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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Friday, May 13, 2005

Runaway Bride Says: "I went, I came, she came, He didn't 'came' - I'm back . . . I lied"

Justice delayed, is justice denied.
William Gladstone

OFFENSE: 1) Kidnapping & Rape of a White Woman!
2) Befriending a stranger & consorting with Caucasian females
3) Being Brown and providing a stereotype
4) Forcing victim to listen to Spanish music

SUSPECT: Hispanic Male - Little cheese with beeg peestola!
CAUTION: Armed & Dangerous, Dark & Mysterious

Albuquerque Police Department's response: Ahem, well ... not exactly (cough!). She broke the law but, we aren't going to charge her . . . either.

The Smoking Gun has obtained copies of eagerly anticipated official reports submitted by the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department regarding The Runaway Bride and the whopper she told them.

Jennifer Wilbanks is a story-teller with flair for the dramatic. In pornographic detail, this 32 year old woman told police how she was forced her to engage in sex acts with her abductors after they spirited her away at gunpoint. Allegedly, the perpetrators were a Hispanic male and his Caucasian female accomplice who spoke only Spanish and listened to Spanish music on their van's radio. They overpowered her and tied her up. Next, they forced her, at gunpoint, first to receive and then perform cunnilingus while she was simultaneously raped vaginally. According to the police report, Ms. Wilbanks claimed the female assailant demanded, "Now you can lick my pu**y." Poor Jennifer, fearing certain death, complied. Fortunately, the woman reached orgasm owing to Jennifer's efforts and this brought Jennifer's brutal sexual assault to an abrupt end. Finally, they took her cross-country and she ended up in Albuquerque where she was 'released.' Ms. Wilbanks' voice shook uncontrollably when she called 911.

Early on, the interviewing FBI Agents, accompanied by APD Detectives noted inconsistencies in her story. Within a few hours, they determined this upstanding pillar from a tiny Georgia town made the whole sordid story up. The real story was more mundane. Overwrought with anxiety about her upcoming wedding, Ms. Wilbanks went out for a run and just kept running. She cut her hair, hailed a cab to drive her 50 miles to the nearest bus station where she hopped on the Greyhound and headed for Sin City. The man and woman whom she spun the fiction about actually met her on her bus trip to Vegas. These fellow passengers just turned out to be a nice couple who befriended poor, confused Jennifer on her pre-meditated cross-country escape from her nuptial date with destiny. As it turned out, the 'sinister' couple was headed to Albuquerque via Las Vegas. Ms. Wilbanks, decided to follow them, and that’s how she ended up here. Something still doesn't jibe.

What a price to pay for befriending a recalcitrant bride on the lam; you get to be vilified as a deranged, over-sexed Spanish-speaking pair of S.O.B.'s who ravish a God-fearing white Southern Lady just days before her huge wedding. Never mind that it was all an insidious lie. What's more, no one speaks up about the moral outrage over damning incriminations leveled at an entire ethnic subset of the population.

Instead, APD decided this woman's convoluted lies that categorically disparaged all Latinos didn't end up even warranting a slap on the wrist. Well, that’s awfully white of them now isn’t it? How umm . . . nice! Thus, the myth that people of color are shifty evil-doers is saved until the next time someone is in a pickle and can claim it was 'one of them foreigners' who committed a heinous crime. The recently dusted off myth is conveniently put away . . . until next time. Justice is denied because this made-for-TV drama has come at an opportune time. It presents a badly-needed photo opportunity and a chance to create a positive spin for APD and its newly appointed Chief, Ray Schultz secondary to Ex-Chief Gil Gallegos suddenly resigned after the Evidence Room Scandal was blown wide open by a couple of whistle blowers.

But for the fact that Latinos and Blacks in this great nation's history have been lynched on words that later turned out to be self-serving, bald-faced lies, this might be funny. But for the fact that a bunch of kooks calling themselves 'Minutemen' - many of them armed - have decided to take up posts on America's southern border where they lie in wait for brown-skinned people to cross illegally, this might mean less. However, the media event could have turned out to be very different had Jennifer Wilbanks decided to continue with her confabulation. This could have easily have spelled disaster for otherwise innocent, hungry people simply seeking a better life in El Norte, like so many other immigrants who arrived in America, just as illegally, and not only from Latin America but from distant countries seperated from us by vast oceans. Someone could have been seriously hurt by the over-zealous, flag-waving vigilantes.

