DFF Item #25

25. Dear Mr. Railroad President:
We, the resolutely courageous and fearless members of The Special Interest Press have come across the following news report showing your railroad police department's total disregard for the safety, welfare, and racial makeup of the citizens through who's towns you pass and a cover-up so vast as to make Watergate look like a dripping bathroom spigot. What have you to say about this most flagrant disregard for the community at large?

Yours in sincerity,
Milicent Fenwich
Investigative Report The Special Interest Press

Scranton, Pa., May 29, 2001 - Sergeant Randy Whitherwill, a railroad police officer employed by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department stands accused today of pointing a large bore, automatic, military type weapon at five ATV riders and firing a total of 3,000 rounds at them. Witnesses told police that when Sergeant Witherwill failed to hit any of his targets he then called in a squadron of F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard to drop napalm on the ATV riders. It is expected that Officer Witherwill will be arraigned this afternoon before District Justice Jolene Fairchild on five counts of reckless endangerment and simple assault, and one count of official oppression. Sergeant Witherwill is the son of Mayor Rodney Witherwill of Chinchilla, Pa. and third cousin of the Governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Bennett Cagey. Reckless endangerment charges filed by the State Attorney General's Office accuse Officer Whitherwill of pointing a loaded, large caliber, military type weapon at the ATV riders. The simple assault charges accuse Officer Whitherwill of placing people in fear of serious bodily injury. The official  oppression charge alleges that Officer Whitherwill knowingly misused his official capacity to "subject another person to detention, mistreatment, and infringement of personal property rights."

The charges stem from an incident on May 27, 2001. "If found guilty of any of the second-degree misdemeanors, he could be barred forever from being a police officer", warned Second Assistant District Attorney Clarence Caveat. An investigation by the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office was prompted by the May 27th encounter of Officer Whitherwill near the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's tracks at Nay Aug tunnel with the five All-Terrain-Vehicle enthusiasts three of whom were reported to belong to racial minorities including African American, Hispanic, and Native American. The other two trespassers were reported to be of indeterminable ethnic background.

Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department's Detective Joseph (Jay) Johnson, after a short but thoroughly brutal investigation, found others who, at first, had claimed to have been threatened by Officer Whitherwill. They described, prior to the nocturnal interview with Detective Johnson, a pattern of using a high powered military type weapon to intimidate. The weapon, described by military experts as an M93 Infantry Machine Gun which fires a 12.7 mm round, is imported by Yugoimport-SDPR of Yugoslavia. The weapon was originally reported to have been mounted on a military surplus Humvee registered to the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department. The witnesses described the vehicle as having mud flaps emblazoned with the slogan, "KILL 'EM ALL AND LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT!" The Lackawanna Terminal Railway operates the rail lines formerly owned by Conrail.

In response to questions about the allegations, the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Chief of Police, Lieutenant Marcus Sade was quoted as stating, "The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department owns no such type of vehicle as described by those malevolent trespassers nor do we have any of the weapons that Sergeant Witherwill was reported to have used against these self-same malevolent trespassers." Lieutenant Sade unilaterally denied that the appearance of forty Humvee vehicles, of the type described by the witnesses, at a local used car lot is anything more than a coincidence. When asked if firing thousands of rounds of large caliber ammunition at trespassers was part of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department's normal police procedures Lieutenant Sade stated that "It is within normal police guidelines to pursue "with extreme prejudice" all who, by their presence present a danger to the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's facilities or employees or, who, by their actions, present a danger to themselves. Compliance with this policy is required of all Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department employees at all times but it is with special emphasis that we command all officers to shoot first if the perpetrators fit criminal profiles based on FBI identified characteristics", Lieutenant Sade went on to say. When asked if the fact that the victims in this alleged incident were racial minorities had anything to do with Sergeant Witherwill's extremely aggressive behavior Lieutenant Sade stated for the record that "In this era of social sensitivity, our officers are trained do not discriminate between vicious criminals because of their race, religion, or ethnic persuasion. Our orders are to fire on everyone indiscriminately."

Also pending are unrelated charges that Sergeant Witherwill, with the participation of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department SWAT Team entered a guarded military installation under the cover of night and stole the weapons and vehicles which Sergeant Witherwill was alleged to have used in the May 27th incident.  Thirty nine other weapons of similar type were also reported stolen at the same time. All such charges have been denied by Lieutenant Sade as not being provable and therefore, frivolous and untrue. No charges were filed against the members of the Pennsylvania National Guard as their alleged napalm attack on the ATV enthusiasts missed by half a mile and their embarrassment was considered punishment enough.

Detective Johnson's affidavit identifies the five alleged victims as John Smith of Scranton, Tony Moskowitch and Glen Filburt of Dunmore and Seth and Wilbur Klem of Jessup, Pennsylvania. The victim's addresses and next of kin were also included in the affidavit.

Dear Milicent, How nice to hear from you again.

We, the members of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department of Denial and Archive Destruction, have been in constant contact with the office of the Second Assistant District Attorney Clarence Caveat as you may understand our concern in this matter.  It may please you, as it does us, to know that all charges have been dropped against Sergeant Witherwill regarding the alleged incident of May 27, 2001 due to the unexplained but timely disappearance of all witnesses to the alleged incident. As members of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department of Denial and Archive Destruction and front men for the company against all detractors we were certain that the truth in this matter would come out and all allegations of impropriety would be dismissed without rancor. The disappearance of those individuals who, with callous disregard for the fine reputation of an experienced law enforcement officer such as Sergeant Witherwill brought forth such implausible charges, only goes to prove the specious and presumptuous nature of the state's case against Sergeant Witherwill and the members of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's police force; a police force without peer within the law enforcement community.

The fraudulent allegations that the Pennsylvania National Guard was called in to participate in these alleged events is patently absurd and bears no relationship to any action either by employees of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Department or the proud members of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

In an totally unrelated matter, the members of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department of Denial and Archive Destruction send their most heartfelt condolences to the firefighters injured in the attempt to quench the recent firestorm near the site of, but unrelated to, the alleged incident.

The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department of Denial and Archive Destruction considers the matter closed.

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