2014年2月28日星期五

The price of choosing prison: After a hasty decision, a wait for freedom


— On a recent weekday morning, in the bland confines of St. Joseph’s Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, Inmate 168989 takes a seat in a plastic chair in the visitors center.




His name is Roy Murphy. He’s 43, thin, with close-cropped hair. He’s got tattoos crawling down one arm, more on his fingers. He’s soft-spoken, almost inaudible at times, and at the moment, he’s having second thoughts about agreeing to this interview.


He is the guy, after all, who wanted to go to prison.


This briefly made him something of an Internet sensation. Last December, he told a judge that he had demanded money from a St. Joseph convenience store clerk for the sole purpose of getting himself sent back to prison. The story hit regional newspapers; the Huffington Post wrote a snarky recap of the case.


But while the headlines were good for a “man-bites-dog” tale, an obvious question was ignored:


How does a man reach the point in which prison seems like a more attractive option than freedom?


It’s the question Murphy’s attempting — with varying degrees of success — to answer now, to a visiting stranger with a pen and a notepad. He worries that he won’t be able to adequately explain the things that led him to that point, that he’ll end up sounding stupid.


In his seat, he fidgets. He starts to speak, stops. Tries to start again.


“I don’t know what I was thinking,” Murphy says. “It was just one of those things where I kind of gave up.”


And then he drops the bomb.


The truth is, now that he’s here — he doesn’t want to be.




He grew up in Diamond, Mo., a town of about 900 located 40 miles north of the Arkansas border.


At age 3, he was adopted and would go on to enjoy what he considers a fairly normal childhood. He roamed the rural expanse, spending his time camping or heading down to the creek.


Education was never a real priority. He made mostly Fs in school, and by ninth grade, he’d dropped out. By 15, he’d moved out of his parents’ house and in with a 22-year-old woman, a decision he thought sounded pretty cool at the time.


His father tried to talk some sense into him. But like many teenage boys, he was hard-headed, in no hurry to take advice.


By 16 or 17, he’d committed his first burglary, and by 19, he was serving his first prison term. Over the course of the next two decades, he would spend a total of nearly 14 years in prison, according to his incarceration record:


Burglary; Newton (County);1989; case No. CR489301FX; six years.


Forgery; Jasper; 1994; case No. CR594230FX; five years.


Forgery; Jasper; 2002; case No. 02CR682178-01; five years.


Attempted robbery, 2nd; Greene; case No. 0831-CR09116-01; three years.


Upon his various releases, he often struggled to find stability, never quite landing on his feet.


“There’s all kinds of bad places to go and hang out and do whatever,” Murphy says. “But when you’re trying to do the right thing and stay out of trouble, it’s really hard. It’s hard to be a dependable worker when you don’t have any place to stay. It’s hard to find a job when you don’t have any place to do your laundry.


“When you get right out of prison with $5 in your pocket, and they drop you off in society, I don’t know what they really expect you to do.”


Still, by last November things seemed to be looking as promising as they had in a long time.


In the year and a half since his last release in July 2012, Murphy had mostly managed to avoid trouble — a 91-day jail stint on an old DUI charge not withstanding. He had bounced around a bit, spending time in Joplin, where he helped build a new Taco Bell on Main Street after the tornado hit, and in a small town in southeast Kansas.


He found occasional work tattooing or carrying out odd jobs. Once, he filled a wheelbarrow with tools and pushed it across town to build a ramp for an elderly man, a quick $35 job.


After meeting Brady Rodgers, a Platte City minister who also owns the local Comfort Inn, he had decided to ditch his plans to return to Joplin, where old acquaintances and habits waited. “Their ministry had blessed me and everything else, and I did rededicate my life to God before I got locked back up, and he’s still working in my life.”


Rodgers had taken a liking to him, offering him a maintenance job at his hotel and a temporary place to stay.


“He was with me for about a week and a half, doing a great job; my staff really liked him,” Rodgers said.


But at the end of his second week on the job, the ice storm hit.


