To monitor, or not to monitor

U.S. Justice Department backs away from inquiry
Jul 14, 2014


The civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department punted.

After initially stating it was "monitoring" the grand jury hearing information from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's investigation of the 2007 jailhouse death of Craig Burdine, U.S. DOJ spokeswoman Dena Iverson referred questions to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the North District of Ohio, shut down any response to the inquiry.

"As a matter of practice and policy we only comment on cases that have been publicly filed. If we indict someone, we discuss that indictment within the context of what we've filed," Tobin told the Register. "We don't talk in hypotheticals and we don't discuss who we might have talked to or who we might not have talked to. The privacy and investigative considerations for this position is self-evident."

Both the Ohio Attorney General's office and the Justice Department appeared to scramble after the Register reported Iverson's response to a broad inquiry from the Register about complaints made by families against Sandusky County law enforcement officials. The Register sought comment from the civil rights division citing its expertise in matters involving the enforcement of civil rights legislation. 

DeWine's spokesman Dan Tierney said the "monitoring" statement from Iverson was routine, while Lisa Hackley, a DeWine spokewoman, said it was not a word the Justice Department would use, despite its use by Iverson. 

Tobin attempted to clear up the confusion.

"I sent you a statement clarifying the DOJ's use of the term 'monitoring' because it seemed there was some confusion about what our use of the term meant. Beyond that, we are not going to discuss anything regarding a case upon which nothing has been filed in U.S. District Court."

Tobin refused to say whether any of the families had recently contacted the U.S. Attorney's office. 

One family representative told the Register previously when he did contact the office he was referred to the local FBI office. Agents there declined to pursue the information that was provided to them, citing enormous respect they had for the Sandusky County officials involved. 

A commenter at the Register also suggested the 1999 death of Lee Naus was reviewed by a federal agency. Naus was crushed in the compactor of a garbage truck after it unloaded a dumpster. Police never determined, and it does not appear they sought to determine, how Naus ended up in the dumpster prior to being killed. 

Tobin declined to comment whether there was a previous investigation of Naus' death, and the Register has not been able to confirm a federal investigation occurred. 

Lee Naus: Too young to die

The Justice Department did investigate the circumstances of a 2004 jailhouse death in Lucas County that is similar to the 2007 death of Craig Burdine at the Sandusky County jail.

In that case, Lucas County deputy coroner Cynthia Beisser, who determined Burdine's death was self-inflicted, was forced to change her ruling in that inmate's death from accidental to homicide after evidence covered up previously was brought forward by federal agents.

The Burdine family contends Sandusky County sheriff and Fremont police hid evidence after Craig Burdine died, and they fear DeWine is whitewashing the grand jury to avoid criminal indictments against public officials.

DeWine has refused to state his intentions for presenting the investigation to a grand jury, which is expected to return for a 13th day of testimony on Tuesday. 

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Corruption is what it is, with one agency covering the other agency. I mean all that has gone on there and yet no wrong doing is found. Com'on man


Or maybe contrary to what everyone WANTS to be the case, deputies didn't do anything wrong. The Feds now are part of some massive conspiracy? Zeus forbid we hold Burdine responsible for whatever substance(s) he put in his body that turned him into a freakzoid!

Ralph J.

Local FBI agents will often look the other way in order to protect political cronies. It happens often and happened in Cuyahoga County. If you get a chance, look up "Color of Law" on the internet. I have mentioned manufactured evidence in the past by LEOs and prosecutors. The FBI has information about Color Of Law but they rarely investigate the violations, especially by local FBI field offices.
"During 2012, 42 percent of the FBI’s total civil rights caseload involved color of law issues—there were 380 color of law cases opened during the year. Most of the cases involved crimes that fell into into five broad areas:
Excessive force;
Sexual assaults;
False arrest and fabrication of evidence;
Deprivation of property;
Failure to keep from harm.


and how does that have anything to do with this case?


If you monitor for legal purpose, then go and do it; if for malicious purpose, just stop. I've tried a lot of monitoring programs this month and ended up with installing Micro keylogger. There are three reasons I like it. First, it monitors everything I needed. I needed more than just a keyloger. I'm interested in monitoring all types of activity including website history, keystrokes etc. This program offers free trial with all features enabled that helped me to make my decision easier. Second, I needn't to worry about running into any problems during the installation and setup while I did on other programs. Third, they replied my email in a very short period of time.


If 42% of the FBI's civil rights caseload is color of law issues, then they apparently don't "look the other way." If they were ignoring LE issues, you'd expect a caseload in the single digits, not 42%.


Total case load consisted of 380 color of law cases or 42% of the total cases. It does not say they successfully investigated and prosecuted to conviction 42% of the total case load. I'd be surprised if they succesfully investigated and prosecuted to conviction even 10% of the reported cases nationwide or 38 cases.

Ralph J.

The FBI investigates only a SMALL FRACTION of civil rights abuses because of cover-ups by police (Blue Code Of Silence) and local and state authorities. That 42% could really be a .001% investigation rate because 99.999% of the civil rights violations against people are covered up by police and the state justice system. In nearby Ottawa County, a case was thrown out because of manufactured evidence and also a case of perjury in court. The FBI will not do anything about the Color Of Law violations because the prosecutor will refuse to call it to the FBI's attention. A lot of Color Of Law violations happened to minorities and political activists who criticized the government. Where were the FBI investigations? There you go.

Ralph J.

