Where Things Stand

City Attorney’s Office,

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the FWPD OIA’s handling of my two sworn complaints. 

The OIA continues to direct its investigative efforts onto Det. [REDACTED]. This maneuvering places the OIA in conflict with the understanding of the Attorney General (see attached) and FBI (whom I have met in person) and every state and U.S. senator and representative in our county, who by now have received certified packages that contain clear evidence of obstruction of justice committed by members of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office. 

My hope is that the OIA will acknowledge what happened and update its stance to reflect the understanding of an increasing number of public officials and law enforcement agencies. According to two FWPD officers and the DA’s own documentation, a wealthy local family used their DA connections to strong-arm two FWPD officers toward the aim of separating a small child from her father.

If that were not enough, the DA, through its State Disclosure, insulted Det. [REDACTED] by describing her as having a history of not being responsive. I have personally viewed every employee record of hers, and I can say that she had no such reputation.  

My lawyer Sean Lynch will gladly communicate the ongoing efforts that this family and their army of lawyers have gone through to use the fruits of their strongarming to separate this child from her paternal family through family courts.

Det. [REDACTED] was the victim of strongarming by members of the DA and potentially members of our police force. The individuals who interfered, strongarmed, and ultimately dictated how Det. [REDACTED] worked her case should be questioned, and charges of obstruction of justice should be considered where there is sufficient evidence. 

I wish for a full examination of my case to be conducted and for certain questions to be asked. 

Why did the sergeant describe the victim as having “countless DA connections.” Why were the FWPD complaints to ADA [REDACTED] never addressed? What were those complaints? Why is Tarrant County’s largest criminal defense firm listed as the connection between [REDACTED] and her “countless DA connections” by the DA and what role did family connections play in that connection?

I believe it is reasonable to allow my councilmember to view communications related to my initial investigation. If Lt. [REDACTED] is correct, and there was no evidence of wrongdoing, this should be a reasonable request. Any efforts to rectify this situation would be greatly appreciated by my family and me. 

Edward Brown

Jan 13, 2020

Ken

The Obstruction of Justice Playbook

If there were an Obstruction of Justice Playbook, Chapter 1 may well read like this.

Step 1: Before strongarming a peace officer into complying with your wishes, take steps to discredit the peace officer. 

This, of course, is what members of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office did, based on DA documents, in a matter that personally involves me. Before using “countless DA connections” to strongarm two peace officers into complying with the wishes of a local, wealthy family, members of the DA made the following assertions.

The peace officer involved in my case “didn’t do her job,” and she “has a history of not being responsive.”

Remember, by doing their job, the officers were getting in the way of the DA’s desire to do a favor for a local, well-connected family. The peace officers certainly did not believe that they were not doing their job. They did not believe that a crime had been committed, according to a FWPD email. 

There is an objective way to look at the DA’s assertion that this officer has a history of not being responsive. I requested a copy of this officer’s decades-long work history file from FWPD to see if the DA’s office was right. Did this officer truly have issues with responsiveness, or was the DA using this individual as a scapegoat to justify unethical and potentially criminal actions they were about to undertake. 

  • 2016 commendation for aid in apprehending a fugitive
  • 2011 commendation for handling a high case load with distinction
  • 2011 commendation for contacting the victim of excessive phone calls
  • 2011 commendation for not having overdue prisoners for 150 days
  • 2009 commendation for assisting in recovery $100,000 in stolen property

The list goes on and on. The officer’s performance reviews average close to four stars (the highest rating). 233 pages of personnel files contradict the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office assertion that the detective has a history of not being responsive to victims. Was the DA right about these peace officers, or were members of Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office taking a note from the Obstruction of Justice Playbook?

Edward Brown writes about music, arts, and news for a variety of publications. He’s an award-winning writer for the Fort Worth Weekly and volunteers for numerous Fort Worth nonprofits. He regularly contributes to Visit Fort Worth and Madeworthy Magazine. 

Update: U.S. Representative Kay Granger has notified me that her office “was able to forward your concerns to the FBI for their review. Please note that the FBI may reach out to you directly.”

Update: The Texas Attorney General’s office has replied to my request for an investigation and provided details on how to proceed. 

For further reading:

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Letter of Refusal

What Does Obstruction of Justice Look Like?

