Angels Flight--A Nitrous Racing Story

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Angels Flight--A Nitrous Racing Story

Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:56 am

Intro & Prologue.......

Couple of notes concerning "Angels Flight"...................

---unlike my previous stories which so far were written from a 1st-person perspective/POV, "Angels Flight" is written from a 3rd-person perspective....
---the story pays homage to the Michael Connelly novel Angels Flight with its' undercurrent of justice delayed, but not denied.....
---in addition to being written from a 3rd-person POV, the story has a split-track style to it in that part of the story follows the character of Matthew Little around while the bulk of the story(and the climatic closing scenes) follows the character of Kelsey Little around..........

----13 June 1997...........on the first day of what would become known as the South Velo Riots, then-Officer Kelsey McNeal, a tactical officer assigned to 77th Street Division, rescues two of her fellow officers from a crowd of rioters; for her actions, she is awarded the department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor..............
----August 2011..............having returned to the department, Lieutenant Kelsey Little and the Open/Unsolved Unit are given the case that started the events of June 1997 when new evidence points to the possible innocence of the individual accused in the murder of civil rights attorney Vincent Elliott. Meanwhile, private investigator Matthew Little and the M-K Investigations are hired by the widow of the accused in preparation for a lawsuit against Velo City.............

...........working both sides of the same case, will they be able to keep a lid on the simmering tensions within Velo City or could a repeat of the 1997 riots be in order?


Gina Roarty, Velo City Times--8 September 1997
-----(picture............VCPD Officer Kelsey McNeal receives Medal of Valor from Chief Parks at City Hall ceremony)
-----With a hint of a bandage sticking out from underneath the end of her right uniform sleeve, Officer McNeal was awarded the Medal of Valor Thursday for her actions on the first day of what has become known as the South Velo Riots. The riots, sparked in mid June by the death of famed civil rights attorney Vincent Elliott, engulfed a large swath of South Velo, resulting in several hundred million dollars worth of damage. Seventeen people, including VCPD Detective Angela Chastain, were killed during the rioting. McNeal, who joined the department in 1995, was assigned to the 77th Street Division’s Tactical Unit, which works as a division-level crime suppression/anti-gang unit in that part of Velo City. During the riots, McNeal was the lead officer in the rescue of several VCPD officers who were being attacked by a large group of rioters. McNeal, who suffered wounds to her right forearm and a grazed bullet wound to the neck, led a group of officers who rescued fellow 77th Street Officers Mike Empringham and Richard Moore. “Her actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of the department and it is with pride that we award her the Medal of Valor,” said Chief Bernard C. Parks during the ceremony at City Hall in downtown Velo City. For her part, Officer McNeal said she was “simply doing her job. My fellow officers needed help and I did what any officer in the same situation would do.” Mayor Richard Riordan added that, “had it not been for Officer McNeal’s actions at the corner of Florence and Vermont, the loss of life could have even worse than what it was.” Officer McNeal is currently assigned to the 77th Street Division’s Tactical Unit................


~~~Presented to: Officer Kelsey E. McNeal, 77th Street Division Tactical Unit
During anti-riot duty in 77th Division, Officer McNeal and members of the division’s Tactical Unit responded to a “Officer Needs Help” call at the corner of Florence Ave. and Vermont Ave. Upon arrival, McNeal and her fellow officers witnessed several dozen rioters assaulting 77th Division Detective Angela Chastain and Officers Mike Empringham and Richard Moore. Disregarding her own safety, McNeal rushed to the three officers, rendering assistance and keeping the rioters at bay with carefully aimed fire from both her service weapon, those of Officers’ Empringham and Moore and a riot gun armed with bean-bag and pellet rounds. During the course of the rescue, McNeal’s fellow officers were able to take Empringham and Moore to safety despite multiple injuries to those involved, including McNeal. As additional officers arrived on-scene, McNeal directed them to set up an anti-riot cordon at the intersection of Florence and Vermont, using the officers’ patrol vehicles to anchor the cordon line, preventing the rioters from proceeding northward on Vermont Avenue. Although Detective Chastain later succumbed to her wounds, McNeal’s leadership was instrumental in getting all three of her fellow officers out of the area for medical treatment. Officer Kelsey McNeal’s courage, leadership, discipline and presence of mind embody the finest traditions of the Velo City Police Department. Officer McNeal is hereby awarded the Medal of Valor for her actions.

----(signed)Bernard C. Parks, Chief of Police
----(signed)Owens, Jennifer H.(Deputy Chief), Commander, Operations–South Bureau
----(signed)Beck, Charles L.(Captain I), Commander–77th Street Division
----(signed)Williams, Josh(Lieutenant II), Commander–77th Street Division Tactical Unit

Velo City Times Editorial, 3 July 2011
-----Fourteen years ago, Velo City was rocked by the murder of famed civil rights attorney Vincent Elliott, who was shot while riding the Angels Flight tram in downtown Velo City. The murder helped spark some of the city’s most violent rioting in recent memory, rivaling even the dark days following the Rodney King verdicts in 1992. VCPD officials at the time indicated that one of their own, Daniel Sheenan, a detective assigned to Central Detectives, had committed the act as revenge and in retaliation for the numerous police brutality cases brought against the department by Elliott during the late 1980's and throughout the 1990's, some of which were later cited by the United States government in its’ historic lawsuit and 2002 consent decree with the VCPD. However, sources close to reporters with this paper have been informed that new evidence has been unearthed, possibly hinting at the wrongful prosecution and/or persecution of Det. Sheenan by fellow members of the department. If so, then a grievous wound has been committed by the city and the department against an individual who became a convenient scapegoat for the city’s problems at the time. It is the belief and the view of this newspaper that the VCPD has an obligation to investigate the new evidence in light of the city’s past and to ensure that no stone remains unturned. It is only fair to both Mr. Elliott and Det. Sheenan that this case be resolved in an open and transparent manner; it is also incumbent for the citizens of Velo City to allow them the opportunity to do so before judgment is passed. For a department scarcely two years removed from the 2002 Consent Decree, it is imperative for them to prove that they have earned the right to be free of the decree.
.........Richard R. Bryant, Executive Editor, Velo City Times.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:57 am

Chapter 1

***MO morning, 9 August 2011----2212 Baker St., Kensington Hills, Velo City, Ca.***
It was a quiet morning. Outside, the sounds of traffic passing up and down the hillside could be faintly heard. Inside, the air conditioning made a quiet thrumm-like sound. Mid-summer in Velo City was, put simply, a season defined by hot, dry weather accented by the occasional Santa Ana winds blowing down the hillsides in Northeast Velo. But that didn’t seem to bother the sleeping couple in the master bedroom.......until the landline phone started to bleet–bleet. Reaching over to answer it, he spoke into the cordless. “Hello?” A few moments later, he turned and handed the phone to his wife. “Kelsey, it’s for you.” Sitting up in bed, she answered the phone with a cool, soprano voice. “Hello?”

“Lieutenant Kelsey Little? Sorry to disturb you, but I just got a code two-10 from the chief’s office and he wants to see you as well,” spoke the words of Commander Chris Egan, the commanding officer of the department’s Robbery-Homicide Division. Kelsey awoke with a start. For Egan to call this early on a Monday meant something was up. “How soon can you be down to Parker Center?”

Looking over at a wall clock, she replied, “Within the hour, sir.”
“Good; I’ll see you then.” The phone clicked off and Kelsey set it down on a small dresser. As she got up out of the bed, he asked if everything was alright. “It could be better,” she replied. “Fourteen years in the department and I never got a two-ten call; my first day back in just over two years and I get one.” He leaned over and watched her walk out of the bedroom, wondering what the day had in store for both of them. Lying back on the bed, he looked up at the ceiling and thought, It is going to be one of those days...............

***One Parker Center, Downtown Velo City***
Walking through the main entrance of the department’s new headquarters, she still couldn’t believe she had made it down as fast as she had. Even for someone who could weave her way in-n’-out of traffic as skillfully as her husband could, it shocked her to think it only took a half-hour to travel from Kensington Hills to the heart of Velo City.

Reaching the main bank of elevators, she hit the up button and waited, making sure her sidearm was holstered at the waist. Eventually one of the elevators opened up and she entered, taking a moment to look at a reflection of herself in one of the elevator panels. Save for the sidearm, one would’ve thought the thirty-eight year-old woman in the light beige pantsuit was a mid-management executive. After several stops for people to exit and enter the elevator, it soon made its’ way to the tenth floor of Parker Center, the floor whose offices housed the chief of police and his myriad of staffers. As she stepped out of the elevator, she immediately saw the broad-shouldered frame of her new commander standing near the chief’s suite of offices. Although they were about the same age and were from the same academy class, Egan had fast-tracked his way up the department ladder, getting the plum assignments from officer on up.

On the other hand, Kelsey mused, Egan doesn’t have the green-and-gold on his lapel pin, a subtle reference to the Medal of Valor, the VCPD's highest award. Rumor had it Egan would likely make it to the chief’s office sometime in the next ten to fifteen years. Unlike other officers, though, Egan played no favorites. Kelsey’s assignment as Open/Unsolved commander within the RHD hierarchy came on merit as did Egan’s command of the division as a whole. She put all these thoughts behind her as she walked over to her boss. “Something must be going down to call us all up here from the fifth floor,” she said to the assembled group of commanders. Alongside Egan were Kelsey’s fellow unit commanders within RHD. The fact all of them had gotten a 2-10 call meant something big was afoot.

“Glad you could make it,” Egan replied. “You’re right about one thing. Chief Bratton’s adjutant called me at six this morning and said for me to get all of us here forthwith. Maybe it has to do with that editorial in the paper,” referring to the editorial in the Velo City Times concerning the Vincent Elliott case from 1997.

“Could be,” replied Lt. Stark Sands, a tall, wiry gentleman who commanded RHD’s Homicide Special Section. “But why all of us, boss? If this case is being reopened, it’s Kelsey’s bailiwick, isn’t it?”

“True, Stark,” Kelsey replied, a nervous tinge to her voice; she knew all too well about the Elliott case and the riots that followed it. Before she could reply, the chief’s adjutant called for them to come to the chief’s office. Thirty minutes later, all of them walked out with glum expressions; Kelsey was the last to exit and she had the glummest expression of all. As they headed to the elevators, Sands asked her, “So what happens now?”

Shooting him a icy look, she replied, “We solve it, Stark. But for all intent and purposes, we just landed in a minefield and if we’re not careful, all of us could get hit.”

***Zero Degrees, Taravel District***
As he walked through the main entrance, Matthew looked around the ground-floor; sound-men were working on the dance floor’s expansive sound system, trying to eliminate a persistent squeak from the speakers. Heading over to the bar, he saw the club’s floor manager, Patrick Hamilton, a/k/a Ravyn, trying to direct one of the sound-men. “So are they ever going to get rid of the invisible mouse in the system?,” adding a broad grin to the question.

“Wise-a#%,” was his reply. After a handshake, he asked, “So, how’s life?”
“Good, good. Spent the past hour teaching the finer points of drifting to Brewer and Luckett over at Ascot Park; both of them took to it pretty well. Kelsey headed into downtown to start her new assignment–“

”Oh, Open/Unsolved? There was an article in the Times about that,” Ravyn said, looking around for the Times frontsheet. “Thought it was here somewhere; it might be upstairs.” Grabbing a large cup of java from Billi, I headed upstairs to the second-floor offices of M-K Investigations, where the rest of the gang was waiting. “Now that I’m here, what’s going on, everyone?”