I am thankful APD and the FBI were able to ferret out the lies and elicit Jennifer Wilbanks' recantation of her story. Nonetheless, I fail to understand why they elected to forego turning the case over to the District Attorney's Office and having them decide whether to prosecute or not. The decision was shameful and embarrassing. It was mentioned by APD Public Information Officer, Trish Ahrensfeld, that at best, Ms. Wilbanks faced misdemeanors for her lying to the authorities so they decided not to press charges. Are they going to make this matter of standard operating procedure from now on? It sounds like a bad precedent to set. It sounds capricious and subjective. A misdemeanor is not a little white lie. It is an offense punishable by up to one year of jail incarceration. It leaves a permanent mark in the convicted person's criminal record. If it is no longer a crime to lie to police then, we need to take that law off the books. Consequently, this ill-thought decision by APD's top brass to let the matter go amounts a slap in the face of all law-abiding Latinos.

These days, post-9/11 American's want to believe with all their heart that the police are above reproach. The blind trust is a knee-jerk reaction to the terror that has struck a chord of mass anxiety in the heart of America. As such, police are looked upon as the only protection standing between terrorists and America's citizenry. People cannot deal with the dissonant possibility that these heroes are flawed in any way. In a world filled with fear, people are searching for consistency. They need and want to believe that police are the 'good guys.' As such, police have become virtually untouchable. One need not look beyond the recent APD Evidence Room Scandal brewing in this city. It has turned out to the worst corruption case in APD's history yet, not one person was charged and not one person was prosecuted; ostensibly to avoid bringing any further embarrassment to the already troubled Department. Since the citizens of Albuquerque are willing to overlook such blatant violations of the public trust, they unwittingly become parties to the crime; they succumb to the maxim that, "a society gets the kind of police force it deserves."

In conclusion, when I was a Cadet in my Police Academy, one of my instructors rightly pointed out, "a police force is nothing more than a reflection of the community it serves." The Evidence Room Scandal has shown us APD is unwilling to subject itself to the same scrutiny it devotes to catching bad guys. Moreover, the Runaway Bride case has shown us APD has cashed in on the public trust and now answers to no one. Apparently, when it comes to the rule of law, APD knows what's best.

An entire group of people have been disparaged and, for APD, it is business as usual. Who cares anyway right? The accused offenders were just a couple of fabrications right? They weren't real. They were just a couple of imaginary anonymous Spanish speakers who must have been illegal aliens; they still haven't shown up to cash in on it, to have their fifteem minutes of fame by talking about it yet. They shouldn't have been here anyway. Why should APD or anyone in this City, State or Nation give a damn about a couple of wetbacks right? While Jennifer Wilbanks' dominated the attention of the media nationwide, no body covered the kidnapping of a little Latino girl in Florida - which turned out to be true. If I am not mistaken, that little brown kid is still missing.

Welcome to America where everyone is created equal; some people just happen to be more equal than others. A woman from a family of means in the deep south ressurects old prejiduces and incites hatred and fear of Hispanics across the nation. It turns she is a big, fat liar and America vis a vis the media and Law Enforcement collectively shrugs their shoulders and say, "Oh well!" Meanwhile, a real, twelve-year old victim of kidnapping who just happens to be brown fails to rally the country around her? English Philosopher William Gladstone said, "Justice delayed is justice denied." Bigotry is alive and well in America and nobody is outraged. This story is not so funny after all.


At Mon May 23, 12:26:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you! The APD evidence scandal is appalling.

At Mon May 23, 01:02:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

I also wrote about this in another posting called "APD Above the Law ... Again" - Check it out in the archives . Also look at the posting I made called, "No I don't hate cops, Far from it" - My comment in respponse to someone's post has some deeper perspectives you may be interested. Thanks for posting and keep coming back!



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