Where Things Stand

Roadblocks

Ken

Balance of Power

Many professional (and personal, for that matter) relationships are adversarial and collaborative at different times. Take my work as a professional writer. I need editors for my stories to get ink and to land on readers’ laps. I know that my editors may cut and rewrite my work at their pleasure. Editors need my original research and understanding of complex situations. Aside from the occasional kerfuffle, the system works. 

The relationship between police and district attorney offices is not much different. Police need their DA to prosecute criminals, and the DA needs the carefully documenting evidence collected by police to ensure that cases are successfully prosecuted. One cannot exist without the other.

If Fort Worth, our detectives work through what is called Case Investigation and Preparation guidelines that detail the steps involved in case management. There are 13 steps and numerous sub-steps that FWPD officers must follow. In short, detectives gather evidence and present those cases to an intake attorney at Tarrant County District Attorney’s office who either accepts, rejects, requests further work on the case. 

Having read this document in great detail, I can tell you that the county has no procedural means of compelling FWPD to submit cases. The DA can obtain a subpoena for specific information, and the DA maintains that it can bring a case forward using a rare event called a “Direct Case,” which involves a fatality and sitting jury. 

As I have found out through my personal case, the DA can and does work outside this framework. TCDA’s Disclosure details a very different system that allows ADAs to meet with alleged victims in private to formulate plans to compel FWPD officers to go against their better judgment regarding a case. 

Here is a quote for the DA:

“The way they got the police to refer it over was based on that one incident. The ADA told [REDACTED] that [the DA was] going to add charges and also to look into stalking.”

It was around the time that the DA document was drafted that a local peace officer warned me of the outside meddling.

If this were a case where a known felon or murderer was on the loose and FWPD was knowingly aiding that criminal, I imagine most Tarrant County residents would welcome any efforts (inside or outside of stated procedures) that worked toward the public good. In my case, the DA was working to place legal barriers between myself and a close relative at the request of a well-connected family. Intervening in a civil suit seems like a curious interest for the TCDA, to say the least. This may be why our city and county rely on clear guidelines to keep the balance of power, well, balanced. 

For further reading:

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Letter of Refusal

What Does Obstruction of Justice Look Like?

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Letter of Refusal

I received my first letter of refusal in third grade. Her name was Tanya. Or Tonya. She had brown hair, and something about her left my 8-year-old self smitten. I put pen to paper and poured my heart out.

“I like you,” the letter read. “Do you like me back?”

As I unfolded her reply, there it was. My letter of refusal. An unmistakable circle of despair encircled the word “no.” (I had left two options for her to circle.)

Flash forward 28 years, and I received a very different letter of refusal. This one had little to do with a playground fling and much to do with a criminal charge of harassment. An intake lawyer with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office had issued this ignominious decision to someone. Let’s call her Patsy. On January 9, Patsy was given the gist of this letter.

And that would have been the end of it were it not for personal connections and influence. As children, letters of refusal mean just that: refusal. As adults, other factors come into play. Several months after the January rejection of Patsy’s efforts, I received a call from a peace officer.

“Ask for a copy of the Letter of Refusal,” I was warned.

The phone call was free legal advice from a concerned public servant who witnessed obstruction of justice committed by members of the DA’s office. I took the advice seriously. Something about this letter would undermine the DA’s efforts to disrupt an ongoing civil case against the wishes of a well-connected family. I queried FWPD. According to FWPD’s case investigation and preparation guidelines, which I obtained, “This refusal must be kept by the detective along with all reports.”

FWPD’s response was that they never received this document. The DA’s office can’t seem to find it. One Attorney General complaint later, The case of the Mysterious Missing Letter of Refusal goes on, but for not much longer. I have several legal remedies for this problem. Stay tuned. 

Update: U.S. Representative Kay Granger has notified me that her office “was able to forward your concerns to the FBI for their review. Please note that the FBI may reach out to you directly.”

 

 

Obstruction of Justice in Tarrant County

Did members of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office commit criminal obstruction of justice as a favor for a local wealthy family? What are the implications for the subsequently attempted cover-up by the Fort Worth Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs?

Update: U.S. Representative Kay Granger has notified me that her office “was able to forward your concerns to the FBI for their review. Please note that the FBI may reach out to you directly.”

Update: Sen. Jane Nelson replied, “Public corruption is a serious allegation. I have contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety, which informed me that complaints may be filed with the Rangers.”