After working a shift at the hotel on Nov. 21, he decided to head to St. Joseph to see his sister. When the storm hit, he was stuck in St. Joseph without a place to stay. Because his sister’s live-in boyfriend was on parole and therefore couldn’t have contact with other ex-convicts, he said, he couldn’t stay there. He didn’t have an ID, which meant he couldn’t get a bed at a shelter.


He took stock of his situation, and it didn’t look promising. His free stay at the hotel was about over, and he was still three weeks away from his first full paycheck, which he would need to afford a place of his own. Thanks to the ice, he knew he wouldn’t be able to make it to work, so likely another job was down the drain.


In hindsight, he says, he would have done things differently. Like call his boss, explain the situation, and then maybe the two of them could have figured something out.


Instead, he couldn’t look beyond the box he seemed to be in.


So, a little before 10 a.m. the next day, he left his sister’s house with his jacket and walked to the nearby Garfield 66, a convenience store on Alabama Street.


He’d come up with an option that wouldn’t occur to most people. He’d get himself arrested.


Once inside, he approached the clerk behind the counter, a woman in her mid-50s named Julia Bradford. He asked for all the money in the register. He didn’t threaten her. He didn’t carry a weapon. He asked her if she wanted him to put on an Army-green “hoodie-like” stocking cap he’d brought with him.


She told him to leave; later, she would say she was less scared than confused. When she picked up her cellphone, he told her to go ahead and call the police.


Then he walked outside and across the parking lot, out toward the train tracks.


“He didn’t run or nothing,” Bradford would recall.


Ten minutes later, St. Joseph Police Department officers arrested him.




There’s no shortage of questions about American corrections: the shocking number behind bars, especially those with nonviolent convictions; the joblessness among ex-cons; the high rates of recidivism; the growing price of corrections — some reports put the overall cost to Missouri taxpayers at more than $22,000 to house an inmate for a year.


Why someone would want to go back doesn’t come up too often.


Gary Zajac pointed to a quote from “Shawshank Redemption,” the 1994 film set in a 1940s-era prison.


“All I do anymore is think of ways to break my parole, so maybe they’d send me back,” the character Red, played by Morgan Freeman, muses in the movie. “... All I want is to be back where things make sense.”


Though experience tells Zajac, the managing director of the Justice Center for Research at Penn State, that there probably aren’t many who really, truly want to be incarcerated, he admits the challenges awaiting longtime prisoners once they’re released can seem daunting.


“There is a real challenge for folks who have been in for a very, very long straight stretch, decades in,” said Zajac, who spent years with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. “Because they’re returning to a world that is in many respects different from the one they left. Cellphones, or even knowing how to pump your own gas, using a debit card. They have no real work history, no history as a renter.”


Joshua Bachman agrees. As Murphy’s public defender, he considers it one of the more bizarre cases of his career, but he doesn’t describe it as unheard of.


Bachman says he’s worked with a handful of offenders who — if not exactly excited about the prospect — were at least willing to be incarcerated.


In a way, he can understand it.


“Life inside the institution and life outside the institution, they both have their challenges,” Bachman said. “And for an individual that has learned how to adapt to the difficulties inside the institution, but not necessarily the outside life, it can be difficult.”


And so it was that on a Monday last December, Bachman stood with Murphy in front of Judge Patrick Robb and listened to the charges facing his client.


At one point, Murphy spoke up.


“I intended to go to prison,” he told the judge, according to the St. Joseph News-Press. “I’ve been out for a year. I’ve got nothing, and I don’t know how to make it on the outside.”


After some consideration, Murphy’s charge was amended to attempting to physically take property from a victim, which is a felony.


He was sentenced to four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.




In the visiting room, Murphy is talking about prison life.


Although sentenced in December, he’s only recently entered the general population. His days are fairly uneventful. He gets up, does his required work. He tries to work out, go to church. He’s got a lot of time to think.


When you’ve been in and out of lockup as much as he has, you get comfortable with the routine. He knows quite a few other inmates from his prior time served. During his last stretch of freedom, he admits, while he was living with a woman in southeast Kansas, he left the house a total of only 10 times over a seven- or eight-month stretch.


One of the side effects of institutionalization, he says, is agoraphobia, fear of open places.