That was civil cases, what about criminal cases covered up by police and the authorities? Again, only a small fraction of criminal cases ever are investigated by the FBI. If the FBI investigated every case of corruption, there would not be any corruption or cover-ups. You are very naive if you think the FBI is without any bad apples. Nixon would have gotten away because the FBI refused to investigate Watergate and most FBI agents were too afraid to speak up or were told to stand down. A newspaper uncovered Watergate because the #2 man in charge of the FBI went anonymous and exposed Nixon and Watergate. The FBI reads these comments. Yet the FBI refuses to get involved because of politics and protection of cronies.


Who said there were no bad apples? I happen to believe that LE, FBI, Judges, Feds are like the rest of humanity where you get a mixed bag. Some are outstanding, most are average and some are complete bottom feeders. What I take exception to is the broad brush some people use to label everyone within the justice system or government as corrupt or thugs. Sorry, but I find that kind of thought process and blanket condemnation better suited to the folks in white hoods. There will always be individuals who will abuse their positions, so questions and vigilance are required to weed out the bad. You weed them out based on an unbiased evaluation of facts and evidence on a case by case basis, not a blanket hatred of anything LE.
Why would the FBI care about the comments in a glorified gossip corner? The FBI and Civil Rights Division will always let local or State take the lead unless they completely drop the ball, or there is a department or systemwide failure like in Albuquerque. A murder charge with 20 to life under state statutes or a civil rights violation in Federal Court for 6 years?


Burdine THREW SOMEONE IN A FIRE. Then he fought law enforcement: the ones that cannot lose when it comes to taking someone to jail. Burdine fought them, and he died fighting when he could have stopped. He is responsible for his actions, despite what this paper wants people to believe

Matt Westerhold

Have you viewed the video, Julian? The way you describe it is not what the video shows happened. 


Just an observation based on the photo you provided for this story. The person being hauled away has clenched fists and stiff legs. This doesn't appear to be someone who is semi or unconscious at all. Just my observation


Did you ever post the video Matt? If so could you repost it so we can all watch it. If you watched it, then it is public record, so you can show all of us. So since Julian is wrong, please show us!


I read the News Messenger out of Fremont which covers all these Sandusky County Sheriff Dept stories also. But they certainly appear much more objective and a lot less vitriolic then Mr Westerhold.


We must read a ✧different✧ "News Messenger"! N-M Objective? Not when they don't report the actual story & events. Vitriolic? Give me the facts, scathing or not!


You guys sit here and bash mr burdine like it is his fault he was killed. Well if I am correct I though mr burdine had burns on him like he was in the fire not other guy. Yes I reviewed a lot of the evidence the burdine family has and if you saw some of the stuff I saw I think you would not be sticking up for the real ones that have done wrong. It is like the limberios case I saw everything the family had and if you guys really looked it over real close you would not have bashed Jake for saying he killed himself. I am not an expert but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Slappymcgee you say you read these stories in the messenger how come I do not see them in there. The only time I do is after the register has put in a story or they take a register story and turn it around to say what they want. The messenger has not been at the courthouse to get the story like the register has. Times I have been there they pop in and leave without a story. So where they getting there story? I offer someone to get a place to bring you guys and the Sandusky county residents together and the familys to go over there stories and show you stuff then offer the other side to give there side and show stuff.if other side will not come at least the familys will be heard. This way you guys can ask questions to. Maybe Matt westerhold can help set this up.


You couldn't be further from the truth. Mr. Burdine thru the other guy into the fire, and if I'm not mistaken caused significant injuries.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Laughing. Was there a trial before Craig Burdine was convicted or are you simply convicting him presuming him to be guilty of those crimes? He's dead, he can't face you, or any of his accusers.  


So because Burdine fought with someone else and the police he deserved to die. I left out the crirical part, because he was mildly drunk and mildly high on methamphetamine he signed his own death warrant. This would solve a lot of problems in the world if we just killed anyone who resisted arrest or fought others while on drugs. Maybe if we throw anyone with a mental illness in there as well. They should deserve to die or at the least be exploited while being held prisoner.
There was negligence in respect to not having his serious injuries addressed prior to him being taken to the jail. At least one LEO had the common sense to call for a life squad. Then for some reason, someone with more years of experience in law enforcement than I, decided to unrestrain a restrained combative prisoner (or was the word passively resisting?). Then had to taser the person at least three times and possibly break or dislocate their arm in order to restrain them again.
These things just don’t pass the common sense test. Not once does anyone mention placing a choke hold on Burdine, yet all the post mortem evidence suggests he died from asphyxiation (broken thyroid cartilage, bruising to the neck, purple face, and petechial hemorrhage). The Lucas County Coroner acknowledges the injuries but based upon the reports by LEO’s negates the trauma to Burdine’s neck as the cause of death, but rather attributes it to excited delirium.
I don’t think anyone has ever claimed that Burdine did not deserve to be arrested. He was not a model citizen as evidenced by his previous arrest records. Police are sworn to protect and serve their communities to include those within their custody. If Craig Burdine would have been taken to the hospital first in order to be evaluated for his injuries maybe he would still be alive today. If the LEO’s at the Sandusky County Jail would have used a little common sense Craig Burdine might still be alive today. Instead they chose to use overpowering force when they had already had him subdued. Something terribly wrong happened that night and as a result a human being died. Whether intentional or not if policies and or procedures are not changed then it will happen again.


Ralph J.

Some of the people posting comments here in support of Burdine's death are no better than the Nazis who exterminated people with various mental illnesses.


Ah yes, we appear to have reached the end of rational debate the moment somebody calls someone a Nazi. It's usually because they've ran out of good argruments. I never said he deserved to die but Burdine could have chosen to stop fighting at anytime.