Now that the meeting had started, it took about twenty minutes as everyone discussed the cases being worked on and where they were headed. As the meeting wound down, Matt looked down towards the ground-floor and saw someone talking to Ravyn. I know her from somewhere, he thought to himself, watching her talk to Zero’s floor manager. As they kept talking, he thought, I do know her, but from where....... Finally, he turned back to the rest of the group and asked if they had anything further to add. When they didn’t, everybody began heading for the stairs. As they began to walk away, Matt pointed over to the woman talking to Ravyn. “Mike, I know her from somewhere but I can’t place where......”

Moving over to get a better look, Mike Chevalier took one look at her and said, “s................., Matt; that’s Cameron Sheenan–“
“Cameron Sheenan; she’s the one filed suit against the city. More specifically, she filed suit against the police a few months back. How do you know her?”

“I wish I knew, Slick. But she looks awfully damn familiar, though.” Then it dawned on him who it was. Looking over at a recent copy of the Times, it only took a moment to confirm who it was. Before he could say anything, the intercom buzzed. “Matt, you up there?”
“Yeah, Ravyn. What’s up?”
“Someone to talk to you. New client maybe.” As we waited, a red-blond haired woman walked up the stairs to our offices. Introducing ourselves, Matt spoke. “Is there anything we can help you with, Mrs.....”
“Sheenan. Cameron Sheenan. And yes, you can help me prove my husband’s innocence.”
“Excuse me, innocence......”

Taking a stern look at both Little and Chevalier, she said, “Yes, innocence! My husband’s good name was dragged through the dirt fourteen years ago and I want to see him regain his good name.” Pausing to catch her breath, she added, “My late husband, Daniel Sheenan, was accused of killing that infernal lawyer Vincent Elliott all those years ago and I’d like your agency to prove he didn’t do it!”
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:58 am

Chapter 2

***mid-afternoon, Velo City Times***
After pouring over all the information given to him and his crew by Cameron Sheenan about what had happened fourteen years ago, Matt left the club and hopped into his Audi R8 Spider, lighting up the parking lot in front of Zero’s with a cloud of smoke as he drove onto Kensington Blvd. for the trip downtown. As he headed down to the Times Building, he thought about what he’d heard and it puzzled him. Back in 1997, Velo City was, for all intent and purposes, a powderkeg and the Elliott murder had been the fuse that burned its’ way into it. Little knew enough of the city’s history to know that every city had its’ share of top-notch criminal and civil lawyers, and Vincent Elliott was the short of short lists there. But Elliott’s specialty was police brutality and he was the best at it. At the time of his murder, he was working on just such a case; it entailed every dark undertone you could fathom in 1990's Velo City.

Looking down the highway, he could see the tall spires of downtown ahead; off to the right was a Tanaka Parts billboard while ahead was the ten-lane freeway that was the 101. Passing underneath it, he headed over to Spring St. and luckily found a curbside parking spot. Walking over to the Times Building, he quickly made his way to the elevators and headed up to the Metro offices on the 6th floor. Arriving on the floor, he turned towards the offices of the Times’ newest executive editor, arriving just in time to see the door open and several reporters exit the office. He waited for them to leave then walked over and knocked on the slightly-ajar door. “Catch you at a bad time, Gina?”

The blond, patrician woman standing in the office whirled around and looked at him. “Unfortunately, Matt. How are you doing?”
“I wish I could be doing better at the moment, but I need some background info on a murder, circa 1997.”

“Vincent Elliott.” That brought a chill to the air and for a moment he thought he saw the hint of a scowl on Gina Roarty’s face. He continued on. “Angels Flight, 1997. Someone capped him five times on one of the trains there. A few weeks later the city goes up a/la Rodney King.”

Blowing out a long drag of air, Roarty looked over the window of her office. “Vincent Elliott. You know, Matt, that guy had one overarching priority in life.......making life a living hell for the VCPD. It was his specialty, bringing brutality cases against the department for everything imaginable.” She sat down as she spoke, crossing her legs and reaching for a pen on her desk. “He was one very hated individual. I guarantee you every police officer in Velo City danced the night away when they heard someone capped him, especially when they heard where one of the shots went.”

Puzzled, he asked, “What do you mean?”
“Elliott was shot five times at close range with a 9mm pistol. Four of the shots were to the chest and head; two center-mass and two to the cranium. The fifth shot......that one was bizarre, Matt. How can I put it.....someone gave Elliott a lead enema.”

“Seriously, the fifth shot was square in the a#%. I mean, right where the pants’ seams come up in the middle, right there. It was like the shooter was giving Elliott a big, fat, f*ck you and doing it as a sign of vindictiveness–“

”Or outright hate,” he added. Changing tack, he asked, “Why the emphasis on Dan Sheenan as the shooter? He worked Central Detectives at the time; wasn’t he one of the investigators?”

“No,” Roarty replied. “When they got the call-out, Central sent the usual two-man team. When they found out who the vic was, they called Parker Center and the bulls came running down the street,” a reference to RHD. “Sheenan was one of the two detectives that got the call-out.”
“How’d they figure him, though?”

“Reports at the time suggested a ballistics match but other than the fact the shooter was using 9mm rounds to do the deed, there wasn’t anything else to tie Sheenan to the murder. Plus, according to the reports, whoever did it picked up the shell casings from the scene; none were ever found on Sheenan or at his apartment.” Pausing for added effect, Roarty finished with, “My guess, Matt. I don’t think Sheenan did it. All this, the shot to the a#% notwithstanding, points to a hit. Someone cased Elliott and someone capped him.” Then Roarty changed tack. “Why the interest on Elliott, Matt?”
“The widow of the alleged shooter, Cameron Sheenan, has asked me to look into the case–“

”She the one suing the department and the city?” There was an audible silence in the air, proving her point as he continued. “–and that is why I am here, although, for what it’s worth, Gina, I feel like I’m walking through a minefield, one that could blow the city apart if I take the wrong step anywhere along the line.”

“I pity you, Matt. Not much, but I do pity you.” Her sarcasm wasn’t lost on him as he went on. “It could be worse, Gina. My wife got a two-ten call early this morning from Parker Center. Care to guess why?”

It took only a moment for the shock to register on Roarty’s face. “Let me guess. They’re reopening the case?”

“Probably because of that editorial your colleague wrote a few days back. Wanna’ bet when the 10th floor at Parker read that, they had collective coronaries?”The irony wasn’t lost on her; before she became one of the Times’ executive editors, she had been one of its’ top crime reporters, with two Pulitzers’ to her name. Looking at his watch, he saw that the time had flown away. “Listen, I hate to break our little soiree’, but I gotta’ take off. Let me know if you find out anything, alright?” As he walked out of her office and towards the elevators, he kept asking himself, why would the VCPD reopen a case such as this? The widow Sheenan’s lawsuit? Maybe. The Times’ editorial from a few days ago? Maybe. He was right, he thought to himself. I am treading into a minefield; I just hope I don’t step on a mine in the process.

***Kelsey’s notes taken following reading of Elliott file[partial listing]***
(evening, 2212 Baker St., Kensington Hills)
--4 June 1997, 11:23pm.................Central Division patrol unit called to the Angels Flight funicular railroad; dispatch report stated that the train conductor saw the body of a tall, well-dressed AA gentleman lying on the floor of one of the two trains.
–11:28pm, Basic Car 1-Adam-1 arrives on the Grand St. end of Angels Flight; discovers the body in one of the trains, calls for detectives and FSD(Forensic Sciences Division) techs and secures crime scene
-5 June 1997, 12:38am, Central Division detectives Pascarelli and Timmons arrive, confirm ID of victim as Vincent Alan Elliott, 43yo; DL listed a Mid-City address. Once detectives realized who Elliott was, they radioed dispatch for additional officers and command staff presence
–2:07am, Following discussions with then-Asst. Chief(Operations) Chad Elliott[name incidental to vic] and then-Captain Rob Attardo(commander, Central Division), decision is made to call outside units in to lead investigation.......eventual call-out goes to Pacific Division and to Detective Bureau..........

As she continued writing down her notes on the case, Kelsey kept asking, ‘where was Sheenan involved?’ She went back through the voluminous file and found the call-out list of personnel from Central Detectives; towards the bottom third of the page was listed Sheenan, Daniel(Det.II). She went back to her notes...........

------early afternoon, 5 June 1997, personnel from both Central and Pacific Divisions conduct next-of-kin notifications and begin going over victim’s last hours
– mid-afternoon, press conference called by Chief Parks concerning the Elliott case.............

Then something caught Kelsey’s eye which brought back some unwanted memories.......

-----during course of 11 June P.C., Chief Parks announces department-wide 12 and 12 hour shifts effective midnight, 12 June 1997.
During times of possible urban strife, VCPD policy was to go to what the department manual referred to as “tactical alert”. This meant, unless an officer was conducting an immediate investigation, they were to go to twelve-hours shifts and in uniform. It didn’t mean much to her, though. Back then, she was a young officer assigned to 77th St.’s tactical unit and was already working 10-12 hour shifts. She continued her note-taking as she heard in the background a car door open and close.

As she continued to write down her notes, she felt a pair of hands begin massaging her shoulders and neck. Leaning back, she looked up to see her husband standing behind he. Leaning down to give her a quick kiss, he asked how things were going. “Better, now that you’re here,” she sighed, leaning back in the chair as he continued his massage. “Keep doing that for about eight hours, would ya’?”

Grabbing a chair, he sat down next to her. “What’s wrong?”
“My first full day back on the Job and I feel like someone dropped a wagonload of hay on my shoulders,” Kelsey replied, pushing the files and her notes further down the table. “I still remember when news of Elliott’s death was announced. I was down in 77th at the time and most everyone down there within the division–; hell, I suspect most everyone in the department danced at the news, that’s how hated Elliott was.” She sighed for a moment before adding, “Now I get the job of opening the case back up and seeing whether Sheenan actually murdered him or not.” She leaned back in her chair, propping her feet up on a nearby stool. “So, how was your day?”

“About the same; on the other hand, it looks like we’re working the same case but from different angles–“
”What do you mean, different angles?”

“Sheenan’s widow came by Zero today and asked our agency to help prove Sheenan’s innocence.” Kelsey’s jaw dropped at the news; it was common knowledge that Cameron Sheenan was suing the department over Dan Sheenan’s death. “You’re right; we are looking at the same thing from different angles. But any lawyer worth his salt,” she said, drawing a snort from him, “will scream conflict of interest” faster than the San Andreas Fault can split Velo City apart.”

Leaning close to him, she added, “I can see it now.” Putting her arms around his neck, she continued in a sultry voice, “The city attorney calls you to the stand and asks, ‘Mr. Little, how can you sit there and testify that there was no conflict in this case when you’re married to an investigator within the VCPD who was assigned the case?’

Leaning in to kiss her, he replied, “I’d say to the lawyer, ‘At no time was there ever a conflict because neither of us knew the other was investigating the same case......’” By the time he said that, however, they were both on the floor, clothes being tossed asunder, the case file still on the table, undisturbed but occasionally jostled about from below. Indeed, the table could’ve fallen on them but they wouldn’t have felt anything except their own pent-up passion.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:58 am

Chapter 3

***WE morning, One Parker Center***
As she walked through the doors leading into the broad 5th floor suite of offices and rooms occupied by Robbery-Homicide, Kelsey could see the place was mad with activity. Walking over to her unit’s group of offices on the far side of the floor, she saw one of her sergeants standing near the door. Not a good sign, she thought to herself. Reaching the door to her office, she said, “If you’re standing there, Science, it ain’t to simply say hello.”