One of the most pervasive criticisms of our criminal justice system is that it favors the well-connected and targets the poor and vulnerable. This criticism is not without merit. In Tarrant County, knowing the right people at the DA’s office can lend you the resources to strong-arm Fort Worth’s peace officers with little to no risk of being held accountable.

I have spent the last several months documenting and collecting evidence of nepotism, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice at the highest positions of power in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Through sworn complaints, public speeches, countless letters, and this blog, I plan to raise public awareness of unethical and potentially illegal acts that were committed by high-ranking officials in Tarrant County.

MY FIRST TIP: A PEACE OFFICER WHISTLEBLOWER

Last June, a law enforcement officer who observed obstruction of justice verbally recounted the wrongdoing to me through a phone call. Members of the District Attorney’s office were using their positions to interfere with a custody suit on behalf of a local, well-connected family, I was told. The officer asked to remain anonymous, and I have only provided that individual’s name to my editors at the Weekly. Everything recounted in this blog reflects my personal views and research and does not reflect the views of any publication I work for.

The suit personally involves me, and I am unable to provide any details related to the ongoing legal battle until it is fully resolved. Suffice to say, a wealthy family does not want that effort to end in my favor, and they have had the support of the DA’s office as well as multiple members of the FWPD, according to DA documents and emails I later retrieved through open records requests (see below).

As DA documents recounted (see below), an intake attorney met extensively with one member of this well-connected family early in 2019 when they formulated a plan to disrupt an ongoing family custody suit. The Assistant District Attorney, according to the DA, had initially rejected the individual’s efforts to press harassment charges against me. After personal connections were used, according to the DA, the individual was given entry into the DA’s office and, according to one FWPD officer, “countless DA connections.”

OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

The efforts of the ADA and this individual resulted in the “strong-arming” of two FWPD officers into forwarding the very harassment changes that the DA had rejected only months before. The ADA, according to DA documents, promised this well-connected individual that multiple criminal charges would be brought once FWPD was forced to comply.

It is worth noting that the DA documented its efforts to plan and execute criminal obstruction of justice. A FWPD email that I later obtained describes the criminal acts from the point of view of a FWPD who was warning her Lieutenant of the then-ongoing obstruction. Obstruction of justice is described under Texas criminal law.

PENAL CODE TITLE 8. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

CHAPTER 38. OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENTAL OPERATION

Sec. 38.15. INTERFERENCE WITH PUBLIC DUTIES. (a) A person commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or otherwise interferes with:

(1) a peace officer while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted by law

ATTEMPTED COVER-UP

One would imagine that the City of Fort Worth or FWPD would take an interest in documented strongarming of FWPD officers by the DA’s office. On August 26, 2019, I filed a sworn complaint with the City of Fort Worth after learning from a first-hand source that the District Attorney’s office had strong-armed FWPD into complying with the wishes of a well-connected local family.

In response to my sworn complaint, FWPD’s Office of Internal Affairs responded with misleading and false statements that were intended to cover up wrongdoing by the DA’s office.

Email from FWPD Det. Chadwick Scroggins, September 11:

Once again, I was informed that [the officer] was not pressured or influenced in her actions regarding your case by anyone from the DA’s office or her chain of command.

There was also no evidence that showed that she was at any time, improperly influenced by anyone from her chain of command or the DA’s office. It is because of that lack of evidence that our investigation has been closed.

Phone call transcript from Lt. Walls, September 2019:

We have looked into it extensively. If I had anything to tell you or evidence that the DA was influencing us, I’d tell ya. I’d tell the DA. If there was evidence of misconduct. I can’t find any of that on our end. […] There was a meeting about your case. The DA who had scheduled this meeting had taken a month off. […] We did not find evidence of influence. I’m telling you what we’ve found. We found no influence.

WHAT’S NEXT?

After observing and documenting these acts, I have filed sworn complaints with FWPD Chief Ed Kraus, DA Sharen Wilson, Criminal Division Chief Larry Moore, Mayor Betsy Price, and the City of Fort Worth. I have spoken at city council and Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court. I have mailed certified packages to every state representative and senator in Tarrant County. The response has been silence.

FBI
Photo from my visit to the local FBI branch.

