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Blue Mob 

Beware the Warren cops, the city's most violent gang. The second of a two-part series.

My 22 is right here and also my pit bull that bits first and asks questions later. Anyway between the two I feel pretty safe Warren cops don't need to respond to my home they never came before so I got my own protection.

First it was a 22, now it's a 22 and a pitbull . . . what's next a 22, a pit bull and a weapon of mass destruction? You probably don't even own a gun or a dog. It's assholes like you that make police necessary . . .

[Kimble] is obviously the type of person which is slowly killing this town and needs to be arrested for the safety of its citizens.

-- From Warrenpages.com, a community forum.

"Police have people around here so scared!" Karen Bryant is talking about a June afternoon last summer, the day she saw Warren police officer Greg Hoso approach Lyndal Kimble's white Cadillac, and how she screamed to her neighbor to get his video camera.

She watched Hoso reach through the car window, wrap his hand around Kimble's throat and squeeze. Kimble writhed as officer Frank Tempesta approached the passenger side.

The home video shows Hoso release Kimble's throat only to punch the black man in the face three times. Hoso would later say he saw Kimble put drugs in his mouth and needed to prevent him from swallowing them.

The officers pulled Kimble from the car. In an amazing show of strength, Tempesta lifted him high in the air and slammed him to the sidewalk. The enormous young cop sat on Kimble's back while Hoso searched the ground. Then he found it -- a small Baggie of cocaine.

Officer Michael Stabile entered the fray, and as the videotape rolled, police used an intriguing combination of martial arts, pepper spray, and sucker punches on the slim 28-year-old, who cowered in the fetal position.

At one point, Kimble raised his head, gasping under the weight of Tempesta and Stabile. Hoso kicked his head like a football.

"If I could have become a man for five minutes that day . . ." Bryant clenches her teeth, not finishing her sentence.

Once the cruiser pulled away, she yelled to her neighbor. "I said run with that motherfucker [videotape], and don't you stop until I figure out what to do!" She eventually gave it to a local news station.

By that afternoon, Bryant was all too familiar with the Warren police. Two years ago, Hoso was one of four officers who beat her son so severely, he ended up in the hospital. But unlike Kimble, Marcus Bryant had no record. His only crime was failing to show up for traffic hearings.

So when she watched Lyndal Kimble being beaten that day, Bryant recognized the tightly muscled, olive-skinned officer immediately.

Her working-class neighborhood of small, wooden frame houses, just minutes from the Trumbull Homes projects, is Hoso's regular beat. But his name is known far beyond this area. "He has a certain reputation in the African American communities," says former Safety Service Director Fred Harris. "People are scared to death of Hoso!"

Said to be the great-nephew of an influential Catholic monsignor, Hoso belongs to a large, important family in Warren, where church and politics have always been an acceptable mix. He has an additional advantage: a BA from Youngstown State, while most of his colleagues have only the police academy under their belts.

When Bryant talks about Marcus, her teenage daughter makes grumbling noises. Angelica doesn't want summer to come. When the weather is warm, she explains, the neighborhood goes outside, providing police with more people to beat. But she doesn't want to hear her mom tell the story of Marcus again. She's sick of reliving the day of her 14th birthday, just before Christmas in 2001.

That afternoon, there was a knock on the door. A neighbor screamed that Marcus, 23, had been beaten by police. Bryant rushed to police headquarters, where she was told that her son, who had never been in trouble before, was in the hospital. But when she called Trumbull Memorial, the nurse said he'd fled, and that Hoso and the equally notorious Sergeant Rob Massucci were looking for him. Bryant knew she had to find him before they did.

Marcus will not speak openly about that day; he fears police retaliation. But the five-page, handwritten letter attached to his citizen's complaint speaks for itself. In neat black cursive, the 23-year-old wrote:

"Me, Darrell Gates and Sadd Battee were on our way to get the Playstation to take over Brandon's house to play until it was time for our basketball game. While walking past the [community center] we saw officer Hoso . . . we paid him no mind and proceeded to Darrell's."

They may have ignored Hoso, but according to his report, Hoso had taken note of them, because he didn't recognize their faces. He followed the trio to Gates's building.

