Charles "Chuck" Turchick responded by email to my October 23 blog post about him, which discussed his felony conviction for breaking into a draft office in Alexandria, Minnesota and speculated (not without firm basis) that Chuck's criminal conviction and incarceration over that early 1970s incident is why he's so...
Well, so Chuck Turchick.
Chuck didn't ask for the email to remain private and, though he didn't ask, appears to have intended it for publication. So I am printing his entire email, below, fair and square. Along the way I will respond to Chuck's written assertions to prevent his unique and hippy-esque form of self-delusion from further propagating itself into the blogosphere without correction...
The boldface headings were added by this blogger and are not part of the original email.
Oh, No, It's A "Dear John" Letter
I've read your October 23, 2012, post about me, and I found it absolutely delightful. Unfortunately, it's a classic example of someone who manufactures a conclusion and then finds some historical facts that will explain it.
The conclusion I am talking about is that I am a "rabid anti-police critic." If you are familiar with my statements to the Minneapolis City Council Public Safety Committee, or with several emails I have written them -- some of them posted online -- you would realize that simply isn't true.
Quote-Gate! The SHAME!!!
Might I point out first, however, that you put this phrase in quotes in your October 23 post. I tried to figure out whom you were quoting, so I went back to part one of this two-part post, which was posted on October 13, 2012, and I found the phrase "rabid police critic Chuck Turchick," but not in quotes. So in part two, it seems you were quoting yourself from part one, but trying to make it look like these were someone else's words. I'm sure you'd agree that practice is not the height of good journalism or even good blogging.
(JNS blog says: WRONG. But I'll get back to you on that, below)
Chuck Turchick, Model Of Reasonableness (Eye Roll)
Anyhow, getting back to what my criticism actually were and are, I have both written and testified to the Public Safety Committee that I am not one who believes police brutality is rampant in our community. I am not one "who loves to constantly attack the cops." What I have been critical of has been the more than 20 years of Chiefs of Police in Minneapolis -- not just Chief Dolan, who got high marks from some community organizations I have great respect for -- being reluctant to discipline officers against whom the CRA hearing panels have sustained complaints of officer misconduct.
That is not a radical position. Every member of the CRA board for its last three years has agreed with it. Even Don Bellfield, the former chair of the board who is about to be appointed to the Police Conduct Review Panel, said the CRA could not function if the Chief continued to be unwilling to discipline in CRA-sustained cases.
I have also been critical of the Chief not following the previous CRA ordinance. It called for him to base his disciplinary decisions "on the adjudicated facts as determined by the civilian review authority board" (see page 13 of the old ordinance, section 172.130, which is available here). Chief Dolan, who was required by the ordinance to give the CRA board reasons for no-discipline decisions in CRA-sustained cases, would regularly give as a reason his "disagreement with the facts as determined by the civilian review authority board."
Now, one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist, or even a lawyer, to see that that reason given by the Chief was not in compliance with the then-existing ordinance. So I even filed a complaint against the Chief for violating the ordinance in this respect. (Section 172.130(d) said the Chief could be disciplined for not complying with that section, so I thought it was reasonable to assume non-compliance constituted misconduct.) That was the only complaint this "rabid anti-police critic" has ever filed against a Minneapolis police officer.
Chuck Dishes Up Criticisms Of Lawyers, Occupy Movement, And Molly Ivins
Austen Zuege, the last lawyer who served on the CRA board, and Lee Reid, a lawyer and the last Assistant Civil Rights Director assigned to the CRA, and probably every lawyer in the city who doesn't work in the City Attorney's Office, agrees that the Chief's reason is not consistent with the ordinance. But the City Attorney unbelievably says it is consistent. And no Public Safety Committee member ever raised a stink about this. So yes, I was critical of the City Attorney's Office and of the Public Safety Committee too. I once challenged Deputy City Attorney Peter Ginder to find me a single attorney in Minneapolis who didn't work in the City Attorney's Office and who would say the Chief's reason was consistent with the ordinance. He asked if his brother would be okay, and I said, "Yes, have him call me." I have yet to hear from Peter or his brother.
I have also been critical of Occupy folks who have claimed "police brutality." I have told them that to claim being nudged by the head of a horse is "policy brutality" is an insult to people who actually may have been abused by police tactics. I told Polly Kellogg of WAMM that when she used the words "charged in on horses" in a speech she gave, the audience would naturally assume the horses were actually "charging," which was patently false. I have told occupiers who have complained that Chief Dolan stepped on one of them who had been sitting with linked arms surrounding a house that the civil disobedience tactic they were using was designed to achieve precisely that result.