Our elected officials continue to choose supporting criminal acts, so my efforts to raise public awareness of these events continue elsewhere. Daily, I am communicating these events to local journalists, politicians, and community leaders. I am seeking public speaking events and publications through media outlets.

If you have any connections with the Texas Rangers, FBI, or any law enforcement agency, I welcome your support. My email is ejb0017@yahoo.com.

Edward Brown writes about music, arts, and news for a variety of publications. He’s an award-winning writer for the Fort Worth Weekly and volunteers for numerous Fort Worth nonprofits. He regularly contributes to Visit Fort Worth and Madeworthy Magazine. 

New

Honorable DA Sharen Wilson,

I was advised by the Attorney General via the enclosed letter to contact your office to discuss documented interference in a FWPD investigation. The interference, according to your office and two FWPD officers, was conducted at the request of a local family that maintains close ties with the DA.

Please respond in writing that your office will or will not fulfill the AG’s request to appoint a District Attorney Pro Tem to act as a prosecutor in this matter.

Signed,

Edward Brown

Jan 10, 2020

Abbott

Ken

Dunn

Criminal Division Chief Larry Moore,

Based on first-hand conversations I have had with FWPD officials and DA documents that I have read, it is my belief that one or more DA officials knowingly acted in a manner that has interfered with an ongoing […] suit. In this letter, I will detail the events and individuals who likely acted on behalf of my REDACTED’s family and against the interests of my daughter. My daughter, whom I have never seen, is now 18 months old.

On January 9, my REDACTED was notified that her case would not be accepted by the DA’s office. The DA had determined that my REDACTED was motivated by a desire to keep her daughter from seeing her father. A law enforcement official who read this document described the internal opinion to me. After the DA’s opinion was issued, one or more DA officials began acting on my REDACTED’s behalf and against the judgment of the FWPD in an effort to criminalize my efforts to see my child.

By June 17 of this year, according to the DA, REDACTED had met with an ADA around 10  times. My REDACTED the ADA discussed ways that I could be charged with harassment even though the DA’s stated opinion of REDACTED’s efforts were known and documented.

Here is an excerpt from the DA’s description of the case:

“The way they got the police to refer it over was based on that one incident. The ADA told [REDACTED] that [the DA was] going to add charges and also to look into stalking.”

The one incident refers to my attempt to communicate with the grown male who was hiding my child from me in his home for several months. My [REDACTED] father never allowed our family to see or hear from our child. On March 28, [REDACTED] was served orders to begin a child custody suit to unite my daughter with her father. My [REDACTED] described FWPD’s intentions to not pursue her case given her past documented behavior.

FWPD “officers don’t like to refer it over to” the DA’s office, according to the DA document.

On May 1, and after numerous meetings with [REDACTED], the ADA stated that “it did not matter who sent the phone records (referring to someone other than my [REDACTED]. Allowing my [REDACTED] father’s phone to ring is abusive.”

After the ADA and my [REDACTED] determined how they would criminalize my attempts to reach my child, as described in the DA’s own document, an effort began to compel FWPD to bring the case forward. I base this understanding on three sources: a first-hand conversation with a law enforcement officer who observed the DA’s interference, the DA’s description of its actions, and a conversation I had with Lt. Walls. In that conversation, he described a meeting between FWPD and the DA where my case was discussed.

I have filed a sworn complaint with the City of Fort Worth and have met with one member of the City Attorney’s office in person. I am using that complaint to determine which members of FWPD pressured Det. Dunn to submit [REDACTED]’s file. If members of FWPD did work at the behest of a member of the [REDACTED] family, they violated FWPD’s ethics code. My conversations with FWPD have included Det. Scroggins and Lt. Walls.

In short, I have documented and continue to document this summary of the DA’s actions:

Last January, the District Attorney’s office concluded that my [REDACTED]’s efforts to press charges were motivated by a desire to separate my daughter from her father. After reaching this conclusion, the DA’s office underwent a lengthy and documented effort to aid my [REDACTED] in her efforts to separate my daughter from her father. Around March 28, when my [REDACTED] was notified of the ongoing Tarrant County Family Court custody suit, the ADA met with my [REDACTED] extensively. Together, according to the DA, they formulated a plan that allowed them to force FWPD to hand over documents related to my case. Those efforts have complicated the ongoing [REDACED] suit, according to my lawyer, Sean Lynch.

