although one said his badge was under the vest.
The police said Bollyn ran for the house stating he was getting "reinforcements" and the three heavily armed officers (like a Swat team, or according to Bollyn, like someone would see in Baghdad) were afraid he was going into the house to get a weapon because he turned and said "I'm getting reinforcements, the militia," so they had to take him down, after stating multiple times he was under arrest, and that he struggled so much they had to use a TASER.
One officer (Felgenhauer) stated clearly that Mr. Bollyn had committed NO CRIME before he turned to the house and ran. (Then why was he convicted of assault?) Furthermore, the police admitted that his running to his house was not itself a crime. Bollyn said he walked quickly to get his brother as he thought he was going to get shot.
The prosecutors said since Bollyn gave a speech in Utah 3-4 weeks later, and moved his arm, this proved that he was faking his elbow injury.
The police chief admitted that their police cars, including the undercover cars are equipped with video cameras and that the department policy is that it is mandatory to use them and to preserve this evidence if it documents a crime. Yet the chief said the tapes of all seven cars, including that of the first uniformed officer on the scene, Ofc. Kruschel, who hid in the shadows when the tactical unit said they would handle it, as well as the undercover car, were recycled and no one ever looked at them to see if there was any evidence.
The arresting officer (Fitzgerald) said that Mr. Bollyn was so drunk and belligerent that he banged his head on the Plexiglas divider in the squad car.
Fitzgerald also admitted, on cross-examination, that he was the officer that told the squad car behind him (Ofc. Kruschel who had been on the scene from the beginning) to "turn off your video", while he was transporting Bollyn and that he could have turned his video around to record Bollyn's behavior but he didn't. This statement was played by the defense from the recording of the police communication center.
The police testified that the undercover officers were just doing "routine patrols" several nights in a row, and that there was a woman who is a user of heroin down the street.
The prosecutor (despite the 911 deputy director stating that the police and fire logs were accurate and in real time) stated in closing that the logs were not accurate because the 911 staff did not necessarily write down what was said, when it was said.
Compare that nonsense with the evidence presented and facts:
1) No evidence was given that Mr. Bollyn was drunk - no breathalyzer, no statement that he had slurred speech, no statement that he stumbled or was impaired in any way - only the word of the police that he "smelled like alcohol." The police did NOT have Bollyn examined by a doctor to document impairment by alcohol or to check him for injuries after the TASER was used.
2) The police came to his property at his request when he said there was a suspicious vehicle that frightened him. The Hoffman Estates web site urges its residents to "call 911 when in doubt." There was NO REPORT that he was drunk, no history of violence, no record of a FOIA card or a gun, and no complaint against Mr. Bollyn. Bollyn was never trained in military or police tactics. So why would three heavily-armed and very well trained tactical officers be afraid of him?
3) There was a crowd of children playing in the front yard, Mr. Bollyn was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sandals (certainly not dressed to fight).
4) Mr. Bollyn testified he came back from a long stay away from his home a few weeks before the incident so he didn't have a phone in the house yet. He made the 911 call from a liquor store near his home.
The 911 transmission log for the Hoffman Estates Fire Department EMS vehicles that responded to the Bollyn house on August 15, 2006. This document reveals that the three-man tactical unit led by Ofc. Barber planned to use violence when they responded to Mr. Bollyn's non-emergency 911 call about a suspicious vehicle. This was not a "gang suppression" exercise - this was a hit squad!
This dispatch record shows that a fire department ambulance team was dispatched to the Bollyn house, for an unknown medical emergency, at the same time as the police.
There was absolutely no evidence to make the giant leap that he was drunk or went to the store to "buy alcohol" as the prosecutor said in the closing argument.
5) There are medical records, I have seen, but which were not introduced at trial stating Mr. Bollyn had an elbow effusion. As a doctor I can tell you that this means it is highly likely that there was a small occult fracture. These small fresh fractures usually do not show up on X-rays for weeks - the pattern of the effusion is highly suggestive. The arm would be very sore at first, but he could still move his fingers to type and could move it from the shoulder out of the sling. The hospital put on a posterior splint and gave him a sling. They told him to see an Orthopedic Surgeon, but he didn't because he does not have health insurance, so he just wore the sling until he could use his arm better.
Bollyn the day after the assault by three undercover police in Hoffman Estates
Just because he took it off to shower and drive, and did not wear it while giving a speech 3-4 weeks later, does not mean he was "faking" an injury so that he could falsely state the police injured him.
6) Of the three undercover tactical officers, two of them were military veterans, former military police, trained in combat and SWAT team techniques. The one who TASERed Bollyn had spent 5 years as a Military Police in charge of prisoners. Obviously these men are very familiar with the terms "reinforcements", "bladed stance", and the physical demeanor of someone violent about to strike, so it is clear where these lies came from.
7) Mr. Bollyn testified he had NO military training or experience, knew of NO militia in the area and simply turned to go to the door quickly and get his brother as a witness, shouting "Jay, Jay" because one of the officers really concerned him when he stepped back and said "so you think we are threatening" and another reached under his vest and unsnapped the holster to his weapon.