So I have hardly been a "rabid anti-police critic," as you so eloquently quoted yourself as saying.
(JNS blog says: Wrong again, Chuck, but I'm saving Quote-Gate for dessert)
Police officers do a difficult job that I would never want to do. But sometimes, yes, an officer does engage in misconduct. And the system that was set up to allow civilian oversight of those complaints was never allowed to work. And that was because of four Chiefs of Police, the Mayor, the City Attorney, and the City Council. That's whom I have been critical of.
(JNS blog says: RABIDLY critical. And those four chiefs of police were all police officers. How many different ways would you like to kind of, sort of CONCEDE you are a rabid anti-police critic while saying you are not?)
Even when Lt. Mike Sauro issued a statement justifying police work in a video that showed someone being kicked in the head -- I think he was handcuffed at the time too -- it was the Chief whom I criticized in comments to the CRA board, not the Lieutenant. I asked how, given the previous attempts by the City to fire Lt. Sauro for excessive use of force, could the Lieutenant have been selected as the person in his precinct to instruct officers on the proper use of force and that what the video showed was not proper police procedure.
(JNS blog says: Oh, my goodness, citing a videotape that supposedly exists. Please link to the videotape in a comment so I can make my own judgment of what it allegedly shows. Otherwise, when you say there's a videotape and you've seen it but I can't see it too, well, hmmmm, who does that remind me of? JILL CLARK. I'm sure you know her, Chuck, either personally or through "one degree of separation" via Dave Bicking and Spanky Pete Rickmyer who sat next to you at a hearing with plenty of empty chairs in the room. More on that in a bit)
There are so many other errors in your post that I can't mention them all.
(JNS blog says: You can't because they don't exist or you are categorizing a matter of mere opinion as an error because you have a contrary opinion)
But I was never a "hippie" -- ask people who were around at that time; I didn't go bald when I got old -- I was going bald in my 20s; the conviction was in 1970, not 1971; in the portion of my CRA board application available to the public, I did mention my law school attendance, but in the portion not available to the public, I am quite certain I did write that I was a law school graduate.
(JNS Blog says: No error here. Your conviction was UPHELD in 1971 when you lost your appeal. Kindly quote any sentence from my blog that contains a fact error about the date your conviction. You can't find one or you'd be quoting it in your email. In fact, I have gone out of my way to say "early 1970s" to deal with the fact your conviction was in one year, and then the conviction was upheld in another year. I did this so the writing would be clear and not chunky by tedious and repeated explanation of the fact the conviction was one year, but it was upheld the next. You are really stretching, Chuck, to try to twist fact error out of what I wrote, which contains no fact error.
As for whether you were a hippie, Chuck, you broke into a draft office during the Vietnam War era and became one of the famed Minnesota 8. The judgment made in the lower blog court that you were a "hippie" is hereby upheld by the higher blog court. "Hippie" is a broad label and I would think you'd respond by wearing it proudly on your head, which would give you something up there in place of hair.)
Other errors aren't your fault, in that you quote from Frank Kroncke or Molly Ivins. I graduated from North High School, not St. Louis Park which I never attended; and while I did play tennis in high school, I was once ranked 3rd in the state not in tennis but in table tennis.
(JNS blog says: I will go back to the October 23 post and insert your comments about where you graduated and your table tennis ranking. But there's still no fact error on my part, because I cited my source properly.)
Chuck Is Ready To Forgive But Never Forget
As for the pardon issue, I think it was during President Carter's -- maybe it was President Clinton's -- administration that I got a letter inviting me to apply for a pardon. I returned it with a note informing them that they must have been mistaken, but no, I was not yet ready to offer them a pardon. But you might be right. Maybe it has been long enough, and after the election, I should write the new President offering the U.S. government a pardon. Keep on writing, but please try to form your conclusions from the facts rather than vice versa.
Yours, Chuck Turchick
JNS BLOG RESPONDS FURTHER AS FOLLOWS:
Clinton, Carter, Um, One Of Those Presidents Who Liked Hippies
Let me get this straight, Chuck. You got a letter inviting you to apply for a pardon from the office of the president and you can't narrow it down to the Clinton or Carter administration?
In your long email I notice you didn't respond to the way I tossed around the quote from your father about how you weren't one of those kids mixed up with drugs. So let me ask you this. Do you use drugs, Chuck? Did you drop acid during the hippie era? Have you been a heavy pot user at any time? Did you use that letter inviting you to apply for a pardon as a surface on which to separate your weed from your seeds?