It should be asked why a law enforcement official would risk his or her own career to share intimate details about my case. The answer is that the peace officer was disturbed to witness a wealthy and well-connected family use the DA to serve the aim of separating a small child from her father.

Everything I have described in this letter is based on primary sources: Tarrant County District Attorney documents, first-person conversations with law enforcement individuals, and communications related to my sworn complaint with the City of Fort Worth.

The ramifications of these documented incidents should not be underestimated. I wish for this case to be reviewed and to be given a contact at the DA’s office whom I can meet with in person.

Regards,

Edward Brown

Further reading: The Obstruction of Justice Playbook

Roadblocks

Documents

What Does Obstruction of Justice Look Like?

Did members of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office commit criminal obstruction of justice to do a favor for a local wealthy family? What are the implications for the subsequently attempted cover-up by the Fort Worth Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs?

Update: U.S. Representative Kay Granger has notified me that her office “was able to forward your concerns to the FBI for their review. Please note that the FBI may reach out to you directly.”

One of the most pervasive criticisms of our criminal justice system is that it favors the well-connected and targets the poor and vulnerable. This criticism is not without merit. In Tarrant County, knowing the right people at the DA’s office can lend you the resources to strong-arm Fort Worth’s peace officers with little to no risk of being held accountable. 

I have spent the last several months documenting and collecting evidence of nepotism, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice at the highest positions of power in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Through sworn complaints, public speeches, countless letters, and this blog, I plan to raise public awareness of unethical and potentially illegal acts that were committed by high-ranking officials in Tarrant County.

My First Tip: A Peace Officer Whistleblower

Last June, a law enforcement officer who observed obstruction of justice verbally recounted the wrongdoing to me through a phone call. Members of the District Attorney’s office were using their positions to interfere with a custody suit on behalf of a local, well-connected family, I was told. The officer asked to remain anonymous, and I have only provided that individual’s name to my editors at the Weekly. Everything recounted in this blog reflects my personal views and research and does not reflect the views of any publication I work for. 

The suit personally involves me, and I am unable to provide any details related to the ongoing legal battle until it is fully resolved. Suffice to say, a wealthy family does not want that effort to end in my favor, and they have had the support of the DA’s office as well as multiple members of the FWPD, according to DA documents and emails I later retrieved through open records requests (see below).

As DA documents recounted (see below), an intake attorney met extensively with one member of this well-connected family early in 2019 when they formulated a plan to disrupt an ongoing family custody suit. The Assistant District Attorney, according to the DA, had initially rejected the individual’s baseless efforts to press harassment charges against me. After personal connections were used, according to the DA, the individual was given entry into the DA’s office and, according to one FWPD officer, “countless DA connections.”

Obstruction of Justice

The efforts of the ADA and this individual resulted in the “strong-arming” of two FWPD officers into forwarding the very harassment changes that the DA had rejected only months before. The ADA, according to DA documents, promised this well-connected individual that multiple criminal charges would be brought once FWPD was forced to comply.

It is worth noting that the DA documented its efforts to plan and execute criminal obstruction of justice. A FWPD email that I later obtained describes the criminal acts from the point of view of a FWPD who was warning her Lieutenant of the then-ongoing obstruction. Obstruction of justice is described under Texas criminal law. 

PENAL CODE TITLE 8. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

CHAPTER 38. OBSTRUCTING GOVERNMENTAL OPERATION

Sec. 38.15. INTERFERENCE WITH PUBLIC DUTIES. (a) A person commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or otherwise interferes with:

(1) a peace officer while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted by law

Attempted Cover-Up

One would imagine that the City of Fort Worth or FWPD would take an interest in documented strongarming of FWPD officers by the DA’s office. On August 26, 2019, I filed a sworn complaint with the City of Fort Worth after learning from a first-hand source that the District Attorney’s office had strong-armed FWPD into complying with the wishes of a well-connected local family. 

In response to my sworn complaint, FWPD’s Office of Internal Affairs responded with misleading and false statements that were intended to cover up wrongdoing by the DA’s office. 

Email from FWPD Det. Chadwick Scroggins, September 11:

Once again, I was informed that [the officer] was not pressured or influenced in her actions regarding your case by anyone from the DA’s office or her chain of command. 