He’s careful not to make excuses for his actions; he’s got no one to blame for his current predicament, he says, but himself.


“Nobody actually wants to be here,” he says. “I mean, I could not legitimately say that I honestly wanted to be here. And I don’t want to be here. But I am here, because of the choice I made.”


This time, he wants to make the most of his time in lockup, so that when he does eventually get out, he’ll be in the best possible position to succeed.


When he looks back, there are lots of moments he can identify as turning points, when a different decision could have made all the difference. He realizes now, for instance, that he has wasted most of his time in prison. Instead of preparing himself for life on the outside, he’s mostly just passed the time.


Even if he works at it, however, he understands that his next bout of freedom will be difficult.


“I’m still up against a wall, regardless when I get back out,” he says. “I’m hoping that there’s a situation I can get into where I’ve got a job when I get out, where I can save my money and have enough time to put back the type of finances I need to do the things I need to secure my freedom.”


On the other hand, he says, “(If) I get out with another $5 and nowhere to go, then...”


He trails off.


His allotted hour of visiting time almost up, he pulls on his jail-issued jacket and makes his way back toward the waiting guard, a heavy door closing behind him.


He will be eligible for parole in November 2015.



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Frank Haith's transfer-heavy MU lineup reflects national trend


As Missouri clings to the NCAA Tournament bubble, one explanation offered for the Tigers’ inconsistent play is that the team is too transfer-heavy.



Three of Missouri’s top players came to the school from other Division I programs. Senior Earnest Ross (left) played at Auburn, junior Jordan Clarkson (center) was at Tulsa and junior Jabari Brown played for Oregon before joining the Tigers.



But where would Missouri be this season without juniors Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson and senior Earnest Ross? Fans surely shudder at that thought.


“People are looking for something to blame, but I don’t think transfers have anything to do with how well a team’s playing or not playing,” said former Tigers forward Alex Oriakhi, who transferred from Connecticut.


Brown came from Oregon, Clarkson from Tulsa and Ross from Auburn. They form the highest-scoring Missouri trio since 1990-91 and the second-highest scoring trio in NCAA Division I this season.


Even as talented as those transfers are, the Tigers are 19-9 after a 10-0 start and only 7-8 in the Southeastern Conference. Still, Missouri coach Frank Haith doesn’t apologize for the way the Tigers’ roster has been constructed.


“The feel, when you say transfer, is that there’s a negative connotation to it. But it was out of necessity for us to stay competitive at the level I felt like we needed to stay,” said Haith, who has landed eight Division I transfers in three seasons at Missouri.


The Tigers’ roster is indicative of a broader national trend.


The time when transfers were implied to carry character concerns has passed amidst a rapidly changing landscape.


“One of the reasons those transfer numbers are so high is that guys don’t want to wait,” Haith said. “They want it fast and they want to play right away.”


The result is different caliber of transfer.


According to the most recent NCAA research, 40 percent of Division I men’s basketball players recruited directly from high school during the 2003-04 through 2011-12 seasons had transferred by the end of their sophomore season.


That same study said 12 percent of all Division I men’s basketball players transferred in 2011-12 with 44 percent of those players landing at other Division I programs.


Ninety percent of players in that nine-season span transferred for athletic reasons, essentially creating a secondary market for players seeking greener pastures and more minutes.


“If that number is what it is, you’d better have that as part of your recruiting plans,” Haith said.




Oriakhi was allowed to transfer without sitting out a year when Connecticut received a postseason ban as part of NCAA sanctions.


“I don’t see why people make such a big deal out of it,” Oriakhi said. “I think it’s just time to accept it, because it happens all the time. Coaches change schools too. Everybody’s going to do what they feel will better themselves.”


MU’s eight Division I transfers under Haith also include former guard Keion Bell, who left Pepperdine to join the Tigers, and three players — Deuce Bello from Baylor, Cameron Biedscheid from Notre Dame and Zach Price from Louisville — who become eligible next season.


Haith also has signed two junior-college players — senior forward Tony Criswell, a transfer from Alabama-Birmingham by way of Independence Community College in Kansas, and junior Keanau Post from Southwestern Illinois Community College.


