Scenario: Some local police are corrupt. The public defender dwells on said corruption. A reporter sometimes reports on this as well. The PD dies. Police possibly attempt to tarnish the dead PD’s character. Someone leaks an internal police report to the reporter. The reporter publishes the report in the ordinary course of doing his job. The police run to their friends at the FBI and the hall o’ the black robes for help; then, they seize the reporter’s work tools at gunpoint. Most Americans, only aware that none of this happened to them, do not care.
“They treated me like I was some kind of drug dealer,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Carmody was being raided in connection with a criminal investigation.
Two weeks before, police investigators showed up at his home to ask him, politely he says, to identify the source who provided him with a confidential police report about the February death of the city’s public defender, Jeff Adachi. Carmody, who said he worked with three local television news stations on the story, declined.
He wasn’t about to give up his source on Friday either, despite the escalation — not to the police or two FBI agents in suits who questioned him about the case, he said.
“I’m smart enough not to talk to federal agents, ever,” Carmody said. “I just kept saying ‘lawyer, lawyer, lawyer.’ ”
So he stayed handcuffed for the next six hours, he says — a certificate of release from the police department that he distributed says he was in custody from 8:22 a.m. until 1:55 p.m. — as investigators searched his home, then his office, where they found the report in a safe. A search warrant filed in the case notes that it was issued as police investigated “stolen or embezzled property.”
“There’s only two people on this planet who know who leaked this report — me and the guy who leaked it,” Carmody said.
The raid on Carmody’s home and office drew wide First Amendment-related attention in the Bay Area over the weekend. And it added a new twist to the intrigue that surrounded the death of Adachi, who had built up a high profile as a public defender in the 16 years he had held the office.
At least he didn’t talk to the police.
This is, and isn’t, a First Amendment issue. Liberal protestations about common sense press controls aside, Carmody’s rights were violated. But, it doesn’t matter. This is really about the police protecting themselves and involving Br’er Wolf to help them. The DOJ, which should be watching for police misconduct – like violations of press freedom – instead concern themselves with aiding a cover-up. It’s not legal or political, per se, unless Cosa Notra be political.
In truth, there’s no more freedom of the press, than there is justice in our multi-layered federal system. Now, off you go to see Endgame, in which Ironman dies.