Skip to comments.Expect tire-slashing charges Monday (Milwaukee)
Posted on 01/23/2005 8:03:05 AM PST by Jean S
Cary Spivak &
E-MAIL | ARCHIVE
The investigation into the Great Tire-Slashing Caper will end Monday with felony charges against the adult sons of two prominent Milwaukee politicians - U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt.
Sources close to the 83-day-old probe said Sowande Omokunde, Michael Pratt and three other paid Democratic activists will each be charged with a single felony count of criminal damage to property, legalese for vandalism.
Omokunde, also known as Supreme Solar Allah, is the 25-year-old son of the rookie congresswoman. Pratt, 32, worked on Kerry's local campaign, which was chaired by his father.
Pratt, Omokunde and the other staffers will be accused of cutting the tires of some 20 vans and cars rented by the state Republican Party to usher the party faithful to and from the polls on election day. The charges will state that the damage to the vehicles was well in excess of $2,500 - the minimum required to merit a felony.
Expect a gaggle of reporters and photographers for the Monday morning news conference by District Attorney E. Michael McCann to announce the charges and for an initial court appearance by the soon-to-be defendants in the early afternoon.
Omokunde's lawyer, Robin Shellow, confirmed she's been told her client will be charged Monday. "It is my understanding that it's scheduled for 1:30," she said about the court appearance, declining further comment.
Other Democrats who have been arrested and released by police but not charged are: Lewis Gibson Caldwell III, 28, and Lavelle Mohammad, 35, both of Milwaukee; and Justin J. Howell, 20, of Racine.
Caldwell's lawyer, Craig Mastantuono, said he also has been told by the DA's office that his guy would be charged on Monday. Sources indicated that the criminal complaint also will name Mohammad and Howell.
Lawyers for the other suspects could not be reached or declined to comment.
Sources said that with McCann's decision to file felony charges, it is highly unlikely that U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic would also hit the suspects with a federal complaint. Those insiders said it is rare for the feds to pile on charges that would be very similar to those filed by local authorities.
The slashings and the lengthy investigation by local cops and the FBI have been the talk of the town for a couple of months. McCann, a Democrat, has been under fire from Republicans for the time he's taken to press charges against the Democratic activists.
The police probe started on the morning of Nov. 2, when officials discovered that vandals had shredded about two dozen tires on 20 vehicles rented by the state GOP. The vehicles were parked in the 7100 block of W. Capitol Drive.
That night, police arrested Opel Simmons III, a veteran Democratic activist who was in town drumming up support for U.S. Sen. John Kerry's failed presidential campaign. Simmons, who was held by Milwaukee authorities for two days, is back in Virginia and is not expected to be charged, sources said.
As part of the case, FBI agents interviewed witnesses in four states from New York to Georgia, though none of those out-of-staters is expected to be charged. Those Democrats were also here to help with the Kerry effort.
Sources say that investigators caught a break in the case because the slashings quickly became the talk of the Kerry headquarters on the morning of Nov. 2.
"People came back and bragged about what they did," said one source.
Added a second: "Ultimately, they didn't see this as a badge of shame that they needed to hide from their co-workers."
But nothing in this case is as simple as it first appears.
Look for the defense lawyers to use the classic "some other dudes did it" defense - pointing an accusing finger at the out-of-staters, who are expected to be the star witnesses for the prosecution.
Making things even dicier is the lack of damning physical evidence. "There will be a strong suggestion on the defense part that the people who are (making the accusations) may have slashed the tires themselves," said one lawyer familiar with the case.
On top of everything else, this case has garnered national attention because two of the suspects come from politically connected Democratic families and because the tires were sliced up supposedly to prevent Republicans from getting to the polls.
No doubt, with Monday's charges, it will remain in the spotlight.
"It's like when you slash the tires of the police chief," explained one law enforcement type. "It's much more than the slashing. It's why did you do it. It makes the same act more serious."
At the same time, another lawyer suggested that everyone keep things in perspective. This, after all, is not a murder case.
"These aren't just ordinary tires," the lawyer cracked. "These are tires that had their civil rights violated."
One gets the sense that these reporters approved of this incident.
Just a resume enhancement for 4 future Democrat politicians from Milwaukee.
I still think they will plea bargain it down to a misdemeanor before it's over.
Hopefully these crooked dems get the book thrown at them.
Other news from Wisconsin.
Imagine if the Bush twins pulled a stunt like this.
These reporters are fair.
Isn't this an attempt to interfere with people's right to vote?
To stop them voting? That sounds like felony to me.
This isn't just a frivolous tire slashing.
I looked up on the court case search and didn't find Gwen's son's name. Are there other spellings?
Some of these names sound like Jihad in America in action.
I agree, but generally politicians don't file felony charges against other politicians kids, because after the next election it may be their kid or grandkid that needs help.
I'll take your word for it. I'm not used to fair reporters here in Houston.
We don't have too many of them either. IMO, they're kind of middle of the road.
'Bout time they started doing just that. Until then, this nonsense will continue. I sure would love it if AG Gonzales put vote fraud among his top agenda items.
Is it just me, or does this sound like a brand name for a tin-foil hat?
Supreme Solar Allah (AKA Something Umpronouncable) should plead "not guilty by reason of insanity". Anyone who's momma gave him a name like his birth name is likely to be nuttier than a fruitcake.
"Supreme Solar Allah"? LOL! An example of what Bill Cosby was talking about.
Sounds like a great family Congressperson Gwen has there.
I say life without parole.
Perhaps "political beliefs" needs to be added to the Constitutional protections of race/religion/color AND NOW sexual practices.
It will be the only way to see hate crimes laws applied against Democrat brownshirts who attack Republicans.