Haith has aggressively pursued the transfer market but also said he had little choice after inheriting a senior-laden roster when Mike Anderson left to become the coach at Arkansas before the 2011-12 season. Anderson had yet to sign any players in the 2011 recruiting class.


“When we got the job, there were seven seniors,” said Haith, who won national coach of the year honors after leading the Tigers to a 30-5 season 2011-12. “It was April, and the timing of when we get that job, there’s not eight players out there that I felt could come in and have us maintain success the following year. We felt like we had a team that could make the tournament, but we didn’t want to have a huge drop-off the following year.”


That meant loading up with transfers — a lot of them — in an effort to balance the Tigers’ classes, but there is a method to Haith’s madness.


“The transfers he’s got have really been ideal for them,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said. “They seem to fit in and seem to have been good kids. From what I can tell from afar, they should get credit for taking some quality transfers in the same way that Fred Hoiberg has gotten credit for it up at Iowa State.”


Haith signed Bell and Ross in June 2011 then added Brown that December, when he abruptly left Oregon. The plan worked, because Missouri — buoyed by four transfers — made the NCAA Tournament again in 2012-13.


“Now, our classes are balanced, but you lose a Phil Pressey early,” Haith said. “I anticipate that probably could happen, so you take a Jordan Clarkson to help you if that happens.”


Of course, Clarkson, who left Tulsa after the coach who recruited him was fired, and Brown, who didn’t feel at home with the Ducks, seem destined to leave for the NBA early as well, so the cycle continues.




Many of the country’s top teams have been fueled by transfers.


Kansas reached the Final Four in 2012 with Jeff Withey from Arizona and Kevin Young from Loyola Marymount. The No. 5 Jayhawks currently have three more transfers — Tarik Black (Memphis), Justin Wesley (Lamar) and Hunter Mickelson (Arkansas) — on the roster.


No. 6 Duke’s second-leading scorer, Rodney Hood, is a Mississippi State transfer. No. 3 Arizona’s starting point guard, T.J. McConnell, is a Duquense transfer.


One of the top reserves for No. 1 Florida, Dorian Finney-Smith, started his career at Virginia Tech. The Gators’ roster also includes Rutgers transfer Eli Carter and Duke transfer Alex Murphy.


No. 7 Louisville’s Luke Hancock, a George Mason transfer, was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four last season for the national champion Cardinals.


Second-ranked Wichita State has four players in its every-game rotation who started their careers elsewhere and top-15 teams Iowa State and San Diego State also rely heavily on transfers.


Ideally, Haith wants to mix in transfers as needed rather than from necessity, but that remains part of the building process.


“I definitely think you have to have a blend,” Fraschilla said. “You can sprinkle in a heavy dose of transfers, but recruiting four-year guys needs to be the lifeblood. Ultimately, you have to have a couple top-50 guys on your roster.”


The trouble early in Haith’s tenure at Missouri was that transfers work the other way, too.


Fewer than two months after Haith was hired, Ricky Kreklow transferred to California, where he is averaging 6.2 points for the Golden Bears.


Barely six months later, forward Kadeem Green, who sat out 2010-11 recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon, also left Missouri.


Three of the four freshmen Haith signed for 2012 transferred — Dominique Bull to George Washington, Negus Webster-Chan and Stefan Jankovic to Hawaii — leaving sophomore Ryan Rosburg as the only current MU player recruited from high school during Haith’s first two seasons.


There are encouraging signs in Haith’s two newest recruiting classes.


Freshman Johnathan Williams III has started all 28 games for the Tigers and leads the team with 6.7 rebounds per game, while freshman point guard Wes Clark has shown flashes of potential along with freshman forward Torren Jones, whose playing time continues to grow.


Missouri is also excited about its 2014 class — which features Springfield, Ga., forward Jakeenan Gant, who ranked No. 47 overall in the nation by Rivals.com, and Los Angeles shooting guard Namon Wright, ranked No. 87 overall.


Still, that doesn’t mean the transfer pipeline will stop.


“Now, I think we’re at a point where you start to see we’re getting top-level high school kids and then you layer it with transfers — elite-level transfer kids,” Tigers associate head coach Tim Fuller said. “That’s what we’re trying to do and what we have to do moving forward.”