"Hoso ran past the window to bam on the backdoor," Marcus writes. "We are all in the apartment froze stiff."

Marcus, who had two unpaid fines for traffic violations, ran upstairs to hide. Battee and Gates opened the door.

Hoso asked for their names and Social Security numbers, Battee says. Then he asked for the name of the third boy he'd seen earlier -- he had a feeling that Marcus was on The List.

Many public housing authorities have "criminal trespassing" policies, which give police the right to ban nonresidents they deem undesirable. Police carry a list through the projects, stopping people to see whether their names are on it -- or whether they should be. Residents who let banned persons into their units risk losing their apartments.

Battee and Gates tried to protect Marcus, claiming there was no one else with them. The two friends, on leave from the Army, knew they were under no obligation to let the officer inside. That might have been the end of the story, had Gates's mother not come home for lunch.

Hoso told Jackie Gates that her son was hiding someone. Battee says Mrs. Gates seemed frightened at the sight of the infamous cop. She told Hoso she had nothing to hide and invited the officer in. Hoso called for backup.

Wrote Marcus: "At this time officer Hoso and Darrell begin to exchange words. I hear Ms. Gates trying to calm Darryl down while she cooperates with the officer by checking room by room, even the closets . . . I stick my head up so she would not scare herself and go into shock or have a heartattack . . . I'm begging in silence to Ms. Gates not to give me away which doesn't work. In a proper voice she asks me who I was . . . she leaves . . . and I follow her into the hall."

In the narrow hallway, the pair were met by Hoso, Massucci, and officer Marty Mines. Police soon found Marcus's name on the list for the old traffic violations, and Mines patted him down.

"But I wasn't put into handcuffs immediately because officer Hoso . . . felt he had to search me again," Marcus writes. "He turns me to face the other wall by the stairwell . . . searched my upper torso and then began to search my lower area where he proceeds to grab my penis area real violently to where I couldn't stand still. When officer Hoso grabbed my penis I cringed and when I cringed the way I cringed the officers bum rush me knocking me down the stairway."

Battee says he and Gates heard Marcus scream, then watched him tumble down the narrow flight of stairs. Hoso and Massucci scrambled after him. At the landing, Marcus says he tried to pull himself to his feet, but officer Tim Ladner, who had also arrived at the apartment, slammed Marcus's wrist in the door.

"At this time I don't know who got to me first but [someone] grabbed me and twisted my head one way and my arm another. Once that happened I could not move [or] breathe . . . I started getting punched in the face over and over and over and over and over by every officer their [sic]. Once in cuffs I'm brought . . . to the police cruiser where I was slammed onto the trunk. My head was [pinned] to the trunk by one officer's hand while the other searches me again."

Marcus Bryant's ordeal was far from over. In the holding cell, Massucci and Ladner searched his shoes and pants. He stood before the officers in his underwear.

"The officer gives the command for me to take off my underwear but first before that the little pocket of my underwear is searched . . .," Marcus writes. "Then I'm told to lean forward and spread both of my butt cheeks revealing my anal hole as wide as I could and the officers find nothing."

Massucci and Ladner let Marcus dress and prepared to take his photograph. In the process, according to Marcus's account, the officers took note of his stiffening arm and swelling face. They drove him to Trumbull Memorial Hospital and warned him not to leave.

When a nurse turned her back to take a phone call, Marcus escaped. Still in his hospital gown, he ran to his cousin's house, where he hid under the porch until his mother and two aunts found him.

Bryant says her son's face looked like something from The Elephant Man. He was dirty and in shock, and his arm hung from his shoulder at an unnatural angle. His sister Angelica, who had just come home from an afternoon of ice-skating, couldn't stop crying.

Karen Bryant was afraid to return her son to the officers who had beaten him, but she had no choice. So she called the NAACP, the mayor's office, and the Reverend Alton Merrel. She thought they could protect Marcus from further harm, so they met police at the New Jerusalem Church annex, and Marcus turned himself in.

Merrel arranged to ride in the squad car with Marcus. The officers -- whose names could not be confirmed -- seemed none too pleased to have the preacher along. They showed it by tearing through the downtown streets at 50 miles per hour. The wild ride tossed the two passengers around the backseat "like salt in a shaker," Merrel remembers.

