Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Special Prosecutor Keith Fetz at the Press Conference to Announce the Trophy-Gate 2014 Investigative Findings
Jeffersonville, IN. ~ Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Good morning and thank you all for joining us. Thank you, Pesty, for your work in Clark County and across the country. The GAWNEWS Administrative Office and Goliath himself has been an important partner in this investigation, and we thank you for your leadership. We are here this morning to announce the results of the investigation of the Trophy-Gate 2014.
Our team of attorneys and staff from both the GAWNEWS Internet Division and the Special Prosecution Office have been working hard to complete a thorough and independent review of the coveted GAWNEWS Internet award that was bestowed upon H.T. for his BatBlog. When we opened this investigation in early 2014, we set out to uncover the facts and to follow them wherever they took us. I am here today to report that we have done just that. Since opening the investigation, the team has conducted an exhaustive review of the process for which the recipient of said honor was awarded to determine not only whether a pattern or practice of collusion or bribery was present, but also to pin-point those involved and factors contributing to that pattern or practice.
We conducted hundreds of witness interviews, including officers, city officials, and community members who have been affected by these false pretenses. We examined thousands of pages of documents, including incident reports, internal investigations, internet files, and external oversight and GAWNEWS task force reports. We conducted community meetings across the area to share information about our investigation and to listen to the community’s concerns. We conducted numerous undercover field operations and held exit briefings with GAWNEWS leadership. We heard from hundreds of GAWNEWS community members through our toll-free hotline we established to allow anyone with relevant information to share it with us wherever they were.
We engaged expert law enforcement consultants to assist in our evaluation.
This investigation was not an easy task, but through all of these efforts, we made certain to gather the facts and apply a systematic approach to the facts to reach our conclusions.
We thank the Goliath and the GAWNEWS Team for their cooperation throughout the investigation.
We have determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that H.T. was and still is engaging in a pattern or practice of use of excessive blog-squatting, including the use of dull, thoughtless and downright pitiful blog posts on GAWNEWS in an effort to drive traffic to his Batblog. This conduct violates the Pitiful Journalism Control and Blog Enforcement Act of 1994, a powerful civil rights law that has allowed us to reform horrible internet postings across the world, large and small, including posts on the CCC, The Oracle’s Lounge, and the now defunct Hey Martha. We continue to work with other Blog Owners across the country and world.
In brief, we found that H.T. not only engaged in a practice of Blog-Squatting, but also intimidation of or tampering with an internet contest by using excessive force during encounters with GSL.
Specifically we found that:
- H.T used brutal force in an unconstitutional manner. Our investigation looked at H.T.-involved torture sessions that resulted in fatalities of several Goliath Compound Chickens in the months leading up to the award being presented and found that a majority of them were violated in a most disrespectful setting. We found that H.T. used force against GSL on numerous occasions, and against several Wimmens who posed zero threat.
- We found that H.T. used other types of less lethal force, especially electronic control weapons, or Tasers, in an unconstitutional manner. Our investigation looked beyond just the use of deadly force and found a significant number of improper uses of force in our review of over 200 force reports generated in the months leading up to the award presentation. We found that H.T. routinely fired his Taser, which discharge 50,000 volts of electricity, against several chickens who were passively resisting and non-threatening or who were unable to comply with orders due to their mental state. Indeed, we found that encounters between H.T. and Chickens with mental illness or in crisis too frequently resulted in heinous acts being carried out and GSL being forced to watch in fear for his own life.
Our investigation revealed that the motivation of these practices were systemic and resulted from H.T.’s emotional deficiencies. Chief among these deficiencies is the failure to marry or move-out from his parent’s basement after graduating high school in 1977. These emotional deficiencies, combined with poor self-esteem issues, horrible journalistic capabilities, and a haunting memory of being forced to escort his older sister to his senior prom have help contribute to the use of excessive force and intimidating persuasion of GSL for the GAWNEWS Internet Award.
Our findings are set out in writing in a letter that we shared with Goliath, GAWNEWS Stringers, and other Internet officials this morning.
I want to pause for a moment now to speak to two important groups that are affected most directly by our findings.
To members of the GAWNEWS community who have shown a tremendous interest in our investigation, we thank you for your partnership and support. With your assistance, we were able to reach hundreds of readers and others who wanted to share their experiences with us. We know that some of you are reading this today, and I want to share my appreciation for your participation and your leadership in the GAWNEWS community. We know that some of you have lost faith in the integrity of the process of awarding this coveted trophy and others of you have experienced pain in deeply personal ways. We thank you for coming forward and sharing your stories. Although we were unable to include every incident of excessive force in our findings, the information you provided was invaluable. To all of those individuals who came forward to speak with us, we heard you and we hope to continue working with you to find solutions and a path forward. Together, with you, GAWNEWS, and the local internet community, we hope to help heal the readers at this critical time and help give them the support and tools they needs to keep the blog safe while guaranteeing a fair and accurate awarding of the trophy.
At the conclusion of these findings, we ask for your recommendations on how to deal with H.T. and his crimes against GSL, GAWNEWS, Goliaths Chickens, and most importantly you the readers and GAWNEWS community.
GAWNEWS has recognized the need for change and have outlined a series of steps that we will be taking to improve the integrity we cherish from our readers. We welcome these initial steps toward systemic reform. In fact, it is notable that just yesterday; we hired a private contractor to conduct all future contests in order to preserve the integrity of the process.
We met with GSL, Pesty, and Goliath, among others, last night and will meet with them again this evening to begin a sustained process toward reform. We look forward to productive discussions on an ongoing basis.
We will continue to actively engage all stakeholders in the process of developing and implementing a comprehensive set of remedies designed to ensure that all GAWNEWS services meet this goal. A key part of our task is to ensure that the hard work of the many men and women of GAWNEWS who serve honorably is not overshadowed by the unlawful behavior of others or by institutional deficiencies that make an already difficult job that much harder. We will remain actively engaged for as long as necessary to ensure sustainable reform and to help restore the community’s trust in GAWNEWS. We look forward to a continuing partnership to advance the goals we all share.