Also, here's another question I have and feel free to consult with "rabid anti-police critic" Dave Bicking before you respond. What is the nature of the relationship between Level Three Sex Offender Peter Rickmyer and the various folks who show up every time there's a meeting about police conduct issues? I mean, obviously Spanky Pete is going to show up where he likes and comment about whatever, but it seems like your "crazy train" faction more or less accepts him. I was surprised to see you sitting right next to Peter Rickmyer at the hearing when there were plenty of empty chairs in the room, at least after the very first part of the meeting.
Me, I would have gotten the hell up and MOVED. I think most people would, knowing the man is a child molesting Level Three sex offender. But apparently your faction is quite open and accepting of the man. I mean, at least he's not a COP, right? What's up with that? To what degree is Spanky Pete invited into the core of your faction to contribute his ideas?
Break-In At The Quoter-Gate Hotel!
And now, Chuck, to answer what I consider your most damning criticism: that I deliberately misused quote marks with the phrase "rabid anti-police critic." Speaking as a member in good standing of the Grammar Nazi Party, nothing else you accuse me of could really upset me as much as THIS.
So here is my answer. You have only managed to prove how HONEST I am with quote marks. I am very conscious of sonorous turns of phrase invented by myself versus original and creative turns of phrase I read or hear from other people. If I hear a nice turn of phrase I am apt to make it my own, but I often warn people first.
Oh, I will say, what a nice turn of phrase. Did you come up with that? Do you know who did? I really want to make use of that.
Sometimes I use Google to see if the turn of phrase is already extant anywhere on the internet. If nobody else is using that exact combination of words, I get excited because I'm in possession of something colorful and expressive and I'll be the first one to put it out in the world even if I didn't invent it myself. I recently published the phrase "a buzzy feeling of oneness with the earth" but I put quote marks around it. Why?
Because I didn't invent the phrase. Another student at the University of North Dakota whose first name was Cassandra (I don't remember her last name) came up with the phrase and I've carried it around as part of my personal verbal lexicon since about 2004.
As for the phrase "rabid anti-police critic," I was quite aware it wasn't my own original coinage. I wasn't sure where I got it, but I knew it wasn't mine and so (honest grammarian that I am) I put quote marks around it. Do I sometimes cop a "sonorous turn of phrase" (William Safire) without quote marks or attribution? I'm sure it happens all the time. Sooner or later a "sonorous turn of phrase" slips into common usage to such an extent nobody uses quote marks anymore, kind of like quotations that can be traced to famous people with names eventually become attributed to "anonymous" even while the quotes become more pithy and morph their form a bit.
But in that split second when I was banging out the Part Two of that story, I knew I'd copped that phrase somewhere. And the phrase was so direct, expressive and well constructed that to deny it quote marks would be, well, shoplifting at the lexicon store. (That last phrase was my original coinage, all mine, and I'm taking credit)
AND HE'S DOWN! CHUCK IS DOWN!!!
But to sum up and get right to the metaphorical kick in the teeth I'm going to deliver you, well, put the phrase into Google with quote marks. "Rabid anti-police critic" was used by somebody at an "alt crime" Google group on April 7, 2003. It shows up in the search but it's buried somewhere deeply in the discussion. However, I am certain I've heard the phrase used by other people in Minneapolis. Who exactly? I'm not certain, but my strong impression is city people, public officials, people standing on the other side of the aisle from Chuck Turchick, Dave Bicking, and other rapid anti-police critics.
Ooops. Look, mom, no quote marks.
That was just me putting the phrase into common usage, Chuck. Because people in Minneapolis need that phrase to describe the crazies who show up at these meetings to bash (recently retired) Chief Dolan and other brave police officers. But any way you slice it, whether I can figure who BESIDES me was using the phrase prior to October 23, 2012, the phrase is not my original coinage and the quote marks are oh-so-proper and SCRUPULOUSLY honest.
A Fond Farewell To Chuck Who Couldn't Hold His Own In The Debate
Thank you, Chuck, for your eloquent albeit wrongheaded email. It didn't require any editing or correction at all from me. (There was one rather clumsy sentence, but it couldn't be characterized as a typo)
Chuck, I get the feeling if I'd been in jail with you I would have gotten into that weird word game you played for hours. But, alas, we were born in different eras. You broke into a draft office during the hippie era and I served both during the First Iraq War (stateside) and in Afghanistan.
You know, Chuck, when the office of the president hints you might apply for a pardon, it's not just all about Chuck, Chuck, Chuck and what painful things happened to him because of wild and stupid stuff he did as a young man in the name of idealism. It's also about healing our country after a divisive period in our history.
You might put that in your metaphorical joint and smoke on that, Chuck.