To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at http://ift.tt/1lNBLQz.



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Missouri's debate on gay rights is losing hostility


— When Kevin Engler first met Jolie Justus, he introduced himself as the “redneck homophobe who banned gay marriage.”



Sen. Jolie Justus



He was trying to break the ice.


Justus, an openly gay Democrat from Kansas City, had just been elected to her first term in the state Senate. Engler, a Republican from southeast Missouri, wasn’t far removed from sponsoring the bill that ultimately led to the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.


That tactic worked. Eight years later, the two had grown to be close friends inside and outside the Capitol.


They also became allies on at least one effort near and dear to their hearts: banning discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Missourians.


“As a Christian, I still oppose same-sex marriage,” Engler said. “But we shouldn’t be persecuting people. That’s not Christian.”


Under current Missouri law, a person can be fired from a job, evicted from an apartment or kicked out of a restaurant for being gay or being perceived to be gay.


Never before has the effort to change that stood better odds in Missouri than this year. Partly, that’s evidence of shifting public attitudes. It’s also partly, lawmakers say, the way Justus has charmed and impressed her colleagues.


It’s one thing to wave off concerns about gay rights in the abstract. It’s another to dismiss the views of a colleague who challenged you honestly on a tax bill, compromised to pass the budget or teamed with you on some pet project — and also happens to be lesbian.


“She allows her fellow senators to understand how the issue of discrimination affects people firsthand,” Engler said, “from someone they know and like.”


Momentum for change comes from the “vast number of people who have come out to their friends, family and loved ones,” Justus said. “They are the ones changing people’s hearts and minds on this issue.”


At the same time, Justus acknowledges the effect of having an openly gay member of the Missouri Senate.


“When you’re in the room,” the lawmaker said, “people are less likely to be talking about you and more likely to be talking to you.”


The perception of the cultural clash on gay rights is that of two sides shouting past each other with no hope for common ground.


In the Missouri Senate, the reality is much milder.


It’s Justus talking with Sen. Ed Emery, a guy perceived as warm-hearted who earnestly believes that acceptance of homosexuality is the sort of thing that topples civilizations.


“These aren’t easy issues. There are passions on both sides,” said Emery, a Republican from southwest Missouri. “But I have a great deal of respect for Sen. Justus.”


Public attitudes may be evolving, Emery said, but many employers, landlords and others still anchor their sense of right and wrong in religious teachings. Those people find the prospect of hiring openly gay workers or housing same-sex couples a moral affront.


“They believe they are better off in business if they acknowledge the standards that are expressed in their biblical world view,” Emery said.


History shows that great civilizations fall, he said, when they begin to accept “what we used to call sexual perversion.”


“It’s hard when you see that again and again in history to say there are no consequences,” he said. “You say, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Well, the big deal is every civilization that has ever met its end, whether it was the cause or not, there’s evidence that it was a part of their latter days.”


Justus is unlikely to win Emery over to her thinking, but the civility of their relationship is part of a legislative alchemy that suggests a gay rights bill stands a chance even in a Missouri legislature still dominated by conservative lawmakers.


For 14 years, a group of advocates and lawmakers have tried to pass legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity alongside things like race, gender, religion and age in the state’s Human Rights Act.


Last year, in a historic vote in the final hour of the legislative session, nine Republicans joined 10 Democrats in passing the bill out of the Senate. It died in the House.


One of those nine Republicans was Wayne Wallingford, a first-term senator from Cape Girardeau. Then in late February, he introduced a bill allowing business owners to cite religious beliefs as a legal justification for refusing to provide service.


Critics decried the measure — it mimicked similar bills in Kansas and Arizona — as an attempt to legalize discrimination.


Wallingford said he still supports banning discrimination in the workplace, but he also wants stronger protection for religious convictions.


“There’s nothing in my bill that talks about gays or lesbians or discrimination,” Wallingford said Thursday in an interview with St. Louis radio station KMOX.


Justus’ success last year in shepherding the nondiscrimimation bill through the Senate doesn’t guarantee a clear path to victory.