Opening the door to her office, she walked in followed by one of her two team supervisors. There was a history between her and Sergeant Kevin Hilbiber, her lead sergeant in Open/Unsolved. Hilbiber had served as Kelsey’s training officer down in 77th and had taught her a lot about police work; the two worked well together. Hilbiber had been a veteran RHD investigator for several years now and when Kelsey had returned to the department, her first request to the powers-that-be were that if she was going to work on unsolved cases, she wanted the best investigator assigned to the unit. That was Science....rumor had it Lt. Sands, Science’s previous commander, had nearly blown an artery when Cmdr. Egan transferred him over to Open/Unsolved. For him to be waiting outside her office at 8:15am was not a good way to start the day. “So, what do we got, Science?”

“And a cheery morning to you too, Lt,” he replied, using the ubiquitous Job moniker for lieutenant. As she sat down behind her desk, he began. “Stephenson and I spent all day yesterday going back over the murder book and I tell you, boss, there’s more holes in it than in a deck of Swiss cheese.” This piqued Kelsey’s interest. Her notes from Monday night had hinted at something similar. “For starters, AC Elliott’s decision to call off Central and transfer the case to Pacific stinks. I mean, if division detectives have a conflict or need assistance, why call another division way out in the sticks when you have us bulls here in the Detective Bureau to take over.”

“Perhaps AC Elliott saw something in the wind and didn’t want to take any chances,” Kelsey replied.

“True, but if that’s the case, why wasn’t the Central Bureau commander, Deputy Chief Pellegrino, called to the scene. After all, if the AC of Operations is going to pull a case–“

”Problem, Science, is that RHD didn’t take the lead.” Looking down at her completed notes taken from the murder book, Kelsey added, “According to the book, DC Pellegrino was notified but not until after Pacific got the call-out.”

“Now that I don’t get,” Science replied back. “I mean, normally high-profile cases get transferred from division to the bureau, up the ladder, not sideways to another division.”

“Point taken, but.......go back and talk to the principles in both Pacific and RHD....something doesn’t add up here. Plus, why would the ACO bypass the bureau commander.......” Leaning back to rub the bridge of her nose, Kelsey thought for a moment, then reached for the phone. Dialing one of the extensions, she waited until the person she was hoping to talk to spoke. “Lieutenant Sands.”

“Stark, it’s Kelsey. You got a minute?” Hearing his reply, she hung up the phone and said to Hilbiber, "Keep working at it; there's got to be something there.” As he walked out of the office, Little turned in her chair towards the window, thinking, No way was Elliott's murder random; this was a hit. But who was the hitter...... Her train of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door. “Come in,” was her reply. Turning back around, she saw Lt. Sands sitting down in one of the patent leather chairs in front of her desk. “Stark, you were working RHD back in 1997, right?”

“Yeah, I was a D3 with Robbery Special at the time,” came the reply. Although Little and Sands were unit commanders within RHD, they came up through different paths. While this was Kelsey’s first command inside the detective bureau, Stark Sands had practically lived in the bureau for all but three of his 21 years in the VCPD. Most of those years had been spent in either RHD or Narcotics, with a two-year stint in Internal Affairs to boot. “This about the Elliott case?”

“Yeah. Let me ask you.......a case this like should’ve been handled, first by Central Detectives and then by RHD once it became clear who the vic was. Why did they call-out people from Pacific Division instead?”

“Who knows what the bosses think, Kelsey? Two guesses. One, Central might not’ve wanted this case on their plate; Central Detectives had one of the busiest caseloads back in 1997 and a case like Elliott’s woulda’ pushed everything else to the back burner. Two, someone from on-high pulled the case from them, but then the question shifts to why they pulled it from Central...” Before he could continue, the phone extension rang. Kelsey picked up the phone and listened for a few moments before hanging up. “Hold that thought, Stark; that was Commander Egan. Press conference in the media center and he wants both of us there.” Whistling at the news, Sands got up and opened the door as both he and Little left the office. As they walked over to the division exit and headed for the elevators, Sands whispered, “Sounds like the circus has arrived.” Kelsey shrugged, wondering just what was happening.

***9th Floor Media Center, One Parker Center***
Walking into the expansive media center, Kelsey noticed two equally interesting things of interest. First was the fact that, alongside Commander Egan, were two other high-ranking, uniformed officers. One she recognized as her former division boss down in 77th, the other she didn’t recognize. Secondly, she noticed at least ten TV cameras and two dozen members of the media in the room. That meant national attention. Besides the local networks(KVLO, KNWB, KTLA, KNX and KHR) Kelsey saw cameras from the major cable networks and regional networks. It was well known that when you saw national and local cameras at a police press conference, it meant the whole nation was watching and that brought a chill to Little’s bones. She walked over to her boss and asked what was going on.

“Captain Houghton just left to get Chief Bratton; the press conference’ll begin as soon as they return. Shouldn’t be a few minutes, though.” Turning to the two uniformed officers standing next to Egan, he introduced them quickly. “Deputy Chief Charles Beck, Internal Affairs commander–“

”I thought I recognized him; he was my division commander down in 77th–“

”And the other gentleman standing next to him is Assistant Chief Matt Yaeger, who just so happens to be our boss in the Detective Bureau.” The two shook hands with the stocky Yeager, who was one of four assistant chiefs within the VCPD, the others being the Assistant Chief of the department’s Operations Bureau and the Assistant Chiefs of Support Services and Administrative Services. “Welcome to your first media circus, Lieutenant Little. Commander Egan says you just returned to the department a few weeks ago. How’s everything over in Open/Unsolved?”

“It’s going along well right now, sir. Still trying to reacquaint myself with being back on the job and all, but it’s going well.”

“That’s good to hear.” As he turned back to talk to Commander Egan, Kelsey turned back around to Sands and asked what was going on. “Your guess is good as mine–“ He didn’t get to complete that thought as two more uniformed officers walked in. First was Captain Mike Houghton, who ran the department’s Public Information Office. Right behind him was Chief Bratton, who strode confidently over to the podium. Clearing his throat for a moment, Captain Houghton spoke first. “Everyone okay?”

Even though a few people yelled out, “No,” and “Wait, wait,” he continued. “Okay, for those who are here, Chief Bratton is going to give a statement on the reopening of the Vincent Elliott case and will then answer a few questions. Before he begins I’d like to introduce everyone here at the podium. On the chief’s immediate left and right, respectively are Assistant Chief Matt Yaeger of the department’s Detective Bureau and Deputy Chief Charles Beck, who commands the VCPD’s Internal Affairs Group. To Assistant Chief’s Yaeger’s left is Commander Chris Egan, commander of Robbery-Homicide Division, and to the right of Deputy Chief Beck are Lieutenants Kelsey Little and Stark Sands, who command two of Robbery-Homicide's subordinate units, the Open/Unsolved Unit and Homicide Special Section. Following Chief Bratton’s statement, both he and Assistant Chief Yaeger will answer any questions you have. Unless anyone has any questions.......” Without hesitating, Chief Bratton began his statement. Everyone stood quietly behind him as he spoke about the 1997 case and the investigation that had been reopened. After about five minutes or so, he opened the floor up to questions. “Chief, could you elaborate on the reason or reasons for reopening the Elliott case, in light of the past history of the case?”

“Certainly, Gina. About a week ago, the department received information which pointed at the possible innocence of the man accused in the shooting of Vincent Elliott. This information was given to Robbery-Homicide and they,” pointing over to Commander Egan and then Lieutenant Little, “have begun a thorough review of the case in an effort to determine whether in fact Detective Daniel Sheenan was the alleged shooter or not.” He pointed over to a TV reporter, who asked about whether the department was ready to protect against another repeat of the 1997 South Velo riots.

“Right now, we are continuing with our current operations plan. However, if we do decide to go to twelve and twelves’ we will let the media know ahead of time.” Several more questions were asked to both Chief Bratton and Asst. Chief Yaeger before Captain Houghton ended the press conference, reminding everyone that there would be a press release available to everyone. As all the officers walked out of the media center to a nearby, guarded hallway, Bratton stopped Egan, Sands and Little and asked them to give him a rundown of the case up to now.

Listening intently, he didn’t interrupt, instead letting them talk. Finally, he spoke, his Brahmin accent at a higher pitch. “So, what you’re saying is that someone inside this department killed Vincent Elliott?”

“Either that, sir, or it was an outside hit,” Commander Egan replied. “Both Little and Sands’ detectives have been knocking on doors and running down leads the past day or so. To tell the truth, sir, the detectives who handled this case in 1997 did a very sloppy job of it, period.”

“Indeed,” Assistant Chief Yaeger intoned. “Now the question is, how do we proceed?”
“Exactly,” Chief Bratton added. “Suggestions, Commander?”

“Sir,” Commander Egan replied, “ I’d let both Little and Sands run the case. Kelsey’s people have been up on the wheel since Monday afternoon and Sands’ people have run down leads and talked to everyone involved in the same timeframe. Let’s see where they go the next 48 and go from there.”

“Okay,” Bratton said. “Alright, Commander, its’ their show til’ Friday at the earliest.” He sighed as he continued. “Beck, do you have a copy of USA Today with you?” Deputy Chief Beck handed him a copy of the front page. “There’s calls from the civil rights community to have us turn the case over to the Feds, but I want this case solved here, within the department,” emphasizing the last word. “We need to show Velo City and the rest of America that this department has turned a new leaf and this,” referring to the case, “is where we can begin to turn that new leaf.” Looking at everyone in acknowledgment, all three chiefs walked towards the main hallway, leaving Egan, Sands and Little in the alcove. “So, Kelsey, how do you want to proceed?”

“Sir, two tracks. My section will look back through Elliott’s past, his court cases, any enemies he had, anything that points at someone other than Sheenan, because it’s looking less and less likely that Sheenan killed Elliott. Stark’s section will look at possible outside reasons for Elliott’s demise. But, sir, if Bratton’s only giving us til’ this time Friday, we’re going to need more people–“

”Let me handle the chiefs, Kelsey. You and Stark handle the case. Alright?” As Egan walked to the main hallway, Sands and Little stood there before following him to the hallway. “I tell you, Stark, something about this case doesn’t sit well with me.”
“Such as?”

“I don’t know, but there’s something in this case that doesn’t fit.” As she spoke, her cellphone chirped. “Hang on,” she called out, answering the call. “Yes?”

“Hey, babe. Didn’t catch you at a bad time, did I?,” her husband said. By the sounds of it, Matt was on the freeway doing about 90-95mph.
“No, unless you heard the press conference a few minutes ago,” Kelsey replied.

“I heard snippets of it on the radio. Listen, I think I came up with something but not over an open line,” he said, pausing to let it sink in. “I talked to a friend of mind that worked with Elliott as a P.I. back in 1997 and he’s agreed to talk about what he knew at the time.”

“Any conditions? Has he spoken to the Sheenan’s attorney yet?”
“Not yet, but–“
”Matt, don’t let him talk to.........who’s Sheenan’s attorney?”
“Some lawyer, last name of Vincent–“
”Wait, wait...........Is his name like Gerald or Jerry?”
