Yesterday Shailey Tripp sent an e-mail to Dave Parker, the Press Officer at the Anchorage Police Department. She sent me a copy and agreed to let me post it. She said:
“ Lt. Parker,
I’d like to believe you that you called me; however, after a thorough review of my cell phone log, I can find no evidence that you attempted to reach me. Perhaps you called the wrong number by mistake. *********** is the correct number.
Before discussing my property I need to correct a misstatement of yours: Anuradha Lawes (cell phone: **********, the person who picked up some of my property from APD is my mother, not my attorney. My attorney’s name is Kristen Foster (telephone: **********. If you doubt Ms. Lawes is my mother or that she is not my attorney, I encourage you to call her to verify these facts.
The APD’s failure to return my property is as baffling as it is troubling. After speaking with various attorneys, officers, and others about this matter there seems to be no precedent, at least in the recent history of the APD, for the withholding of personal property in a dismissed misdemeanor case. Perhaps you can recall one.
To put things is their proper perspective a short review summary is perhaps in order. At a hearing on June 15, after it was shown that I had complied with all of the terms of my probation, my case was dismissed by Judge Pamela Washington. The return of my property was then discussed at some length. The judge ordered all of my property returned with the full consent of Municipal Prosecutor (MP) David Wallace. The sole exception was $209.00 in US currency. This agreement and order are in the public record.
Given the judge’s order, and the prosecutor having given his blessing, I anticipated a swift return of my property. I was sadly mistaken. David Wallace himself assured me that the return of my property would be expedited and told me to expect my property back within seven to ten business days. There ensued a frustrating two-month period of phone calls attempting to obtain the return of my property. During this time individuals at the APD attempted to stall by claiming that they were waiting for paperwork or authorization from the MP’s office. I subsequently learned this was not the case.
Someone named Matt at the MP’s office assured me that they had sent to APD all of the necessary paperwork and authorization they needed to release my property. I was both angered and disappointed to learn that the APD has not acted in an honest and forthright manner in dealing with my property.
As part of my efforts to obtain the return of my property I contacted Judge Washington’s clerk for assistance. Through a series of phone calls I learned that Judge Washington’s clerk had contacted both the MP’s office and the APD and had told both to comply with the judge’s order. The APD ignored her.
At length I was contacted regarding the return of property and arranged a Power of Attorney for my mother to act in my behalf to obtain my property. Some property was returned but not all of it. I am not going to itemize these items for you now because we both know you have these records in your possession. The items I am concerned about having returned to me are a credit card machine, a cell phone, and a computer.
The bottom line and undisputed fact is that the APD is continuing to withhold personal property of mine in defiance of a judge’s order and my constitutional rights. Furthermore it is clear from our correspondence that you have no intention of complying with the judge’s order and my continued pleas. This is unacceptable. The logical and obvious explanation for this is that the APD is protecting one or more persons whose names are contained in the property being withheld, apparently out of a fear that someone will be embarrassed or exposed in some way. The further proof of this is the bizarre issuance of a press release by you, discussed below.
I continue to demand the immediate return of ALL of my property, in accordance with Judge Washington’s order, the Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor, APD policy, and the United States Constitution. I furthermore put the Anchorage Police Department on notice to NOT attempt to destroy any of my personal property.
Regarding the press release, the most significant aspect of it is the multiple specific references to Todd Palin. It is these references that would lead the average observer to conclude that it is political in nature and that its issuance had absolutely nothing to do with my case except to discredit me. It is replete with fabrications and misstatements. Here are the major points:
You stated in the press release, “There’s not one scintilla of evidence that Todd Palin had anything to do with this.” However, you later admitted publicly that you had not examined all of the evidence that was confiscated from me; consequently, there is no way you could truthfully make this statement.
The press release cited “several errors” regarding the investigation and arrest as it was reported in the Enquirer article, stating that “None of the physical evidence examined by police showed any connection to Wasilla resident Todd Palin and his name did not appear in any of the records seized by APD.” Given that, again, the physical evidence was not fully examined (if at all), this statement is at best misleading and at worst a deliberate lie designed to achieve a political purpose.
The press release goes on to say, “The investigation of the prostitution operation was initiated by Anchorage Police Department’s Vice Unit responding to internet advertisements, not through information developed from any tips or other persons.” This statement is also untrue. A review of the police reports in the case reveals that the investigation was initiated when William Fortier, who formerly owned the building where I operated my business, lodged a complaint. So either the police report is incorrect or you were misinformed.
Finally, the press release stated, “No rolodex was seized and taken into evidence.” While no ‘paper’ Rolodex was seized, officers never searched my computers, which contained electronic address books, and in several of the officers’ reports references were made to ‘client lists’ that were seized.
I will note also that you are on record as publicly admitting (in telephone conversations with blogger/attorney Malia Litman) that you issued the press release at the request of John Tiemessen, Sarah Palin’s attorney of record.
This highly unorthodox behavior cannot be explained or justified in the context of any normal APD practice or procedure. On the contrary, it leads one to the inescapable conclusion that this was done for purely political purposes to aid Sarah Palin, with whom you are known to be allied politically as well as through church affiliation. In short, you placed political and religious allegiance before your duty as a sworn peace officer.
It is also telling that this press release was issued after normal business hours and does not appear on the APD website, along with APD’s other press releases, as if you were instructed not to do so, embarrassed to place it there due to its content, and/or because it was not authorized by higher authority and you did not wish it to be known that you had issued it.
You can rest assured that I will not let this issue rest until I have received a full accounting of why the press release was issued and on whose authority it was released. I am sending a detailed letter to APD Internal Affairs outlining the unusual and unethical behavior of its officers, including the issuance of the press release as detailed above. In addition, I am sending a copy of this correspondence to the ombudsman for the Municipality of Anchorage Ombudsman requesting that she investigate this matter, forwarding copies to the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office and to Judge Washington.
It gives me no pleasure to take these actions but I am sick of being misled by the APD after I acted in good faith. There is clearly something amiss in the APD. I am happy to speak or correspond with you if it leads to the return of my property.
Shailey has confirmed in this e-mail that the lap top computer seized had electronic address-books. Thus there can no longer be any doubt about the reason that the lap top has never been returned to Shailey Tripp. This is particularly offensive because Officer McKinnon has confirmed that he put the property department on notice of the sensitive nature of the lap top right after it was confiscated. That “scintilla” of evidence may have been destroyed, but it was last in the possession of the Anchorage Police Department before it wasn’t.
Tampering with evidence is a class C felony in Alaska. AS 11.56.610 provides:
“AS 11.56.610. Tampering With Physical Evidence.
(a) A person commits the crime of tampering with physical evidence if the person
(1) destroys, mutilates, alters, suppresses, conceals, or removes physical evidence with intent to impair its verity or availability in an official proceeding or a criminal investigation;
(3) prevents the production of physical evidence in an official proceeding or a criminal investigation by the use of force, threat, or deception against anyone; or
(4) does any act described by (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection with intent to prevent the institution of an official proceeding.
(b) Tampering with physical evidence is a class C felony.
It seems the only question left is how many police officers with the Anchorage Police Department were involved in tampering with evidence. How many police officers may have been identified on that address list along with Todd Palin?
If this gives rise to any questions you would like to ask of the APD you are invited to ask . I’m sending a copy of this post to Judge Pamela Washington.