Opposition to the idea isn’t based solely on religion. Some have expressed concern that it will create costly, frivolous lawsuits for businesses.


“I’m not sure I’m ready for that,” said Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, a Joplin Republican. “It has nothing to do with sexuality. I’m just not sure I’m ready to put it in firm law yet.”


Many Republicans, even those who adamantly oppose same-sex marriage, are beginning to openly discuss their support for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s human rights laws.


“As an employer, what I want is someone who is going to do a good job, be on time and look presentable,” said Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, a St. Charles Republican. “Their sexuality isn’t important.”


Corporate America has widely adopted rules against discrimination of gay workers and regularly offers benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees. Overland Park-based Sprint Corp., for example, has offered health insurance and other employee benefits to same-sex couples since 2005.


Over the last decade, the landscape on gay rights has shifted rapidly across the nation. What was once considered unthinkable is becoming increasingly commonplace — from gay men and women being allowed to serve openly in the military to legalized same-sex marriage in 17 states.


The tide is turning on the issue, said Rep. Stephen Webber, a Columbia Democrat sponsoring the nondiscrimination bill in the House.


Take Arizona, where the state Legislature passed a bill allowing business owners the right to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and other people on religious grounds. The bill created a massive backlash from the state’s business community, along with national Republican politicians like former GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, and even the National Football League, which was considering relocating the Super Bowl scheduled to be in the state next year.


The state’s governor vetoed the measure.


“A few years ago, the opposition was eager to discuss this issue,” Webber said. “Today, supporters are standing up and making their case. You can tell in politics who’s winning an issue by who is being vocal about it.”


Justus is in her final year as a state senator.


She admitted that it may still be too soon to expect the Missouri General Assembly to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. But even if she leaves the Capitol without winning this battle, she said she’s at peace.


“Even if it doesn’t happen this year, it’s going to happen,” she said. “It’s inevitable. So that gives me comfort in knowing I at least helped move the ball forward.”



The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.


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4 shot in Detroit after fight over tax refund


National News


The Associated Press


Updated: 2014-03-01T04:43:08Z




The Associated Press


— A man involved in a dispute over a tax refund check opened fire at a Detroit tax preparation business on Friday afternoon, wounding four employees.




Read more National News


Police say the alleged gunman was arrested running from the scene and a woman involved in the dispute turned herself in later in the day.


The shooting happened at Tax City Tax Service on the city's east side.


Deputy Police Chief Rodney Johnson said the woman became upset when her tax refund wasn't ready Friday and started scuffling with the guard. Johnson said the man with her pulled a gun and started shooting.


The security guard was wounded, as were three other employees.


One victim was in critical condition, while the other three were listed in serious condition.


"There were no fatalities, thank goodness," Johnson said.


Johnson said a passer-by flagged down a police officer and pointed out the suspect, who was arrested less than a block from the shooting.


Police had been looking for the woman, but Johnson said she walked into a police precinct and turned herself in Friday evening.










The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.


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Job recruiting event for military veterans is March 5-6


Business


Updated: 2014-03-01T03:49:51Z






The Kansas City office of Genesis 10 will hold a recruiting event for military veterans Wednesday and Thursday.



Read more Business


The recruiting company is looking for people who have a minimum of two years of experience managing projects in the U.S. military and other technical skills or training.


Veterans may call 816-581-5366 or send email to asmith@genesis10.com for appointment information.









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Daily Mail front page was the turning point, says mother of Stephen Lawrence



  • Daily Mail famously printed front page with all five murder suspects in 1997

  • Doreen Lawrence says the paper's move changed the investigation


By Daily Mail Reporter


|


The mother of Stephen Lawrence yesterday praised the Daily Mail’s campaign to bring her son’s racist killers to justice


Doreen Lawrence, 61, described the Mail's front page it as a turning point in the police investigation.


She said the newspaper move, accusing five men of her son’s murder raised the profile of the case and highlighted the catastrophic failings of the police and justice system.




Doreen Lawrence, Mother of murdered student Stephen Lawrence,


Stephen Lawrence, murdered teenager


Thanksful Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in 1993, aged 18




In February 1997, the Mail – under the headline ‘MURDERERS’ – printed pictures of each of the suspects.