“Yeah, Jerry Vincent, why?

Kelsey stood there stunned for several long moments. There were, maybe, four lawyers who rivaled Elliott on talent back in 1997. Kelsey knew two of them from the street racing scene, Manuel "Manny" Almero and J. Robert Sawyer. The other two were at the top of the criminal defense ladder; one was Mickey Haller, the other was Jerry Vincent. If the Sheenan widow had hired Vincent in the suit against the city..........she let the thought drop for a bit before speaking. “You gonna’ be at Zero tonight?”

“As usual.”

“I’ll see you tonight.” Closing the cell, she walked over to the elevators for the short trip back to the 5th floor. Rubbing her forehead, she could feel the beginnings of a headache form and thought to herself, of all the people to get involved, the widow hires Vincent to represent her!? This case was beginning to turn in ways she didn't like, but which way it would turn, she didn't know and that's what worried her; not knowing where a case was headed was worse than knowing where it was headed.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:58 am

Location Shots

Location Shots..............

----Police Administration Building, a/k/a One Parker Center. Named for former VCPD Chief William Parker, the new 10-story HQs' building is meant to replace the former 7-story HQs' building which was also named Parker Center.

-----Angels Flight. Located in the heart of downtown Velo City, the two-railcar funicular railroad has been in near-continuous usage by the people of Velo City as both a means of transport/travel and as a tourist attraction for over a century.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:59 am

Chapter 4

***WE evening, Zero Degrees, Taravel District***
Man has a propensity for putting off possible disasters until the last possible moment, Matt thought to himself. The city’s on a hairpin trigger, ready to burn once again and no one seems to be worried, which could be obvious by the fact that Velo City’s largest nightclub, Zero Degrees, was, as usual for a mid-week evening, packed to the rafters. Sitting at his familiar corner table, he could see the entire ground-floor, from the club entrance to the long, expansive bar to the end of the dance floor and in between. With him were the principle members of M-K Investigations, most notably his close friend and sidekick Mike Chevalier, along with longtime associate Melissa Marquis and fellow EIC member Michael Brewer.

There was one other person with them, also......the P.I. Matt had spoke of earlier in the day. As he sat and finished off a glass of bourbon, he looked over at the entrance just as Kelsey walked through the entrance, a harried look on her face. Signaling to her, he watched her stride through the crowds over to the table. As she sat down, Mike looked over at her and quipped, “Our Hollywood sweetheart has arrived,” raising his glass in a toast. Kelsey shot him a brief look but signaled towards the bar for a drink. After making the introductions, Matt finished them by introducing the P.I. he spoke about earlier. “Kelsey, this is Jim Rosamond. he works out of the Bradbury Building downtown. Back in 1997, however, he worked as Vincent Elliott’s lead investigator. Jim?”

“Right. Back then, I was Elliott’s lead investigator. He needed something run down or checked, I got the call. He wanted to get some information or track down leads, ditto.”

“At the time of his death, what was he working on?,” Kelsey asked.

“A case involving police brutality against one of his clients by a group of what Elliott described as ‘vigilantes’. It was, as Elliott put it at the time, his big case, the one that he was going to ride to superstardom or some other crazy s#$%.”

“Did he ever say who was involved?”, Kelsey asked, her interest piqued.
“Never mentioned anyone by name. All he would he say to me whenever I asked was that they were using their status in some high-profile unit to mask their brutality. He did give me a card back then,” he said, reaching into a pants pocket for a card with a lightning bolts’ emblem and a poker hand in the background, “which one of the officers he believed was involved had left with his client”. Kelsey looked at the card and swore quietly, handing the card over to her husband and to Mike. They looked at the card. In the center were a pair of lightning bolts with a poker hand, aces and eights’, in the background. On the bottom there was a read, We intimidate those who intimidate others. Both of them looked over at Kelsey, who was still in a fighting mad mood after seeing the card. “What’s wrong?,” Matt asked.

She looked at the card, then back at them. “This card,” she said, accenting the second word, “was a card those of us back in 77th Tactical carried with us on the streets. You know what this means?” Neither of us said anything, but from Matt’s expression the next thing Kelsey said wasn’t surprising. “When I was in 77th, all of us in the division’s tactical unit carried these cards as a sort of calling card, almost sort of a psy-ops thing. We’d hook somebody up on the street and leave a card for their friends as a means of showing them who ran the streets.” She looked away for a moment before adding, “In all likelihood, whoever killed Vincent Elliott was not only a cop, but someone from my old unit.” No one said anything; no one needed to......the possibilities were too chilling to comprehend.

***early TH morning, South Velo***
After a brief meeting back at Parker Center with Commander Egan and Asst. Chief Yaeger, Kelsey headed down to the heart of South Velo, 77th Street. As she drove down the 405 to Manchester Ave., she listened to one of the all-news stations, KFWB, thinking to herself, It’s already begun. Their lead story was a fire in a strip mall in Southwest Velo, likely a protest to the reopening of the Elliott case. Turning off the radio, she kept driving, the sounds of the police radio in the unmark the only sounds in the car. She kept thinking about the five-plus years she spent as an officer assigned to the department’s 77th Street Division. Working in 77th was akin to being on a treadmill going at maximum speed; you never got a chance to relax or rest, especially if you were assigned to the division’s tactical unit. Created back in the early 80's during the administration of Chief Daryl Gates, the tactical units were a division-level SWAT force which worked as both a crime-suppression and anti-gang force. To be assigned to such a unit was, at one time, considered a plum assignment. It had been several long years since Kelsey had visited her old station and as she pulled into the long, expansive parking area, she thought to herself, It hasn’t changed a bit. Pulling into a space designated for visiting officers, she got out and briskly walked over to the main entrance.

Walking across the lobby towards the division’s detective squad room, Kelsey held up her badge and photo ID towards the desk officer. “I’m heading over to see the watch commander,” she called out. The officer acknowledged her and made a notation on the touchscreen at the desk. Heading down the main corridor, she turned and walked over to the area where the watch commander and division captain’s office was located. As was typical, 77th watch office was a-hum with activity as dispatchers kept busy taking in calls from citizens and patrol/detective units on the street. Walking over to the watch commander’s desk, Little waited for a moment, recognizing the morning watch commander by memory. “You know, Renee, you’re not supposed to be doing crosswords on watch duty.”

Whirling around in her chair, it took her half-a-second to recognize the voice of her former colleague. “And you’re still the same sarcastic comedienne you we’re before. How’s it going, girl?,” said the watch commander as she got up and gave her friend a quick hug. “You ain’t changed a damn bit, Kelsey! What brings you down to the concrete jungle?”

“I need to run down some roll sheets from our old unit; I checked back at Parker with the personnel office and they said the records are kept at the division level, so here I am.”
“Which roll sheets?”
“The ones from the tactical unit from April-July 1997.”

“C’mon back; I need to stretch my legs a little bit anyway.” Looking over at her deputy, the watch commander spoke to him in an even tone. “Mind the store for me, Holcomb.” Not waiting for an acknowledgment, Lieutenant Van Matre pointed over to the watch commander’s office, which Van Matre shared with the evening watch commander. “Come on in, Kelsey,” she said, holding the door open for Little. As Kelsey sat down, Van Matre continued. “I got the telex from Parker Center concerning your visit here. You need the roll sheets from....”

“April to June 1997.”
“Okay.” Punching a few keys on the touchscreen computer, Van Matre typed in her password and login and waited for the personnel links to open up. “I hear you cleared customs a few weeks back,” Van Matre said, referring to the period of time it took the department to clear someone for active duty.

“Yeah; spent nearly three weeks going through refresher classes, weapons qualis’, going over the policy manual and generally driving my husband crazy–“
”Husband? When did you get hitched, Kelsey?”
“Just over a year ago and let me tell you, Renee, it’s been simply wonderful,” Kelsey said with a broad grin on her face. As she said it, the touchscreen beeped and Van Matre turned back to it. “Ah, there we are.”

Punching a few more keys, she asked, “You need the master logs or just the roll sheets?” The VCPD kept two sets of department roll-call logs. One was the department’s master log, which listed every sworn officer’s assignment in every conceivable unit. The other was the division roll-sheet, which only listed the officers assigned to a specific division or unit.

“The roll sheets for 77th’s tactical unit, from the beginning of April 1997 through July 1997.”

“Alright,” Van Matre replied, clicking a few more buttons. The whirr of a laser-jet printer could be heard in the background as Van Matre turned in her seat towards it. “There we go; should be about 15 pages in total.” Turning back around, she asked, “So how are things in the Glass House?”

“Good, good. Working the Open/Unsolved desk and we caught a b#$% of a case–“
”I heard through the weeds about that. That the case they’ve talked about in the news?”

“Yeah. So, Renee, how’s things down here in the jungle?”
“Other than working twelve and twelves this week–“
”Wait? I thought the 10th floor of Parker hadn’t–“

”Not citywide. Just South Bureau at the moment. Orders from on high; anyone not actively involved in an investigation is out on the street, trying to keep as tight a lid on the natives as possible.” As Van Matre turned to grab the papers from the printer, Kelsey studied her former squadmate for a moment. They were both the same age but came from radically different worlds. While Kelsey was from Carthay Square in Wilshire, Renee had grown up a Valley Girl. Although they came from separate worlds, the two had worked for three years in the division’s tactical unit and were close friends.

Van Matre had also saved Kelsey’s life once. On an assignment with division detectives to pick up a homicide suspect, the two had gone out to a rowhouse on 91st Street west of the 405 freeway. Walking to the rear of the rowhouse, Van Matre had spotted someone in the bushes along a secluded walkway, without waiting, she had yelled for Kelsey to get back from the bushes. Right as Kelsey did so, the suspect lunged at both of them, firing a .380 at the pair. Although Kelsey had been hit by two of the rounds, both failed to penetrate her flak vest, but it had been close. Another inch higher and the rounds would’ve gone through her neck. Van Matre had fired three rounds from her weapon at the man, dropping him with a mortal wound to the chest. Coming back to the present, Kelsey put the memory back in its’ place as Van Matre handed her a manila envelope with the roll sheets in it. “Hope this helps you, Kelsey,” she said, as both of them got up and walked out of the office.

***5th Floor, Robbery-Homicide Division, One Parker Center***
After returning to the RHD offices, Kelsey signaled over to Science to come over to her office. When he did so, she handed him the roll sheets from 77th. “As I said to Commander Egan earlier this morning, the odds are getting higher that one of our own killed Vincent Elliott and that they once worked in 77th’s tactical unit.”

“If that’s the case, why not hand the case over to IAG? Let the suits up on six handle it–“

”Normally I’d go along with that, but.........if it was someone from our old division, Kevin......,” pausing for a second before continuing, “imagine what the suits up there would say?”

“Yeah, they’d crucify you, me and anyone associated with 77th Division just to keep the community happy.” Sitting down, Hilbiber spoke once more. “So what do you need?”

“Those roll sheets list every officer who was a member of the division’s tactical unit for the deployment period in April, May, June and July of 1997. We need to eliminate everyone who can be alibied or who was answering radio calls at the time of Elliott’s death.”
“Okay. Do we start with you, boss?,” Science joked weakly.