There was also no evidence that showed that she was at any time, improperly influenced by anyone from her chain of command or the DA’s office. It is because of that lack of evidence that our investigation has been closed.  

Phone call transcript from Lt. Walls, September 2019:

We have looked into it extensively. If I had anything to tell you or evidence that the DA was influencing us, I’d tell ya. I’d tell the DA. If there was evidence of misconduct. I can’t find any of that on our end. […] There was a meeting about your case. The DA who had scheduled this meeting had taken a month off. […] We did not find evidence of influence. I’m telling you what we’ve found. We found no influence. 

What’s Next?

After observing and documenting these acts, I have filed sworn complaints with FWPD Chief Ed Kraus, DA Sharen Wilson, Criminal Division Chief Larry Moore, Mayor Betsy Price, and the City of Fort Worth. I have spoken at city council and Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court. I have mailed certified packages to every state representative and senator in Tarrant County. The response has been silence. 

Our elected officials continue to choose supporting criminal acts, so my efforts to raise public awareness of these events continue elsewhere. Daily, I am communicating these events to local journalists, politicians, and community leaders. I am seeking public speaking events and publications through media outlets. 

If you have any connections with the Texas Rangers, FBI, or any law enforcement agency, I welcome your support. My email is ejb0017@yahoo.com

New

Criminal Division Chief Larry Moore,

Based on first-hand conversations I have had with FWPD officials and DA documents that I have read, it is my belief that one or more DA officials knowingly acted in a manner that has interfered with an ongoing […] suit. In this letter, I will detail the events and individuals who likely acted on behalf of my REDACTED’s family and against the interests of my daughter. My daughter, whom I have never seen, is now 18 months old. 

On January 9, my REDACTED was notified that her case would not be accepted by the DA’s office. The DA had determined that my REDACTED was motivated by a desire to keep her daughter from seeing her father. A law enforcement official who read this document described the internal opinion to me. After the DA’s opinion was issued, one or more DA officials began acting on my REDACTED’s behalf and against the judgment of the FWPD in an effort to criminalize my efforts to see my child. 

By June 17 of this year, according to the DA, REDACTED had met with an ADA around 10  times. My REDACTED the ADA discussed ways that I could be charged with harassment even though the DA’s stated opinion of REDACTED’s efforts were known and documented. 

Here is an excerpt from the DA’s description of the case:

“The way they got the police to refer it over was based on that one incident. The ADA told [REDACTED] that [the DA was] going to add charges and also to look into stalking.”

The one incident refers to my attempt to communicate with the grown male who was hiding my child from me in his home for several months. My [REDACTED] father never allowed our family to see or hear from our child. On March 28, [REDACTED] was served orders to begin a child custody suit to unite my daughter with her father. My [REDACTED] described FWPD’s intentions to not pursue her case given her past documented behavior. 

FWPD “officers don’t like to refer it over to” the DA’s office, according to the DA document. 

On May 1, and after numerous meetings with [REDACTED], the ADA stated that “it did not matter who sent the phone records (referring to someone other than my [REDACTED]. Allowing my [REDACTED] father’s phone to ring is abusive.”

After the ADA and my [REDACTED] determined how they would criminalize my attempts to reach my child, as described in the DA’s own document, an effort began to compel FWPD to bring the case forward. I base this understanding on three sources: a first-hand conversation with a law enforcement officer who observed the DA’s interference, the DA’s description of its actions, and a conversation I had with Lt. Walls. In that conversation, he described a meeting between FWPD and the DA where my case was discussed.

I have filed a sworn complaint with the City of Fort Worth and have met with one member of the City Attorney’s office in person. I am using that complaint to determine which members of FWPD pressured Det. Dunn to submit [REDACTED]’s file. If members of FWPD did work at the behest of a member of the [REDACTED] family, they violated FWPD’s ethics code. My conversations with FWPD have included Det. Scroggins and Lt. Walls.

In short, I have documented and continue to document this summary of the DA’s actions:

Last January, the District Attorney’s office concluded that my [REDACTED]’s efforts to press charges were motivated by a desire to separate my daughter from her father. After reaching this conclusion, the DA’s office underwent a lengthy and documented effort to aid my [REDACTED] in her efforts to separate my daughter from her father. Around March 28, when my [REDACTED] was notified of the ongoing Tarrant County Family Court custody suit, the ADA met with my [REDACTED] extensively. Together, according to the DA, they formulated a plan that allowed them to force FWPD to hand over documents related to my case. Those efforts have complicated the ongoing [REDACED] suit, according to my lawyer, Sean Lynch. 