The white officers also tuned in a Youngstown rap station and, laughing, alternated it with a country-western station. They blasted the music all the way to police headquarters, where Marcus was booked for resisting arrest, escape, and trespassing.

Hoso and Massucci had earlier reported that their suspect had tried to attack them, so Harris was expecting to see some loudmouthed tough guy, not a "skinny little kid," he says. But when he saw the boy, he did a double take. He knew Marcus from Warren Harding High, where Harris ran a program for special-needs kids.

The fact that they left Marcus unattended at the hospital also raised his suspicions. When suspects are combative, says Harris, an officer always stands guard.

Some say Karen Bryant is crazy. When she talks about the beating, her eyes get glassy, and she rambles on and on. She may well be crazy, but she seems to have good reason.

Richard Olivito, a Warren civil-rights lawyer, says Marcus's public defender talked the family into accepting a deal. In exchange for no jail time, Marcus pleaded to resisting arrest. At that time, no one imagined taking on the Warren PD.

But Olivito is incredulous: "Having broken no law . . . he was beaten and violated by police -- so [his lawyer] tells him to plead?"

Activists believe that the answer lies in the less-than-scrupulous public defenders. Wanting to stay on the good side of the judges and prosecutors who run the show, they do their part to keep the city from being sued. (James Lewis, director of the Public Defender's Office, did not respond to interview requests.) Once somebody has pleaded to resisting arrest, it's virtually impossible to win a civil suit for police brutality, notes former city councilman Ron White.

"Everyone's feeding from the same trough!" says lawyer Maridee Costanzo, who does public-defense work for juveniles.

At the time, however, the Bryants knew none of this. Marcus was just glad to be out of jail.

Today, he's living a subterranean existence. He's leery of reporters, preferring to let his mother speak. If police think he is talking to the press, says his aunt, Beverly Bryant, they're liable to retaliate. And judging by the recent history of the Warren police, next time could be a lot worse.


"Sure when the mafia was in town you and your friends were safer . . . take a stroll with your wife after nine pm downtown -- why the hesitation?"


"What do you have downtown? Nothing! A men's shop, trinkets, no parking . . . to the people putting energy into reviving it, please wake up you can never compete with the big malls!"

Good People

Less than a 10-minute drive from the Trumbull projects is the courthouse square. Surrounded by churches, each a monument to a different wave of Europeans who emigrated to the Mahoning Valley, it's as charming as the projects are depressing. There are the high, thin steeples of churches built by the area's founding fathers from Connecticut. Then there is the massive, gold-embossed Greek Orthodox Church, just blocks from the Russian-inspired onion domes.

With the old courthouse in the center and the Mahoning river as a backdrop, many think the future lies in a downtown resurgence.

Tucked away in a corner is North Perk Café. Open less than a year, it already serves as a nexus for the lunch-and-gossip crowd. A shop owner on her lunch break talks local history. That's what we need to invest in, she says -- the Victorians, the Riverwalk. But people in Warren are slow to change. It ain't making steel anymore, she notes.

As for police brutality -- oh, is that what you're writing about? Oh, that's different. "Don't think this is a bad place," she begs. "There are good people here.'

Down the street, a bartender speaks for many: If people deal in drugs, don't they have to deal with the consequences? he asks. But more interesting than actual words is the way everyone seems to insist on anonymity. "This is a small town," says the bartender. People don't want to be quoted in an article that might reflect poorly on the police.

Olivito says middle-class white people are nearly as scared as the other three-fourths of Warren's population. "It's difficult to comprehend a situation where people are so afraid, but that's part of the landscape here," he sighs.

Olivito acknowledges his contribution to the detached attitudes. Last summer, when he first got to town, many seemed receptive to his mission, grateful for the possibility of change. He may have alienated some of them with his melodramatic briefs and loud denunciations of law enforcement and the city's race relations.