“Including me, Science; better to look at everyone and clear as many out of the way as possible.” As Hilbiber walked out of the office, Kelsey turned her desk chair towards the window; out in the distance were several cloud-like wisps in the air. As she kept looking towards them, she kept thinking about the timeline of the Elliott murder. He leaves his office in the Bradbury, walks the short distance over to the Angels Flight railcar........shooter pops him as he’s getting on the tram, twice to the chest, twice to the head and once to the posterior.

Grabbing a notepad off a nearby cabinet, she drew out a rough sketch of the area around Angels Flight, marking locations of prominent buildings. Okay, he walks out of the Bradbury and over to Angels Flight. Someone waiting for him, most likely a plainclothes officer, shoots him as he’s getting on the train.......but witnesses at the scene reported seeing a young woman leaving the scene around the time of the shooting. She looked back through the murder book, looking for the list of witnesses the detectives back in 1997 had spoken to.

Finding it, she wrote down their names and addresses along the side of the notepad. Setting her pen down for a moment, she looked back out towards the sky. She thought to herself, maybe the key to this case’ll be their memories, making a note to have Stephenson’s team run down the witnesses. Looking back towards the sky, she rubbed her hands together, feeling the varied juices of an investigation slowly becoming more focused and a possible solution in sight. She also thought, if we can’t get this solved in a few days, the powers that be’ll take the case from us. Hopefully, that wouldn’t happen.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:00 am

Chapter 5

***mid-morning TH, Grand St., downtown Velo City***
What am I missing here?, Matt thought to himself, standing at the top of Angels Flight along Grand St.; a few meters away stood Mike Chevalier, asking pretty much the same question. “What am I missing here?,” he said to himself.
“Hmm? What was that?”
“Oh, nothing.” Walking over to his friend, he asked, “ ‘I said, what am I missing here?’

“Oh....” Looking up and down Grand St., Mike asked, “According to eyewitness accounts back then, Elliott left,” pointing towards the Bradbury Building, “around 10:30, 10:35pm the night he was killed.” He continued as both of them walked down the stairs alongside Angels Flight, the sounds of the funicular railroad in the background amidst the blur of traffic. “He gets to the top of Angels Flight,” Chevalier continues, notepad in hand, “someone shoots him, then,” turning back up and pointing down Grand St., “leaves down Grand St.”

“Okay, two questions, Slick. One, witnesses, as in, ‘were there any’ and two, who’d they see?”

Thumbing through the notepad, Mike continued. “Good news on both, Matt. First, several witnesses reported seeing two people, about my height, leaving the top end of Angels Flight down Grand St. towards Hill St. Second, according to all the info at the time, two of them got very good looks at them.”

That piqued Little’s interest. He asked, “Descriptions?”

Waving his hand back and forth, Chevalier replied, “Blond, my height. Odd thing is, one witness says they thought it might’ve been a woman leaving the top end of Angels Flight that night–“
“Yeah, that’d be my reaction too.”
“Any idea where she is now?”

Thumbing through his notepad, Chevalier said, “Let me look......ahh, here we go. Sharon Lewis, Apartment 4F, The Place–“
”The Place? Mike, isn’t that the apartment building next to Angels Flight?”

Looking over, Chevalier whistled. “Damn, I forgot about that.” Looking over at the Streamline Moderne-designed apartment building known as The Place, Chevalier added, “Should we talk to her now or wait?”

“Let’s wait, Mike. And when we do talk to her, let’s bring Marquis with us; Mrs. Lewis might feel more comfortable if there was a woman present with us when we talk to her.” As they finished walking down the stairs along Angels Flight, Matt’s cell chirped. “Hang on a sec, Mike,” he said as he answered it. Listening to the other person on the cell, Matt stood and said a few things, then listened some more and finally hung up, closing the cell. “What is it, Matt?”

“Good news. Remember that P.I. we talked to last night?”
“Yeah, Rosamond, right?”
“Yeah, Mike. That was him just now; he said he wants to talk to both of us about the case Elliott was working on at the time he was killed,” Matt said as the two began walking back to Mike’s S-10 parked along S. Olive St. As we drove away from Angels Flight, Mike asked, “Where is he?”

“Back at Zero Degrees.” Turning onto 1st St. for the quick jaunt onto Kensington Blvd. for the drive back up to the club, I got the cell back out and made another quick call. When I finished, Mike asked, “What is it?”

“That was me talking to Gina Roarty over at the Times. I asked her if she could have someone look through their archives and see if she could find anything about the Elliott case, in particular what case was it that he working on at the time of his death.” As they turned onto Kensington, Matt continued on. “You know, Mike, there’s something amiss here.”
“How so?”

“Well, Vincent Elliott was probably the most-hated man in Velo City back then; I mean, every cop in the city hated him ‘cause of all the brutality cases he brought to trial. Maybe that’s what got him greased. But what case was it, though?” They drove up Kensington in silence, both wondering just what was going on.

***early TH afternoon, One Parker Center***
Everyone in the 5th floor conference room that RHD used looked over at one of the detectives with a “what the hell” kind of look. “What is it, Rob?”, Kelsey asked.

“”I think, Lt, I found what our proverbial brick in the wall,” said Detective Rob Daves, holding up several legal documents that had been left with all the other evidence from the 1997 murder case. “At the time Elliott was murdered, he was working on a major case against the department and he had subpoenaed’ a bunch of officers.” Walking over to the whiteboard along one wall, he wrote down the sequence of names.
“Okay,” Kelsey asked. “Start at the beginning, Rob. What case was it?”

“Alright. Mid ‘96, 13yo girl by the name of Keisha Wallace gets shot in an apparent drive-by–“
”I remember that case,” Kelsey replied. “My tactical unit and a patrol unit in 77th rolled on the initial call-out. Continue, Rob.”

“Okay. Division detectives investigate, find out it wasn’t simply a random drive-by but a deliberate shooting. Couple of days later, detectives hook up a mutt named Latrell Brentwater,” Daves said, handing out pictures of the alleged shooter to everyone, “and sweat him in the box for almost two days. Towards the end they got rough with the guy and basically beat him to within an inch of his life.”

Pausing, he continued on. “Case goes to trial and it comes out what happened with the interrogation; jury comes back within an hour of receiving the case and issues a not guilty verdict. Brentwater walks free; couple of months later, Elliott files in federal court, alleging police bruality against Brentwater.” Coming back over to the table, Daves held up the subpoenas. “Right before he was killed, he issued about a dozen or so subpoenas for officers in the case, from patrol officers involved in the arrest to the detectives who interrogated him.”

Walking to a second whiteboard, Daves wrote the names of the officers subpoenaed’. Amongst the names was Kelsey’s old friend from 77th, Lt. Van Matre, who was a patrol officer at the time. Walking over to the board, Little looked at the name of her old friend, then looked over at Sgt. Hilbiber. “Kevin, how many names on the roll sheets did we eliminate earlier?”

Scrolling down the list, Hilbiber replied, “Eleven, including yours.”
“And Van Matre’s?”
Looking down at the list, his reply was, “She wasn’t one of them, boss.” Kelsey stared at the board, stunned at the direction the case was now turning. If this panned out, could it be that her old friend, partner and sidekick was involved in Elliott’s murder? Turning to look over at Daves, Kelsey spoke. “Good work, Rob.” He nodded as Hilbiber walked over to her and stood nearby, looking at the board. “You don’t think......”

“You don’t want to know what I’m thinking, Science,” Little replied. “You don’t want to know.” Just then, the phone rang in the conference room; one of the detectives picked up, then looked over at Lt. Little. “For you, Lt.”
Striding over to the phone, she answered it, then listened to Commander Egan for several moments. As she set the phone down, Hilbiber asked who it was. “That was Commander Egan; he wants a status report on the case before he talks to both Chief Bratton and Asst. Chief Yaeger. Later today.” She began to walk to the conference room doors; as she did so, Hilbiber asked her where she was headed. “Down to the memorial garden, Kevin. I’ll be back in twenty; get me a status report for the commander, okay?”

As she walked out of the conference room towards the main hallway, Kelsey kept thinking about where the case was headed. Was this a possible break or another dead end? A more troubling thought came to mind.......if her old friend was indeed mixed up in this, were they going to have to sweat her out in the box later on?
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:00 am

Chapter 6

***FR morning, Apt.4F, The Place, downtown Velo City***
While waiting for Roarty at the Times to check on the archival info he had asked, Matt had decided to go ahead and interview one of the witnesses from 1997. As he and Melissa Marquis stood outside the apartment door of Sharon Lewis, Little kept thinking, hopefully this won’t be a dead end. As he gathered his thoughts, the door opened. A short, modest woman in her mid-60's stood before them, conservatively dressed as if she were heading to work that morning. “Can I help you two?”

“Yes, ma’am. My name is Matthew Little and this is my associate, Melissa Marquis. We’re with the LCH Detective Agency,” he said as both of them showed Mrs. Lewis their P.I.. licences, “and we were wondering if we could ask you a few questions about the 1997 murder of Vincent Elliott.”

“By all means; come on in, both of you,” she replied, beckoning them into the apartment’s living room. It was sparse but well-furnished; as Lewis sat down in a leather chair, both Little and Marquis sat down on a sofa across from her. As he pulled out a tape recorder, Little spoke. “Ma’am, before we begin, I just want to let you know that our agency has been hired by the widow of the man accused—“

”I read about that in the paper; I didn’t believe he killed that man back then and I don’t believe it now.”
“Do you mind if we record this conversation for our investigation?”
“No, I don’t mind,” she said as Little turned the recorder on and placed it with the microphone up so that it would fully record what was said.

“Anyway, what can you tell us about that night?”
“Well,” Mrs. Lewis began, “I had just finished walking around the block that evening; it must have been around ten-thirty or so when I saw this well-dressed black man walking towards the top of the tram.”
“The tram? You mean Angels Flight?”
“Yes. I said hello to him as he passed; he replied ‘Hello’ to me in return. As he kept walking towards the top of the tram, I turned into the doorway of my building when I saw these two people begin crossing Grand St. towards him.”

“Could you describe these two, Mrs. Lewis?,” Marquis asked.
“Certainly. They were both women, both blonde if I recall but they walked like they were watching him or something. I kept watching them as they got closer to the man I had passed earlier on the street. Odd thing about one of them, though.”
“Odd?,” Matt asked, a curious look on his face.
“Yeah, I thought it was odd, but one of them was holding her arm down towards her leg, like she was hiding something.” Both Little and Marquis looked at one another for a moment as Mrs. Lewis continued. “I didn’t think anything of it, though. I figured they were watching someone and were following them. A few minutes later, I heard what sounded like a car backfiring, which is rather weird for that part of Grand St. doesn’t carry car traffic; hasn’t for years.”

“Mrs. Lewis, when the police spoke to you back in 1997, did they ask you any of these questions?”
“Just the basic questions at the time; they acted as if they didn’t care for the victim. Isn’t that awful?”

If you only knew, Little thought to himself. Pulling out a business card from his sport jacket, he handed it to Mrs. Lewis and turned off the tape recorder. “Ma’am, if there’s anything else, don’t hesitate to call us. Our cell numbers are on the card there; both home and office numbers.” After thanking Mrs. Lewis for her time, both of them left the apartment. As they walked to the elevator, Marquis asked, “You think she was telling the truth, Matt?”

“No; I think somebody got to her before we did. She was holding something back but what I don’t know.” Just then Little’s cell rang. “Hello?”

“Matt, it’s Mike Chevalier. Where ya’ at?”