This came after they arrogantly refused to answer the most basic of questions at an inquest into 18-year-old Stephen’s murder in 1993.


The subsequent coverage led to the setting up of the Macpherson Inquiry into the killing, which accused the Met of being ‘institutionally racist’.


Famous: Part of the Daily Mail's front page from 1997

Famous: Part of the Daily Mail's front page from 1997



Two of the men named – Gary Dobson and David Norris – were eventually convicted of the murder in 2012.


Baroness Lawrence, who is now a Labour peer, described the Mail front page as a ‘great thing’.


She was speaking at a Royal Television Society event that coincided with the 15th anniversary of the Macpherson Report being published.











MI6 job advert (endorsed by gay rights group Stonewall) seeks spies 'committed to equality'



  • MI6 has signed up to Stonewall’s diversity champions programme

  • It aims to make workplaces 'gay friendly' and compliant with equality law


By Jack Doyle


|


In the 007 spy films, James Bond’s driving passions are deadly weapons, fast cars and faster women.


But according to a job advert placed by MI6 yesterday, the world of espionage is rather more mundane.


The Secret Intelligence Service says it wants ‘empathetic’ recruits who are ‘able to get on with diverse groups of people’.


The fast track to MI6


In its advert, reproduced above, MI6 proudly displays its equality credentials by carrying a Stonewall gay rights logo. Anyone interested in ‘guns and fast cars’ need not apply.


The details are included in an advert for intelligence officer posts, published yesterday in the Economist newspaper.


The officers collect, analyse and report secret intelligence material from around the world.


The job advert – presented as a flowchart – has questions including ‘Do you want to protect your country?’, ‘Do you have an instinctive curiosity?’ and ‘Can you be trusted?’. Applicants are also asked about their language skills and whether they want to carry out work overseas.


Hopefuls must say if they are male or female before being told their gender does not matter. The same goes for sexuality and ethnicity – although candidates must have British nationality.


Secrecy is a key issue naturally. Anyone answering yes to the question ‘Would you tell anyone else about your application?’ is told ‘Thank you for your time’.


An identical response is given to anyone believing that MI6 is ‘all guns and fast cars’.


Where Bond routinely defies his bosses and breaks the rules, the MI6 advert warns against the idea that Britain must be protected ‘by any means possible’.


MI6 headquarters on the south bank of the River Thames at Vauxhall

MI6 headquarters on the south bank of the River Thames at Vauxhall



MI6 has signed up to Stonewall’s diversity champions programme, which aims to make workplaces ‘gay friendly’ and ensure employers comply with equalities legislation.


The advert states: ‘The Service strives for diversity in the workplace and is committed to the creation and maintenance of a climate in which all staff are treated fairly on the grounds of merit and ability.’


Last year MI5, the sister agency responsible for protecting Britain against foreign and domestic enemies, came 25th in the list of Stonewall’s top 100 gay-friendly employers.


The scene from Skyfall where Javier Bardem's villain Raoul Silva undoes the shirt worn by James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, and touches him on his chest and thighs

The scene from Skyfall where Javier Bardem's villain Raoul Silva undoes the shirt worn by James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, and touches him on his chest and thighs



Both agencies’ attitudes to gay employees have changed markedly in a short period.


Until the mid-1990s, homosexuals were banned from sensitive posts in the diplomatic or security services, on the grounds that they were more vulnerable to blackmail.


Two members of the Cambridge Five, the notorious ring of communist spies who worked for the Soviet Union in the 1940s and 50s, were gay.


Guy Burgess, who worked for the Foreign Office and MI6, lived with a boyfriend even after he defected to Moscow in 1951.


Anthony Blunt, an MI5 officer and leading art historian, also had a secret gay life.


The most recent Bond film, Skyfall, raised eyebrows among critics with a highly charged gay ‘flirtation’ scene. Bond baddie Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem, undoes Bond’s shirt, and strokes his chest and legs while he is tied to a chair, suggestively saying ‘First time for everything?’


Daniel Craig, who stars as Bond, replies: ‘What makes you think this is my first time?’