Sarah Kovoor, a former assistant county prosecutor now in private practice, says that she initially tried to work with him, offering her co-counsel on the Kimble case. She withdrew when she found that their worldviews were fundamentally at odds. She doesn't believe most Warren cops are bad, but he seemed to. "He compared Mando [Chief John Mandopoulos] to Hitler," she says.

Olivito's complaints speak for themselves. In describing the Kimble event, he refers to the beating as an "orgy of muted and stiletto violence" on the "great-great-grandson of a slave."

The civil-rights lawyer's more recent briefs have been considerably toned down. "I guess I can get a little carried away," he says.


"Rap is crap! Garbage in, garbage out . . . why would anyone go to 77 Soul? Out all day sleep all night just like alley cats!"


"Maybe we should drive through the ghetto blaster's neighborhood and play the Opera music or some wiry head-banging stuff and see how they like it! I'm sick and tired of hearing my window's rattle."


"Some cops don't belong on the force. I have not had any run-ins; I try to abide by the law. But I have seen police do some underhanded things like using the "N" word . . . no point reporting them nothing ever happens . . ."

Boys' Nite Out

Every town has a place like Club 77 Soul. Parents tell their kids not to go there, neighboring businesses complain, and according to the chief, police are summoned weekly to break up fights. Owner LaShawn Ziegler has a long, acrimonious history with the Warren PD.

The bad blood predates the settlement Ziegler and friend Brandon Rodgers received last year when they sued after being illegally strip- and cavity-searched following a traffic stop in 2002.

Chief Mandopoulos -- aka Mando -- likes to keep an eye on the place, so last May he and officer Manny Nites went to the club around midnight. They got as far as the parking lot when they saw a guy with a video camera standing outside. Charlie Adams trained the camera on the two cops, and Mando and Nites heckled him obligingly.

The officers waved and grinned. "We're he-e-e-re!" said Nites, offering a Nazi-style salute.

The video shows Mando and Nites advancing on Adams, grinning. They shine their flashlights into the lens, compliment his expensive equipment, and make faces for the camera. But when bystanders gather to join in the clowning, the tenor changes. Mando falls silent, and Nites begins to needle the crowd.

He repeatedly addresses Adams and his friends using terms such as "snitch," "nigger," and "bitch." Two clubgoers who had been ignoring the patrolman seem to grow annoyed. The situation escalates as Nites fans the flames.

One man tries to defuse Nites by saying that there are surely no police informants present. But Nites insists that one of them is a snitch. The man gets angrier and begins to curse into the camera. Nites then tells the cameraman that the others believe he is an informant.

Mando does nothing to quiet Nites. Then, before the situation spins out of control, they take off. But the damage is done.

Although Nites's liberal use of the "N" word made local headlines, the greater slur was the word "snitch," says former Councilman Ron White.

Warren police have a reputation for seeking revenge on those who speak to the media about misconduct, he says. In some cases, automobile taillights are knocked out. Other times, people are followed and singled out for traffic stops and arrests. But young black men are particularly vulnerable to police who threaten to "put their names out on the street . . . by calling them snitches," White says. "They try to get people killed."

White's nephew, Jarreil, says he has firsthand knowledge. In July, Mando followed him on Youngstown Road for about five miles in an unmarked car, he says. When the 20-year-old pulled into a store parking lot, the chief motioned him over.

Jarreil thought he knew why he had been stopped. Months before, he'd been caught speeding, but he never showed up for the hearing. When he pulled up next to the chief's car, however, Mando didn't mention his suspended license. Instead, the chief asked him to snitch on his co-workers at the MCI customer-service center, Jarreil says.

"He knew who I was, where I worked, and everything," he says. "I told him I'm just trying to go to work to do my job." Then Mando turned mean, calling him "faggoty." When asked about the incident, Mando says he doesn't remember Jarreil. But others say that police have tried to intimidate them into snitching as well.

Last July, a legal assistant told the Youngstown Vindicator that a detective threatened to tell people he's a "narc" if he didn't help produce dirt on his boss. Nathan Critchfield's boss was none other than lawyer Maridee Costanzo, an outspoken critic of the Warren PD. (Critchfield declined an interview request, saying he's "afraid.")