“Zero Degrees. Be careful; there’s a protest march in your neck of the woods and it looks to be a big one,” he said, looking at a widescreen TV at the club.
“They say what street they’re on?”
“Los Angeles Street, marching towards Parker Center. Stay safe, buddy.” Mike hung up, the sound of silence on the phone almost deafening. As they left the building, Matt’s cell rang again. After a brief conversation, he looked at Marquis. “Ever been to the Times building?”
“No, why?”

“That was Gina Roarty over at the Times. I think she’s found something of interest.” As both of them hopped into Marquis’s Lotus for the quick drive to the Times, Little hoped that they had found a break, a clue. Whatever it was, he thought, though, we better find it fast before the city erupts.

***early FR morning, One Parker Center***
As she walked off the elevator onto the 5th-floor of Parker Center, Kelsey felt more and more energized as she thought about where the Elliott case was heading. On top of that, she had just left the chief’s conference room on the 10th floor, where Chief Bratton had, without hesitating, given her the case as lead supervisor. She could now call on any asset in the VCPD for assistance. It also meant that if the case went south, so would her career. Walking into the 5th-floor offices that RHD occupied, she headed towards the conference room the division used. Entering it, she saw both of her sergeants standing near the whiteboard at the head of the room. She walked over to it; the pair turned to face her. “Morning, gents. So, where are we at here?”

“And a good morning to you as well, Lt,” replied Sgt. Barry Stephenson, who commanded OU’s second team. “Well, we think we got a timeline for what happened that night.” Tapping the whiteboard, he laid out the timeline for what happened that night back in 1997, pointing to several crime scene photos taken then. Kelsey studied them intently as Stephenson continued on. “What’s this?,” she asked, pointing to what looked like a shell cartridge from a 9mm on the ground.
“That we don’t know about,” he replied.
“Why not, Barry?”

“We just got this in an hour ago; I sent de Castro and Edwards over to ballistics to see if they could match it to anything, but we won’t know for at least another 24-36 hours.”
“Sorry, Barry. Go on.”

“Anyway, before we sent it over to ballistics, we noticed it was wrapped in plastic, like someone was trying to preserve it or something. We carefully took the plastic off and held it under a UV light and,” picking up a piece of paper with what looked like a set of prints on it,” voila.” Handing the sheet over to Little, he added, “it’s only a partial thumb and index print, we think, but it could tie the killer to Elliott.”

“Or be an innocent.” Seeing both of them look at her, she added, “Not that kind of innocent, just innocent of this case.” Continuing to look at the list of possible suspects, Kelsey couldn’t take her eyes off the name of her old partner and colleague from 77th Division. “Barry, call Forensics. Tell them I want a Code 3 on the prints from that cartridge.” As Stephenson picked up the phone, Kelsey turned to the other sergeant. “Okay, Science, what’s happened in the city overnight?”

“A couple of things of interest,” he replied, turning on one of the HD televisions the conference room held. “First, in case you didn’t see them on your way in, we have a protest march proceeding up Los Angeles Street towards City Hall. Very peaceful, but Chief Bratton isn’t taking any chances. They got Mounted Unit officers alongside the marchers to keep them from straying off the march path. That, though was the good news.”

“And the bad?”
“Someone shot up a fire truck in Southwest late last night that was responding to a structural fire just off Rodeo Rd. Two units responded and almost got schwacked for their efforts. There’s about ten, fifteen cops there now in riot gear; a good portion of Rodeo Rd. is closed off for now. A few other close calls but so far the city’s not tipped over yet.” Looking over at her, he added, “You really think Van Matre’s the shooter on this?”

“I don’t know, Science. Either she’s the shooter or she knows the shooter. We’ll know more when we get the prints back. Meanwhile–“ One of the phones began ringing; a detective picked up and motioned to Little. Walking over, she took the phone and answered. Listening intently, she snapped her fingers towards Hilbiber and Shanburg and spoke to whoever was on the other end. She hung up as they walked over. “That was Daves. He and Epley just finished talking to someone who says they saw two people walking towards Vincent Elliott the night he was murdered. I just told them to get as good a description from the witness as they could.”

As the gears began rolling, she thought about her next move. “Science, get back on the horn to de Castro and Edwards. Tell them to follow Van Matre when she goes off-duty. I want to know where she goes, who she sees, the whole enchilada. Barry, tell Daves and Epley to get back here ASAP with that witness description. We’ll run it through the computer and see if we can get a composite. Meanwhile,” she paused for a moment before continuing, “it’s going to be a very long day, so,” pausing to look back at the HD set and the protest march on it before finishing, “let’s be about it, people!” As they went off on their various assignments, Kelsey walked over to the whiteboards, arms crossed, looking at her old friend’s name and wondering to herself, I really, really hope I’m wrong about this. If I’m could you cross the line, Renee? How could you?
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:00 am

Location Shots #2

Built in the 1890's, the Bradbury Building is a Velo City landmark. In what had to be a perverse bit of irony, Vincent Elliott's law offices were located in the building on the 4th Floor. VCPD's Internal Affairs Group occupies several offices on the 3rd Floor. Small world, huh?

Interior shot of the Bradbury Building.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:01 am

Chapter 7

***FR evening, One Parker Center***
A light rain had begun to fall, the imprints of the rain rolling down the windows along the Los Angeles Street side of the building; hopefully, Kelsey thought, it’ll put a damper on any problems throughout Velo City. This was a sentiment shared by many in the department yet at the same time the department wasn’t running into panic mode as they would’ve under past chiefs. As she kept looking out the window of her office, she kept going over in her mind the facts of the Elliott case in her head, over and over again. Her mind was in a sort of lockdown mode, where it had been for several hours. She was in her element, the case now moving from a gathering phase as she called it, to a hunting phase, where, if everything played out right, someone was going to get a nice pair of silver cufflinks and a ride to County. As she kept reviewing the case file, she heard someone knock on the door. “Come in.”

It was Commander Egan; by the look on his face, something was up. “I hope I’m not intruding, Kelsey.”
“You’re not, sir. Please, sit down,” motioning to a chair in front of her. As her boss sat down, he asked how the case was proceeding.
“Well, we’re waiting on latents to see whose’ prints were found on that cartridge, but something doesn’t seem right about it.”
“How so?”
“Well, we went over the murder book, several boxes of evidence and anything related to this case and we just found that,” emphasizing that last word, “today?”

“Welcome to the world of Forensic Sciences, Kelsey, a place where anything and everything can get misplaced, lost or destroyed. That’s part of the irony of Open/Unsolved. Even as recently as the late 1990's, there’s bound to be hundreds of unsolved cases where evidence is gone. Literally, gone.” He changed the subject. “So, do you really think Lieutenant Van Matre could be involved?”

“I don’t know, sir. I want to think not, but her name’s on a subpoena from the Brentwater case; she was one of the principle defendants in that case, which makes Elliott’s passing convenient. But if it’s not her, then who?”
“Back to Sheenan?”

“Nothing to connect him to Elliott, boss. And,” handing him a paper from her desk, “if it were him, he’d have to be in two places at once. At the time Elliott was murdered, Daniel Sheenan had been pulled over by a CHP trooper on the 210 heading towards Acceleration Point.”
“What was the dispo on that?”

“He got nailed for going 100 in a 65 zone; it’s a miracle he didn’t get hooked but that alibis’ him for Elliott. So if it’s not him, who was it?” Rubbing the back of her neck, Kelsey continued. “On top of that, we’re still waiting on the composite from that witness Daves and Epley spoke to earlier.” Looking at her watch, she realized she hadn’t eaten for most of the day. “Commander, I’m getting ready to grab a bite–“ Before she could say anything, the phone on her desk rang. She picked it up, a hint of trepidation in her voice. “Yes?” She listened for several moments, then hung up. “Well?,” Commander Egan asked.

“That was latents. They got the prints back from CalDOJ and......,” hearing the printer in her office come on, walked over to it and picked up the paper.......”and they couldn’t find anyone that matched. Back to square one, I guess.” Picking up her jacket, she began to walk to the door. “It’s 7:30pm; I’ll be back in the morning,” walking out of the office, her boss holding the door open for her. As she walked out of RHD’s suite of offices, Kelsey’s mind was in a frenzy. What are we missing here?, she thought to herself. On the one hand, maybe its’ not Van Matre. On the other hand, if not her, then who was it?

***FR night, Zero Degrees***
The city could be burning into the ground, Matt thought to himself, yet Zero’s packed to the rafters with people trying to forget the stresses and troubles of the outside world. He didn’t blame them; at that moment, he would do the same thing. Sitting at a corner table, nursing a glass of Old Forester ‘75 bourbon on the rocks, he mused in his mind the direction the week had gone. We get hired by the widow of the man accused of killing Vincent Elliott; we spend all week working the case only to be told by Sheenan’s attorney that they’ve come to a settlement with the city and the VCPD and, therefore, your services aren’t needed anymore. And people wonder why I hate lawyers as much as I do at times, he thought to himself. He didn’t sweat it, though; part of being a private investigator was dealing with things like that, but on the flip side, at least the payout for four days' work was worth the aggravation.

Taking a drink, he set the glass down and watched everyone when he had a sudden thought enter his mind. Why would Cameron Sheenan settle with the city of Velo when the odds were very likely, judging by all of the evidence they’d found over the past four days, that Dan Sheenan had nothing to do with Elliott’s murder? A case like this, he thought, should garner a couple of million from the city, unless their were other reasons for settling. Little’s mind shot forward for a moment as he thought about what would’ve happened had Sheenan gone to trial against the city.

To prove wrongful actions from the city she would’ve had to have shown that the city, in particular, knew that Sheenan wasn’t the shooter, yet a cursory look at the investigation would’ve disproven Sheenan’s guilt; thus the case woulda' been a slam dunk. There was also the statements of Mrs. Lewis, who said she had seen two people approach Elliott as he walked towards the Grand St. side of Angels Flight; why wasn’t that in the murder book? It was as if the department put blinders on the minute Dan Sheenan became the primary suspect, even though, as one of his contacts in the CHP had told him, Sheenan was getting a speeding ticket on the 210 at the time Elliott was shot. As he took another sip of bourbon, one of the barstaff walked over to him. “Phone for you, sir,” he said. Matt walked over and answered, “Hello, who is this?”

“Jim Rosamond; we've spoken a couple of times this week--”
“Right, I remember–“

”I was going back through all the files I had at the time when I worked for Vincent Elliott and I found something of interest. I don’t want to talk about it over an open phone, though.”
“Okay, where do you want to meet?”

“Corner of Hollywood and Vine, near the Metro station.”
“Alright; thirty minutes. Look for a red/black SSC Aero.” After he hung up, Matt began walking quickly towards the club entrance, moving quickly to his car. Roaring out of the lot, he headed down Kensington for the drive down.

***FR night, Hollywood Blvd. near Vine***
As he got off the 101 freeway and headed towards Hollywood Blvd., the light rain which had begun earlier in the day was now coming down harder, as if nature was trying to dampen any malignant spirits in the air. He had the area’s all-news station, KFWB, on; as he listened to it, he pulled to the curb on Vine, within eyesight of the Metro station at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Reaching back, he felt the familiar bulge of his Bren Ten .45 and shut off the car, getting out in one fluid motion. Walking down Vine towards the corner, he scanned the crowds, looking for Rosamond. As he turned the corner, he saw him enter a café a little ways’ up Hollywood. Noting where the café was, he made his way down the boulevard, reaching the café and entering. Walking in, he saw Rosamond sitting in a booth along the cafe’s front; he sat down opposite his fellow P.I. “Well, you wanted to talk to me about something; talk.”