"legalese for vandalism"
Are there any WI lawyers in here that can confirm that criminal damage to property and vandalism are the same thing? I thought criminal damage was a more serious offense. The authors are trying to downplay the seriousness of the charge.
I wonder if the "power outage" at the GOP headquarters in Pittsburgh was ever explained (DNC office across the street had power). The power did come back on before the polls closed.
A good ol fashioned dragging is a fitting punishment.
Logging chains on a pickup trailer hitch, twice around the courthouse.
A Democrat and a Muslim...another member of the party of enlightenment and the religion of peace.
Supreme Solar Allah...you got to be kidding me, I guess slashing must be an elevated art in the religion of death and hate!
As despicable and hypocritical as this episode was, I have to admit I laughed at this line. Nothing like Dems making fun of their own time-tested rhetoric.
The pressure on McCann't must have been immense. Under normal circumstances these guys would have been bargained down to municipal disorderly conduct tickets.
Hopefully, the US Attorney is keeping a close eye on this case.
"To stop them voting? That sounds like felony to me."
Yes, and since it was a PRESIDENTIAL election it sounds like a FEDERAL offense to me.
This vandalism should be brought up and thrown in the face of any democrat, any place, any time, who talks about voter supression or intimidation, etc.
Under normal circumstances, these guys would have been given a prize.
Especially since President Bush lost Wisconsin by fewer votes than Kerry lost Ohio.
Not quite, but image the hullabaloo if the party affiliations and races had been reversed. (White Republicans slashing tires of a Democratic organization in a Black neighborhood.)
Could be the Feds let'im know they'd go for Federal Indictments if he didn't go for Felonies!
Hate crimes laws permit the persecution of Christians, white folk, heterosexuals, and Republicans.
They codify liberal political correctness.
Soon BEING a Christian who believes in the Bible or a Republican could in and of itself become a "hate" crime.
Federal prosecutions could still be applied I would think. Just as a person can be tried for civil and criminal offenses.
Is it just me, or does this sound like a brand name for a tin-foil hat?
It sounds like the name of someone who Spiderman would fight.
Just to clear the record the tire slashing occurred on 71st and Capitol in Milwaukee which *is* a black neighborhood. Perhaps that made it easier for these boyz to do the task and not be immediately spotted.
The Democrats have been crying and shouting voter fraud and disenfranchisement. Well this incident and the Washington Governor's election debacle show who are the real culprits in this past election.
I think the Democrats have a lot to answer for.
CREAM CITY MENTORS
2438 N. Bremen St.
Contacts: Supreme Solar Allah & Self Wise Allah
Cream City Mentors, a nonprofit organization established in 1999, enhances the lives of youth ages 12 to 17 through three main goals: Citizenship, Exposure, and Empowerment. The mentors provide positive guidance, homework tutoring, field trips, and sharing of wisdom to help youth expand their self-confidence, creativity, and individual talents. Call the number above to enroll or inquire about their programs.
Bush won Ohio. Kerry won Wisconsin. Bush won by a far greater number of vote than Kerry yet the Democrats insisted that the vote was suppressed in Ohio.
Misdirection in action. The talent of any good magician in making scandals disappear.
Regardless, change any one element in the story and imagine the hulabaloo in the press. In stead of Conyers and Boxer alone, the Democrats would have walked out on the certification process.
Why haven't the Feds gotten involved? This was clearly an effort to supress voting - a violation of the Voting Right Act.
I don't see anything "fair" here. I see a bunch of snickering and sneering at Republicans for having the temerity to press charges. I also see lots of sarcastic little jabs and nothing but "this incident and the people it happened to (Republicans) are so far beneath us" contempt just oozing from every word.
Does anyone doubt that if these had been democrat vans that had had the tires slashed by Republican campaign workers, there would be mass demonstrations in the streets, outraged editorials in every MSM outlet demanding federal charges for this "hate crime", and wall to wall coverage of McCain, Hagel and Lindsey Graham wringing their hands and bemoaning the takeover of the Republican Party by the "extreme religious right"? Or that these two writers would be at the head of that howling pack?
Now I haven't read any of the other stuff these two have written, so maybe it's better than this. But going on this alone, I'd have to conclude that that they're just a couple more leftist hack Kieth Olberman wannabes.
This was my first thought?
the demonRATS charge Pubbies of doing this in Floor-ra-duh; and Ohio...
The locals file a felony charge to preempt the feds doing so, then the local prosecutors throw the case, so the perps walk
To paraphrase Dave Barry, it doesn't even sound like a good name for a rock and roll band...
DEMOCRATS DELIBERATELY DISENFRANCHISED VOTERS ON NOVEMBER 2ND.
I wonder if John Kerry is aware of this. Or Jesse Jackson. They should be notified of a clear case of vote suppression. And whoever decides about federal charges, should certainly have this case put up close to his nose so he can smell it accurately. It is not mere vandalism.
What is it about people named after Allah and Mohammad that makes them such violent types prone to trying to overthrow governments?
Co-inky-dink I am sure.
Violent types adopt the name Allah and Mohammed so they can use Islam as an excuse to do destruction and murder.
Here's the story...Supreme Solar Allah
Friends, I swear to you that is his real name
He had been out playing tricks and slashing tires
That's how he's come to fame
Here's the story...of his mom named Gwen Moore
She had raised him to hate the GOP
She will soon leave to go serve in Congress
Maxine she'll love to see
As we watch this story playing out with interest
We all know just where this thing is gonna go
Supreme Solar Allah was arrested
He's a victim as a black man, don't you know
You ought to know...you ought to know
He's arrested because he's black, you know