Lately the public has discovered that there is virtually no transparency in Oklahoma City. The ex parte hearings, and deleted emails highlight this perfectly. The first batch of released emails showed items of interest to any defense attorney, in spite of the claims to the contrary. The sleight-of-email-hand that Elaine Taylor played in attempting to refocus the attention on the DNA results in question to a completely different set of results was interesting. The glaring lack of any mention of ongoing training requirements for technicians was also interesting. The fact that the email account was deleted was interesting, too.
Now a second batch of emails has been released. Thanks to Michelle Malkin’s MuckRock filing, the response, available to the public, was also very interesting. Attention to detail is something that either Oklahoma City doesn’t practice, or something they hope others don’t practice. If you do pay attention to detail, you can easily see the ongoing game of hide-and-go-seek being played out. It shows in the turn of phrase, and unrealistic expectations.
In the cover letter response to Michelle Malkin’s request, the Litigation Division Head Richard Smith makes some statements that seem legitimate on the surface. However, once you learn to treat information like a bar of lead painted gold, it isn’t so clear cut. Scratch the surface just a bit and the lead is revealed. The usual justification is there, declaring the email accounts for Elaine Taylor and Kim Davis had been deleted. In the same paragraph, an uncertainty as to meaning is also expressed.
This is where the attention to detail comes in to play. The email accounts were deleted since the two employees in question had retired. There was no litigation hold placed on them. If you read their own manual, it states who can place the litigation hold. The pesky detail is that the people that could place the hold didn’t. In an attempt to stand up to scrutiny, the city has tried to spin this oversight as a failure of Daniel Holtzclaw, or his attorneys. Again, this sounds legitimate on the surface. It doesn’t hold up through the scratch test, though.
How would Daniel Holtzclaw or his attorneys know of this rule to start with? How would they know these employees were retiring, and the hold was needed? There is no legitimate way that either of these things would be known. No matter how hard the city tries to shift the blame, the onus is on them. They failed to preserve these email accounts. The fact that they are most certainly aware of ongoing litigation only makes the matter worse. They could not reasonably expect that the request for a litigation hold come from anyone that does not know the inner workings of the city. Unless notices were sent out announcing retirements, no one outside of the city would have known about those either.
To add insult to injury is the claim that Richard C. Smith (the Litigation Division Head) is “not sure what you mean by any other communications.” Surely someone has access to a dictionary. Any other communications sounds fairly self-explanatory. Anything other than the specifically requested emails. Are there post it notes, field notes or notebooks, recordings of phone communications, texts, cuneiform, or anything else? If not, it certainly doesn’t speak well of the investigative prowess of Kim Davis. It doesn’t speak well to the documentation prowess of Elaine Taylor, either.
And finally, the claim that there was nothing in Rocky Gregory or Tim Muzney’s emails that satisfied her FOIA request is ludicrous on its face. Oklahoma City would have appeared better had they provided redacted emails. Instead they insult the intelligence of the public by claiming no emails at all. I hope they have spent at least a little time choosing their team, because it looks like a rousing game of Red Rover is coming up next.
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