Sliding over a file thick with reports and information, Rosamond began. “I shoulda’ brought this to you a few days ago, but I didn’t know whether to trust you or not. I did some backgrounding on you, Matthew; you seem to be a righteous person. I like that; I see you’re married to another righteous person, too–“

”So you backgrounded me and Kelsey; big deal? What’s your point? Why call me all the way down here?,” Matt asked, a hint of irritation in his voice.
“Look in that file and you’ll see why.” As he opened the file, he saw that most of it dealt with a police brutality case Elliott was preparing to handle at the time of his death. “I remember hearing about this back in 1996 or so. Mind you, I was still in the Corps at the time, but CNN covered it extensively if I recall.”

“Look at the sheet of officers who were subpoenaed about that case.” As I scanned the list, I noticed some familiar names who Elliott had subpoenaed. Stopping at one name in particular, I asked Rosamond, “Why the checkmark next to Van Matre?”

“When Elliott got the subpoenas’, he had served on everyone. Little Miss Van Matre there, though, refused service the first time. They eventually served her the subpoena, though.” My next question was almost obvious. “Give me a description of this Van Matre.” As he described her, Matt could almost hear the gears clicking in his head. Blonde, short height...... He got up from the booth and proceeded to walk out of the cafe'.
======== ======== ======== =======
An hour later, file laying in the passenger seat of his car, Matt pulled into the driveway in front of the house. Grabbing the file, he went in and laid it down on a table, closing the door quietly so as not to wake Kelsey up. A few minutes, file in one hand and sandwich in another, he walked over to the small office he kept towards the front of the house and sat down.

Opening the file, he picked up a small notebook and several pens and set the file in front of him on the desk. Taking a huge bite of the ham sandwich, Matt started going through the file, reading each page and studying every photo, subpoena and legal document inside. Time flew by and eventually the notebook was full with notes and questions. He was so absorbed that he didn’t notice the hall light being turned on; as he was writing he heard someone behind him. Turning, he saw Kelsey standing there in a silk kimono robe. “Sorry, hon. Didn’t mean to wake you up–“

Dismissing it with a wave, she walked over to the desk and stood near him. “Don’t worry; I couldn’t sleep,” she said, walking up behind him and putting her arms around him. “What’s all this?”
“Remember that P.I. we spoke to at Zero a few night back?”
“Yeah, I remember.”

“Well, he called me tonight and asked me to meet him in Hollywood; he handed me all this and said it was from a case Elliott was handling right up to the time of his death.” Pointing to a list of subpoenaed’ 77th officers, Matt continued, “Take a close look at that list, babe. See anyone familiar?”

It only took his wife a few moments before her eyes fell on a familiar name. “Son of a ........” She couldn’t believe her eyes; the name of her old friend Renee Van Matre, the 77th watch commander, was on the subpoena list. “What’s this notation next to her name?”

“I was getting to that,” Matt said. “According to Jim Rosamond, Elliott got subpoenas’ on about a dozen or so officers in 77th Division. However, when they tried to serve Van Matre, she refused at the time, dodging the process server. They eventually served her, but it kinda’ makes you wonder, though. I mean, why dodge a subpoena?,” he said, holding his hands up in a sorta’ of “what-the-hell” kind of expression. As she stood there stunned, he got up, gave her a kiss on the cheek and headed to the doorway. “Where are you going?,” she asked with a bemused tone.

“To shower and get some sleep. I’ve got to head over to Pomona tomorrow; I promised a couple of the kids in EIC I’d watch them on the quarter-mile there at the dragstrip.” As he walked out of the room, Kelsey stood there, still holding the subpoena list in her hand. Why would her friend duck a subpoena, she wondered. Whatever the reason, she felt, it better be a good one as the sounds of water running could be heard in the background. After thinking about the whole thing for a few more moments, she sighed and began to walk out of the office, shedding her kimono. Whatever it was could wait until morning, she slyly thought to herself, for she had a man in her shower at that moment, which was a moment too good to waste.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:02 am

Chapter 8

***SA afternoon, One Parker Center***
Arriving at Parker Center the next morning, Kelsey had spent most of the morning reviewing all the evidence the unit had gone through over the past week. It had been easier as it was unusually quiet in the suite of offices’ RHD occupied; since the department had gone to tactical alert city-wide, anyone not involved in an active case was assigned to either “A” shift or “B” shift in uniform and riot gear. Supervisors weren’t cut any slack, either; by the end of the weekend, Kelsey would join them as well. When she rejoined the department, she was assigned to “B” shift, meaning that a 12-hour shift for her would run noon-midnight.

But that was in the future; right now, she was reviewing the Elliott case one last time before closing the case. With the city settling, there was no need to keep the case open, but something nagged at her. Why would Van Matre refuse a subpoena? Thumbing through the records, she found the number for the legal service which had served the subpoenas. Dialing it quickly, she waited for someone to pick up, which they did after several rings. “Pacific Legal Services.”

“Hello, my name is Kelsey Little, with the Velo City Police Department. I was wondering if I could ask a few questions about a subpoena your firm tried to serve on an officer back in May 1997 or thereabouts.”
“Okay, let me check the records,” the gentleman on the other end said. In the background was the sound of a box-type fan blowing. “Do you have a name or case I can go by in the records?”

“Yes, could you check to see if any subpoenas were issued in regards to a case involving an individual named Latrell Brentwater?” As she waited for the person to check the records, she looked out towards the clouds in the distance; they looked full of rain, as if they were going to pour their contents into the earth all at once. “Ma’am?”

“I just checked our records and there appears to be several subpoenas issued in regards to that case.”
“Could you give me the names of the people who were issued subpoenas?,” Kelsey asked.

“Right-o.” Nine names were mentioned, then the person on the other end dropped a bombshell. “Something odd about the last person on the list, Van Matre–“
”Go ahead.”

“Well, according to this, she refused a subpoena but under California law, once someone’s presented with a subpoena, it doesn’t matter whether they accept or not. The server we sent out to give her the subpoena left her a copy on her car at the time; what she did with it wasn’t our concern.”

“Thank you.” As she hung up the phone, Kelsey opened a desk drawer and pulled out an old photo taken when she was still assigned to 77th’s tactical unit. It was a photo of her and a half-dozen other officers taken just after the South Velo riots. She looked at the photo, dialing an extension on the photo. It pained her about the conversation she was going to have with Assistant Chief of Operations Josh Williams, but it was one she couldn’t put off any longer.

***SA evening***
After her conversation with her former boss from 77th, the pieces of the case finally clicked in Kelsey’s head. Van Matre had rolled back in 1996 on the arrest of Latrell Brentwater; she had either witnessed or participated in the beating of Brentwater during his interrogation. When the case against him went up in smoke, Van Matre and a few others had hinted at revenge but no one thought anything of it at the time.

It was common back then for officers to talk smack towards the bad guys. Hell, she thought, I even talked smack to a few mutts then on the street. However, it all began to go up in smoke when Vincent Elliott was hired by Brentwater in a lawsuit against the department. If knowledge of the unit’s involvement became public, it could lead to across-the-board dismissals or worse, especially if any of them had been called to testify.

That explained why she refused the subpoena, but not why she killed Elliott. That was explained when her detectives went back and interviewed Sharon Lewis a second time that afternoon, asking her for a description of the two people who were seen following Elliott that fateful night. One of the descriptions matched Van Matre to a tee. Now the only question was, do I send my detectives down to arrest her, in full view of fellow officers, or do I go down there and bring her up here myself? That pained her even more, but she didn’t hesitate as she got out Van Matre’s pager and called her pager, giving her cell phone number as a callback. Walking out of the office, she headed down to the building’s parking structure; as she headed to her R8 Spider, her cellphone rang. It was Van Matre. “Kelsey, is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me, Renee. You still down at 77th?”
“Yeah and the forecast for tonight’s the same as the past few nights. Loud, angry and black with a chance of riots. What’s wrong?
“Meet me out in front of the station in fifteen minutes, okay?”
“Why? What’s going on, Kelsey? We’re getting ready to bring in some boneheads' who flew rocks and bricks at a couple of black-and-whites–“

”Just meet me out in front in fifteen or I’ll come find you. You do not want that, alright?” Kelsey hung up the phone and pulled out of the structure onto Los Angeles Street, beginning a drive she dreaded to make but knew was necessary, not just for her own sense of justice but for the city's as a whole.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:02 am

Chapter 9

***SA evening, South Velo***
The drive down took Kelsey about forty minutes, due to the fact that the California Highway Patrol had closed the 405 freeway to all traffic. The reason was simple; during both the 1992 and 1997 riots, people had fired on vehicles traveling the north/south highway and thrown concrete bricks and stones from overpasses. This time around, the CHP were not going to take any chances. Taking surface streets, Kelsey hit green lights almost the entire way down to the 77th Street Station; even where there were red lights, she ran them.

The streets were virtually deserted for a Saturday evening. She knew there were hot spots of looting and rioting throughout South Velo, but she also most people were inside their homes or businesses, locked down and waiting out the inevitable storm. Even the street racers were nowhere to be seen; despite views to the contrary, South Velo had once been a thriving area for the street racing scene before street gangs and the rise of the major street racing clubs had sunk the area’s livelihood.

Surprisingly, the front of the station house was quiet; a police academy bus was positioned towards the front of the parking lot to keep anyone from taking potshots at the building. As Little pulled to the red-lined curb in front of the station and began to get out, Van Matre stepped out in front of the bus. She was in uniform, her lieutenant’s bars clearly visible on the collars of her blouse. “You said fifteen minutes, Kelsey–“

”I know what I said. Get in the car, Renee.”
“Not ‘til you tell me what the f*ck is going on.”
“I want to talk about Vincent Elliott, specifically the fact that you killed him.” Van Matre took a step back, like she had been punched. Little could clearly see the expert marksman badge on Van Matre’s uniform underneath the nameplate.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, girl. That case was settled by the city and rumor has it the department’s closed it. It’s over; come back to reality before the city re-erupts.”

“And whose fault was that fourteen years ago, huh?” Van Matre stared at her, trying to make sense of what Kelsey was saying.
“Friend, you’re not making any sense. Get some sleep, alright–“ Before she could finish, Kelsey reached inside her jacket and pulled out her Kimber Custom TLE .45, aiming it squarely at her old friend. There were certain rules of engagement and Kelsey knew what they were. She was on deadly ground and both her and Van Matre knew it.
“All right, then. You want to play? Put your hands up on the car, Renee.”
“What are you–“
”PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE CAR!!” Van Matre slowly raised her hands above her head. “Alright, alright, Kelsey; just chill, okay?”

As she put her hands on the hood of Little’s car, Little came around and took her sidearm from its’ holster, placing it inside the belt of her pants. As she read her now former friend her rights, Van Matre started talking rapidly.

“You don’t know what you’re doing, Kelsey. The department’ll eat you alive for this; you’ll get drummed out faster than it took you to clear customs getting back in. You’ll never see the light in the tunnel, Kelsey.” By now Kelsey had cuffed her friend and reached for the rear passenger door of the Spider. Guiding Van Matre into the rear of the car, she made sure Van Matre was comfortable before belting her into the backseat. After making sure the rear doors were locked, Kelsey started the car up and began to drive away from the curb, adjusting the rearview so that she could keep an eye on Van Matre. Even though Van Matre’s hands were cuffed behind her back, Little wasn’t taking any chances. “Where are we going anyway, Kelsey?,” Van Matre said with an air of arrogance that Little remembered from their days in 77th.