How could any one believe that Mr. Bollyn took a military or martial arts like stance to pick a fight with three armed men wearing body armor while standing next to his 8-year-old daughter and wife, wearing only sandals and shorts and with no training in how to fight?
Bollyn and his children in Schaumburg, August 2006
8) Mr. Bollyn is known to be a pacifist.
9) His wife testified that before Mr. Bollyn came out of the house, she had repeatedly asked the men for identification and to explain who they were. She said they would not say who they were, but that one had pulled out a driver's license and shown it from about 7-8 feet while another raised his vest very briefly and flashed a small shiny object that could have been a badge.
10) The childrens' story agrees with the Bollyns' and contradicts the police, but they didn't testify because their parents didn't want them to be traumatized further.
The Bollyn family on the search for a lawyer in Chicago, August 2006
They are suffering nightmares, refuse to sleep in the front bedroom where the window is next to where their father was attacked, and are very shaken and crying worrying that their dad, who home schools them and is very close to them will be taken away to jail. The trauma to them is palpable if one speaks to the children. 9-year-old children generally do not lie about such things, unlike police.
11) Mr. Bollyn ran for village president in Hoffman Estates in 2001 [as an anti-corruption candidate] so there is motive to discredit him in the community. (Cook County, Illinois is known for political corruption - take out your opponent is the motto.)
12) Ofc. Kruschel's video had been on and clearly could have recorded Bollyn's behavior in the squad car, but it was turned off during the transport. Then why did the police not preserve it as evidence?
13) One officer testified on cross examination that Mr. Bollyn committed NO CRIME when he turned towards the house. Yet the jury convicted him of assaulting Ofc. Barber before he turned to the house to get his brother. Go figure! They obviously became biased by the inflammatory and derogatory picture painted of Bollyn by the prosecutor and failed to listen to the evidence.
14) The judge would NOT ALLOW the defense expert witness on police procedures to testify. He could have commented on "routine patrol" procedures, how it was unnecessary for all three officers to get out of the car to talk with Bollyn without any suspicion of criminal activity, how this might frighten Bollyn, how parking diagonally across the driveway was a threatening procedure, (why didn't they politely park in front?) and how it was bizarre that three well trained and experienced officers would have to use a TASER on a partially handcuffed, restrained and untrained individual that was already pinned beneath two men on the ground. One of the men had used a very dangerous pressure hold and knelt with his full body weight on Bollyn's right temple for at least two minutes.
15) I don't believe that it is routine to patrol a low crime area in an undercover car with three undercover officers and to drive slowly past Mr. Bollyn's house two days in a row.
16) The testimonies of the three undercover cops and the one witness they produced, were contradictory and highly strained.
17) Two neighbors testified for Mr. Bollyn that they were across the street and that the fire truck was there before Mr. Bollyn turned to the house and was taken down. This is confirmed by the police and fire department 911 transcripts. Why was a fire truck called before they used the TASER? This certainly is not routine in the case of a citizen who makes a call about a "suspicious vehicle." The judge wrongfully allowed the prosecutor to contradict the 911 deputy director's testimony in their closing argument and state that the time on the 911 transcripts were not necessarily accurate to explain the presence of the fire truck.
18) The judge allowed the State's Attorney to grossly mischaracterize the evidence in closing, state false "facts" that were never in evidence, and therefore biased the jury.
19) Mr. Bollyn testified that the arresting Ofc. Fitzgerald was very nasty and derogatory towards him, calling his late mother a c___, etc., and when Mr. Bollyn leaned forward asking what he had said, he purposely slammed on the brakes several times to make him hit his head on the seat divider Plexiglas. At the station, Ofc. Fitzgerald told the assembled officers waiting in the garage that Mr. Bollyn had said cursing derogatory statements about the police so that they would then rough him up (Mr. Bollyn's statement of what they said was more detailed, but I don't wish to repeat it.)
20) The police made no effort to obtain a search warrant of the Bollyn house to find the "weapon" or "reinforcements" - yet the prosecutor made a big deal about it - "who knows what was behind that door", and "the police risk their lives daily." They "had to protect themselves" is what he said. I ask FROM WHAT?
This conviction was for the sole purpose of destroying the credibility of Mr. Bollyn and retaliating against his controversial reporting on issues of the day. All persons of conscience, who believe in the Bill of Rights and are opposed to the encroaching police state, should protest loudly, contribute to his legal defense fund (he will need to raise at least $10,000 for appeal) write and continue to write their congressmen, the Hoffman Estate police, Mayor, and the press about their outrage and be prepared for a long and consistent fight to overturn this gross injustice.
I am praying that the judge has the intelligence and sense of justice to find Bollyn not guilty based on the evidence notwithstanding the verdict on post-trial motions, or throw out the conviction and declare a mistrial because of the prosecutorial misconduct in making derogatory and inflammatory statements without evidence, before sentencing on June 25, 2007.
Originally posted as: "The Trial of RMN Agent Christopher Bollyn as Reported by Dr. Linda Shelton"
Posted By: Rayelan, Wednesday, 13-Jun-2007 02:10:08