The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Henry County Virginia Sheriff's Department Officials Alleged to Be Crooks!!!


Prosecutor declares: “Disgraceful corruption!”

20 Indicted Including 13 Current or Past Members of Sheriff Department…

Including… GASP… Sheriff Frank Cassell himself!

By now the news has hit the streets, in Henry County, the epicenter of the story, in Roanoke the home of the Poff Federal Courthouse, and throughout Virginia. The news was big enough that it was on the national network news before most Virginia news outlets had a bead on the story.

Readers of this blog are perhaps aware that the Iconoclast has an editorial policy of exposing the bad behavior of public officials as a way of educating others of the perils of such behavior. By doing so, we hope that in some small way public officials her in Virginia will hold themselves to higher standards when carrying out their public business.

This story is particularly depressing…

This is a story of a culture of corruption in the Henry County Sheriff’s Department in Henry County, Virginia.

Henry County is a good sized county in the far western part of Southside Virginia or maybe the eastern part of Southwest Virginia. It is perhaps best known for the City of Martinsville that is located in the center of the County. With a population of about 60 thousand, Henry is a significant population center. They have experienced economic problems in recent years and have been working hard to pull themselves up by the boot straps.

You can read more about Henry County by clicking here.

Yesterday, we learned that Henry County Sheriff Frank Cassel, and about a dozen other individuals currently or previously affiliated with the Sheriff’s department and another seven civilians were named in a 48- count indictment involving theft of impounded property, using and dealing with illegal drugs, trafficking in firearms, and abstruction of justice.

You can get the high (or low) points of this pathetic story from The Roanoke Times by clicking here.

Or, if you are a real glutton for punishment, you can read the 50 page Grand Jury indictment in all its inglorious detail.

Before going any further, the Iconoclast wishes to acknowledge that in America there is a presumption of innocence for all persons accused of a crime. That presumption applies here to Sheriff Cassell and his 19 co-defendants.

He and the rest will have their day in court. Given the potential consequences of lawmen and women being convicted of such serious crimes, I am sure that there will be a spirited defense effort put forward in the coming months.

It should also be mentioned that just because the Sheriff and quite a few of his Sheriff's Department personnel are facing indictments, it should not be construed that all of the Henry County Sheriff's Department personnel are crooks. The work of the Sheriff's Department must go on. Hopefully, the remaining organization is strong enough to pull itself together and move ahead with their responsibilities to the 60 thousand people of Henry County.

Having said that, a casual review of the indictment suggests that things do not look so good for the named defendants, considering that at least one is cooperating with the FBI and DEA.

The allegations if proven true are most egregious. Individuals who wear badges of authority… individuals who wear uniforms symbolizing the law and order… individuals who are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of their community… these individuals are now standing accused of committing some of the most dangerous and despicable crimes that can be imagined in any community… that being stealing dangerous contraband held in their own custody, and selling this contraband back on the streets to criminals. That contraband is alleged to include dangerous drugs (cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana) and guns.

What is the public to think when individuals sworn to uphold the law are seen to be the crooks?

What would possess any law enforcement official to betray the public trust?

If the allegations are proven against the Sheriff and the other members of the Sheriff’s Department, it won’t be the first time that members of the law enforcement community have crossed the line to become the crooks.

But what is so disturbing about this case is the large number of law enforcement officials who seem to be involved in the overall conspiracy.

Who else knew or suspected what was going on?

How long has this alleged corruption been going on?

How is it possible that so many people could be involved without others knowing about it?

What kind of “culture” was being maintained in the Henry County Sheriff’s Department?

Is this another example of corrupting nature of power?

Or is this just a pitiful betrayal of public trust and community safty for the money?

Chances are, when all is said and done, we will be able to look back and see that... yes... there were signs of problems that were ignored by people who should have known better.

Maybe we can learn something from this very depressing story as it unfolds.

Stay tuned.



NOTE: The photograph above is of Sheriff Frank Cassell as he is leaving the the Poff Federal Court Building in Roanoke. He doesn't look quite as impressive as he does in his official portrait for the Henry County Sheriff's Department Webpage.

13 Comments:

  • At 11/05/2006 3:41 PM, Anonymous still in disbelief said…

    That is bad when the top cops are crooks. What next?

     
  • At 11/06/2006 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Look at the news today. Other crooks are now taking a walk because the crooked sheriff's department personnel have compromised the evidence against them for trial. What were these people thinking?

     
  • At 11/15/2006 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It would be very interesting to have the Short's murder case looked at again under this new light, there may be much more to this than first appears. Former Martinsville resident

     
  • At 11/15/2006 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yep, you got that right about the Short's murder case. When your key law officials are distracted on their own little criminal enterprises a few little things might just slip through the cracks. I hope this question is examined with new people we can trust. This mess we got now is a damned shame and there is no telling what other problems are going to come to light once they start digging.