As she drove away, she could feel the bile and anger rise in her own throat. She thought about the conversation her and AC Williams and one of the unspoken messages Williams seemed to pass her during that conversation. Even now, 14 years later, Williams wanted justice for Elliott and right then and there, so did Kelsey. “We’re going back to Parker Center. You can tell your story to Chief Bratton, AC Yaeger and the rest of the brass. You can tell them how you, yes, you, Renee, put five bullets into a man who–“

”Who deserved to die, Kelsey! Can’t you see how hated he was? Shooting him was the best damn thing this city’s ever seen! You should be thanking me, not taking me to the lion’s den.” At that moment, Kelsey slammed the brakes and the Audi Spider came to a screeching halt along Florence Avenue. It wouldn’t have taken much for her to turn and shoot Van Matre, but something, something kept her from doing just that. Stepping on the accelerator, she flew under the 405 and proceeded to turn onto Hoover Avenue. Out in the distance, she could see the blue lights of a police cordon up ahead. Keeping her mind focused, Kelsey started to speak.

“Let’s see if I the sequence of events right, Renee,” adding a touch of contempt to her colleague’s name. “Latrell Brentwater was a mutt, a stone criminal, but you and a couple of others beat him to within an inch of his life. His case comes to trial, that comes out and he’s acquitted. On the way out, though, you and your colleagues, who’ll face an internal affairs hearing by the way over it, threatened Brentwater’s life. Forward to 1997. Vincent Elliott, who we can all agree wasn’t the most cop-friendly lawyer in the city, picks up Brentwater’s allegations of brutality and decides to sue the city.” By now she could see bits of fear in Van Matre’s face and body expressions, as if she was trying not to hear the truth over what happened. “Then he subpoenas a bunch of us from the division, including you. But you ducked the subpoena, Renee. Why? Afraid he’d out you and your friends’ brutal actions against Brentwater?” She paused, then added, “How’m I doing so far, girl? Story accurate to date?”

Slowing down at an intersection, Kelsey turned the Spider off of Hoover and onto Gage Avenue; the lights of the cordon were still visible off the buildings in the night. “Shut up, Kelsey! Just shut up!! I don’t want to hear any–“

”I don’t care what you want to hear, Renee! As I was saying, once you got served, you knew Elliott had to die. So you followed him from his office for several nights, timing the route he took from the Bradbury to Angels Flight. Then, you decided to shoot him, but you didn’t count on someone seeing you and one of your colleagues’ from 77th following him that night. Picture getting clearer now, Renee?” By now the lights of the cordon couldn’t be seen. Kelsey turned off of Gage onto South Budlong Avenue. “I just have one question, Renee. How could you do something like that?,” the anger rising once again in Kelsey’s soprano voice. “How could you?”

This time there wasn’t an answer from the backseat. Kelsey turned onto a side street back towards Vermont Avenue, crossing Vermont onto another side street. Finally, they reached Hoover Avenue. As they did, Kelsey could see and now hear the sirens of the police cordon. Pausing to take in the scene, she spied a small liquor store nearby, its’ windows shattered and bottles strewn everywhere along Vermont Ave.
“You see this, Renee? All this chaos and havoc–“
”–its’ all your fault. Its’—
“–watch out!!”
“—all on you!!!”

At that instant, the windshield of the Spider shattered as a concrete block came sailing through. Out ahead, Kelsey could see the crowd moving towards them when one of them through a large bottle at the car. She saw it all so clearly that it seemed time slowed to a crawl, enough to where she could even read the label as it sailed towards them. Southern Comfort. Kelsey took in a sense of perverse irony at the name. The bottle shattered when it hit the steering wheel, sending a torrent of glass and booze into Kelsey’s face and eyes. Her hands came up off the wheel in an attempt to shield herself; her eyes began to burn from the liquor. She could hear Van Matre’s screaming from the backseat. “GO! GO! GO!!”

There were more explosions as two more car windows were broken by the now surging mob of dark, angry faces. The car began to rock violently from left to right; Kelsey heard the sounds of the mob, largely unintelligible but full of anger and hatred. She could also hear shouts from the backseat, from Van Matre. Hands grabbed at her through the now broken windows, pulling at her hair, her clothes, her body. Instinctively, Kelsey hit the gas pedal and the car began to lurch left along Vermont. Fighting to keep her eyes open, she could see the barricades through the hazy, painful blurriness and drove towards them; she knew there was safety in the barricades. She kept hitting the car horn and flashing the car’s lights, trying to get the attention of the cops at the cordon, who were dressed in riot gear and standing behind the barricades. Finally, she crashed through the barricades and hit the brakes, the Audi going into a tailspin before coming to a stop.

Little closed her eyes and rested her head on the seatback. She again heard voices and people running towards the car but she knew they were cops headed towards her. She felt a strange sense of peace, as if she knew nothing was going to happen to her back there earlier but she didn’t know why. She opened the door and several officers helped her out of the seat and she heard their comforting words.

“You okay? You need paramedics?”
“My eyes,” Kelsey said in a raspy moan.
“Okay, hold still, alright? We’ll get you some help here in a moment. Just lean against the car here.” Little listened as an officer barked orders into a rover, saying he had an injured person needing medical assistance. At that moment, Kelsey never felt more safer in her life; it reminded her of those moments back in 1997 when her fellow tactical officers arrived to assist her and her team not more than a few blocks over. Reaching over, she grabbed her badge and wallet ID, handing it to one of the officers nearby. She brought her hands up to her face; she could feel blood running down along her nose. She knew she was going to live.

“Better leave that alone, Lt.; it don’t look too good,” one officer said.
“What were you doing out there alone?,” another asked her.

She looked over towards the shattered Audi Spider she had driven, its’ front end damaged by running through the cordon barricades. “I wasn’t,” she said weakly, nodding towards the car. The backseat, where Van Matre had been, was empty, the seatbelts torn and ragged. As the officers frantically looked down the street for any sign of Lieutenant Van Matre, Kelsey staggered to her feet, using the car as a prop to stand alongside. Taking a small cloth towel from inside the car, she wiped the blood and booze from her face when one of the officers pointed to the mob down the street; it looked as though they were carrying a mannequin or something. To their horror, it wasn’t a mannequin. The violent punches and kicks they were delivering to whoever it was proved as much.

“Oh, God!,” one of the officers yelled. “Is that one of ours down there?” Almost immediately, the same officer that had requested medical assistance for Little now sent out an officer-needs-help call, his voice on the edge of breaking with fright. As several officers fired tear gas and bean bag rounds towards the mob, two of them got in their patrol cars and sped down towards the angry mob.

As they did, Little just stood with a couple more officers and watched the mob focus its’ anger on the object of their attention. They began throwing Van Matre’s body up in the air, catching it several times and holding it up like a trophy. Her uniform was torn in several places, her hands still bound behind her. Part of a pants leg was torn and Kelsey could see flashes of what looked like knives or tire irons in the distance. She couldn’t tell from where she was standing but it looked like she was still conscious. Then she heard what sounded like a siren from a black-and-white but soon realized that the inhuman shrieking wasn’t a patrol siren. It was Van Matre screaming as the mob dropped her down and swallowed her up once again.
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Post by mlittle » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:03 am

Chapter 10

***SA night, corner of Vermont and W. 59th Drive, South Velo***
Kelsey watched from the barricades as two dozen Metro Division officers swarmed into the area, led by two SWAT Bearcat vehicles. They branched out and began searching for the mob which had been in the area earlier. The body of Renee Van Matre remained in the street, sprawled awkwardly like a load of laundry that had fallen from a laundry truck. The Metro officers had checked her and left the body as it was once they determined she was beyond help. Soon several media helicopters flew overhead, their carrion spotlights shining down on the intersection and Kelsey knew the vultures were now out. Eventually VCFD paramedics arrived and treated Kelsey’s wounds. She had lacerations to the bridge of her nose and to her left eyebrow, but she refused to go to the hospital. After several minutes, the paramedics cleaned and sutured the wounds, applying butterfly bandages to each wound. They then left her alone and proceeded to their next call.

Little spent a while—she didn’t really know how long—walking along the barricades until 77th’s commander, Captain Desmond Cent, arrived and informed her that she would need to return to the station to talk to detectives there about what had happened. Kelsey nodded and the captain walked away to supervise the barricades. For a long while, she simply stood there, watching the frenzy of activity all around her and down Vermont Avenue. She began walking towards the liquor store that she had seen earlier, its’ contents looted and emptied. As she walked along she saw what looked like a book of matches. Kneeling down for a moment, she picked up the book, opening it and seeing what was inside. On the outside of the book it read, Fortune Liquors. She read the message on the inside. It said, in capital letters, “Fortune favors the righteous one who seeks justice for all.” She laughed for a moment at the utter irony of that line. She tore the part that had the message and put it inside a pants pocket, tossing the rest of the matchbook back on the ground.

Looking down the highway, she could see that Van Matre’s body was now covered with a yellow tarp; yellow crime scene tape could be seen being stretched around the perimeter of the intersection, marking another set of barricades. A police helicopter came out of the night sky and set down near the intersection, the jetwash spewing outward in all directions. Doors opened and out came several people, including both Assistant Chiefs Yaeger and Williams, along with Commander Egan and Captain Houghton. The jetwash had blown the tarp covering Van Matre away. Kelsey could faintly see her staring blankly up into the night. A nearby officer quickly re-covered her with the tarp.

Although they were at least a good sixty or so yards down the street, AC Williams turned and looked towards Little, a smile crossing his face as he nodded to her. As he turned back towards the intersection, she saw AC Yaeger gesture down the street towards her. Kelsey knew the score on that one. Yaeger had a reputation as a fixer within the department and she knew what the spin on the events of the past week would be. Van Matre would be the department’s sacrificial lamb, an offering to the people of Velo City in exchange for them leaving the streets and returning to their homes.

Van Matre for Elliott, that was the trade. Her death–broadcast by the media–would be what ended the random acts of violence on the streets of the city. But only a few inside the department, Kelsey included, would know the truth about what had happened. That she could live with, the knowledge that, in the end, justice waits for no one and that everyone is held to account.

After what seemed like forever, one of the SWAT Bearcats’ drove up to Kelsey; the driver asked if she needed a ride back to 77th Station. Seconds later, the rear doors opened and several SWAT officers in full riot gear helped her into the vehicle. As she rested against the interior of the Bearcat, her thoughts turned to that moment when the mob’s fury, anger and hatred had reached out and tried to take her from the car. Despite the terror that had run through her at the time, a serene calmness had enveloped her, as if a shield had been placed astride Kelsey, protecting her from the vengeful mob.

Then she realized what it was and a tranquil calm rolled down onto her, like the waters of a cool spring or a river’s gentle flow. Remembering the message on the matchbox, she realized that at that moment, she somehow knew her life would be spared, that indeed fortune had favored the righteous one who sought justice for all. Then her mind turned to her late colleague and she soon realized with horrifying clarity what that inhuman shriek of Van Matre’s had been. It was the sound of a fallen angel on its’ way into the depths of hell. As she sat back in the Bearcat, Kelsey Little knew she would never forget that sound for the rest of her life.
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