It should be asked why a law enforcement official would risk his or her own career to share intimate details about my case. The answer is that the peace officer was disturbed to witness a wealthy and well-connected family use the DA to serve the aim of separating a small child from her father. 

Everything I have described in this letter is based on primary sources: Tarrant County District Attorney documents, first-person conversations with law enforcement individuals, and communications related to my sworn complaint with the City of Fort Worth. 

The ramifications of these documented incidents should not be underestimated. I wish for this case to be reviewed and to be given a contact at the DA’s office whom I can meet with in person. 

Regards,

Edward Brown

Saying It a Little Differently

One aspect of good writing that I have not explored through my blog is related to word choice. Simply put, it is the ability for a writer to say something ordinary in a creative manner. Here’s an example. I was working on a lede for an article that’s out in the Weekly’s Summer Issue. The topic was skinny cocktails, and I was trying to describe how we will all be showing our arms and legs as the temperature warms. Here’s what I finalized on.

It’s almost summer, which means it’s time to collectively unsheathe our arms and legs and trade in hoodies for T-shirts and shorts.

I’m sure someone has used unsheathed to refer to something other than a sword before. I felt that the verb served the same function as “expose” or “pull out.” It wasn’t so different that it would strain a reader to understand the meaning of the sentence, but it ended up being a refreshing way to say something that may otherwise sound boring.

Another example. I have a feature story on Fort Worth’s arts groups coming out next week. In trying to describe Jeremy Joel’s efforts to make Fort Worth a destination, I wrote, “Joel is tying SAM Gallery’s reputation to a regular series of spring and fall art shows that mix local, regional, national, and international artists under one Fort Worth roof.”

Under one Fort Worth roof is more interesting than saying “and international artists in our city.”

When writing, try to state your ideas in ways that are not cliche. The English language is vast enough to allow for a smorgasbord of delicious ideas.

Misplaced Participle Phrases

Whether you are familiar with participle phrases or not, you probably employ them often. Here’s an example.

“Running through the hall, I realized that I was late to class.”

These phrases are particularly easy to misplace, though. Here’s an example that I turned in for a recent cover story that needed to be corrected.

“Around the age of 11, racial slurs turned to physical violence.”

My editor’s comments read: Misplaced participle phrase. Racial slurs weren’t around the age of 11. Chappell was. Recast.

Chappell is the subject of the story. One possible correction would be: Around the age of 11, Chappell was the victim of physical violence. Now the participle phrase is directly followed by the subject it is describing. See which of the following needs correcting.

Spinning around the room, the country band had my dance partner and I all whipped up.
Riding the pony, my mom waved at me as the pony and I came to a stop.
At the age of 10, I first realized there was no Santa Clause.

Having read this blog, you should now be better equipped to properly place participle phrases next to the noun or pronoun they modify.

Transitions 101

Transitions are a simple but often overlooked writing tool. Transitions connect paragraphs in a smooth and logical manner. They are either placed at the end of a paragraph to allude to the next section or placed at the beginning of the new graph in a way that acknowledges what came before. Here are two examples.

The weather was dark and stormy. I wasn’t sure if I needed to pull over to wait out the downpour. Luckily, my friend had sage advice.

“Slow down and watch for the lane dividers,” my friend told me.

The example above uses a transition to give a heads up to the quote that follows. Here is another example.

Fishing seemed like a time-consuming sport, and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of staying on a boat all day. Back home, my favorite Netflix show was calling my name. As my fishing line lazily bobbed this way and that, I was counting down the minutes until our outing was over.

As I stared at my watch, something unexpected happened.

 

Remember that transitions should be a regular feature of your writing, especially in long form essays where disparate ideas need to be thoughtfully tied together. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to transitioning into a better writer!

College Admissions Essays

Only one out of every 20 college admissions essays Georgia Tech receives is any good, said Rick Clark, director of admissions at Georgia Tech. The 2013 interview from This American Life highlights the needs for essays that are original and thoughtful. Fort Worth Writing Tutor will help your high school junior or senior submit an essay that stands out against those other 19.