     
  • At 8/25/2007 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am not surprised. The little fish have always suffered in this place.

     
  • At 5/13/2009 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "the little fish have always suffered in this place" has got to be the truest statement. I have never trusted law enforcement in this part of the state. The police are so different here. Where I'm from the big city police were actually very courteous. A far cry from what it is here. I actually had a life or death situation in which the police came an hour later!

     
  • At 1/21/2010 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I live in the UK. I have reason, I believe, to have the right to meet my Father. However, he does not want to know me. He has never supported me or my Mother despite promising to do so before he disappeared on hearing that he was to become a Father. (Moving on) I had a telephone call from Sheriff Lane Perry yesterday. OK sounds pretty strange since I thought it was not a crime to try to meet my natural Father. I have called my Father many times over the years begging him to meet me, the calls were mostly intercepted by his wife. I called 3 days ago to request a meeting in Martinsville, (once again my Father was unable to speak to me) My request was not too much to ask of a Daughter that has never met her Father, one would think? (I must add that my Father either refuses to speak, has some sort of speach impediment, phobia of phones perhaps, whatever, his wife seems to know clearly that does not want to meet or have anything to do with his first Daughter) Sheriff Perry telephone call to me was clearly aggravated harassment. He was menacing in order to deter me from visiting not only my Father but also Martinsville. In no uncertain terms; he stated that I "would be under his jurisdiction if I were to arrive in Henry County and try to visit my Father" he stated that I would not be welcome and that I should not try to call, visit or telephone my Fathers home. I have made a complaint with regard to his telephone call, albeit, I doubt that it will proceed through the correct channels. As it happens I decided to research Sheriff Perry. It would appear that my Fathers Daughter happens to be the Chairman of Henry County Board of Supervisors. I am the illegitimate Daughter of her Father, do you think that has anything to do with the threatening call from Sheriff Perry or perhaps the weather isn't so great for visiting Matinsville at this time of year?

     
  • At 6/01/2010 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I too was a victim of the corrupt Henry County police department. The girlfriend of the THIEF that robbed me accused me of pulling a gun on her. I was arressted but could prove that I was not there and did not do it, but the police didn't care to hear my side. All they wanted was MONEY. The magistrate even tried to tell my wife I had a relationship and a child with this so called woman and accused me of lying when I denied it, even though there is proof I only have a child with my wife. FOR SHAME ON THE HENRY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT. They told us that as long as you put your hand on the HOLY BIBLE and swear that it is true you can take a warrant out on anyone. NO MATTER HOW TRUE OR FALSE IT IS. How can these corrupt people sleep at night?

     
  • At 8/10/2010 12:58 AM, Anonymous Death of Patricia Jane Curtis said…

    Help
    us find the truth about the DEATH of PATRICIA JANE CURTIS in Oct 1998 in Martinsville
    VA
    - could this possibly have had any connection with the corruption of the
    Sheriff Department reported to have occurred from 1998 until 2006?

     
  • At 10/15/2010 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The FBI were supposed to have picked up and investigated any cases that didn't smell right from the period of the corruption, but if the HCSO routinely destroyed evidence that could implicate people who could implicate *them*, then either the FBI didn't have enough to try and prosecute with, or the evidence was tampered with, or maybe the FBI just doesn't give a damn either. More than one murderer has gone free because of them.

     
  • At 10/27/2010 8:58 AM, Anonymous Death of Patricia Jane Curtis said…

    please contact me at deathofpatriciajanecurtis@yahoo.com

     
  • At 4/07/2011 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To whom it may concern,
    I know the people who killed Jennifer short and her parents. Carlos Castro and his son.He wore a face mask and shaved his head. He owns a house in Cheney,Washingto
    at 3 w3rdst in Cheney,Washington and the same pickup is parked in the driveway. The house is yellow.
    He is buying all these houses and using different identities. Carlos also killed the 2 girls in Scottsdale.Arizona There names are diana and jennifer. The glendale police department are looking for him. I sent you pictures of both of them. They both wear leg braces on there legs. a04610y a red chevrolet pickup. Carlos is wearing wigs on his head and he also was pulling people over in culpepper when alicia showater williams was killed. He still is driving the same black nissan the same one out here in Cheney and SPOKANE,Washington.The paint on the pickup is fading out and it still has the blue pin strip on it.
    The plate number is A53830U and a63028u. Hes using Mike for his name and has a wig on his head. He also drives a green chevrolet suburban 015 yja. Any questions leave me a message. Kim

     
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