The real problem is not Chief Mando, Costanzo theorizes; it's the gang of rogue cops he refuses to control. When asked if that gang is headed by Massucci and Hoso, Costanzo declines comment. She says it's for her own safety.


"I hope Mando tells the FBI he doesn't have to answer to anyone, because that's his attitude. The bad attitudes need to go Mando, starting with yours!"


"Look at the police department it's out of control we have a chief who doesn't think he has to answer to anyone . . ."


"Fish rot from the head down."

Mando!

Chief Mandopoulos is a talkative, mustachioed, 250-pound Greek. When he finds that a reporter is in his office to talk about brutality allegations, he sneaks up behind her and puts her in a headlock, as his secretary looks on nervously. "I've been on the force for longer than you've been alive. How's this for brutality?" he growls.

It's not hard to imagine people taking his clowning the wrong way.

When the Soul 77 video made the television news, Warren saw its chief making ridiculous faces for the camera, while Nites threw racial slurs. Mando defended the patrolman, saying that it was all a big joke, that Nites was only repeating clubgoers' slang.

Three months after the incident, Michelle Nicks of WFMJ-TV in Youngstown was reporting on the aftermath of the Lyndal Kimble beating. At a press conference, she tried to question Mando about the Kimble video. The chief became irate, she says.

According to a letter written by the station's lawyer, Mando threatened to give her home address to drug dealers, so that they could "move in next to her." Nicks said Mando also threatened to organize a boycott of WFMJ's advertisers, if she did any more stories that made Warren cops look bad.

Nicks was terrified. For threatening the newswoman and for refusing to discipline Nites, Harris suspended Mando for 10 days.

Mando admits to being annoyed by Nicks. Attorney General John Ashcroft had just recognized the WPD for its help in busting a coke ring linked to a Mexican cartel. He was in a good mood and wanted to talk about the coup. But Nicks, he says, only wanted to talk about the well-deserved pounding of a two-bit dealer.

Many look at Mando's punishment as too little, too late. Tom Conley, president of the Warren-Trumbull Urban League, watched the events play out with disgust. He speaks for many when he calls it ridiculous -- in light of the beatings and body-cavity searches -- that Mando should finally be taken to task for what amounts to "silliness."

Mando and Nites's bizarre performance at Club 77 Soul occurred just weeks after Lieutenant Joe Marhulik gave his boss the Gambone Report, which showed that Warren police, under the strict order of Sergeant Rob Massucci, had been systematically -- and illegally -- performing cavity searches on men young and old, even for such minor offenses as traffic violations. Mando would exonerate his officers for this practice as well.

"Bad cops run the show!" says Costanzo.

Harris blames it on Mando's old-school mindset. "I've always said to Mando, 'You and I are dinosaurs. Times have changed.'"

When Mando was a patrolman, police were disciplined behind closed doors while publicly maintaining a united front, Harris says. They didn't want civilian input, and they didn't get any. But when bad cops aren't weeded out, they infect the rookies, he adds. Soon you have more bad than good.

If the most notorious cops are indeed the real power driving Warren, the industrial town may be headed for a crash. Last year citizens registered more than 50 complaints of illegal cavity searches and excessive force. This, in a town of just 45,000.


"I'm sick of blacks saying they are minorities. Its just not true, they cry it all the time because it works for them."


"Are you stunned like I am money paid for lawsuit in strip-searches. Police paid our tax money . . . why do we have to pay for what they did wrong?"


"To All The Idiots, I work at WPD, and I'm very proud of that fact. I work with a great bunch of people, from the chief to the dispatch . . . if you hate us that much don't call us!! We pay taxes too. And if you call us don't ask questions just answer them. Just trying to advise."

Gentle Giant

It's late Sunday afternoon, and Gehrig and Lucille Murray's home smells good. Fried whitefish is on the menu.

Gehrig's 25 years at the steel mill and Lucille's job at the hospital have provided them a good life -- college for the kids, a safe neighborhood. Their daughter is a homemaker, and their youngest son is an engineer in Cleveland. Gehrig's grandfather was the first black Trumbull County Sheriff's deputy.

There's something wrong with their oldest son, however. "Schizo" is Lucille's unsentimental assessment. Before his run-in with police in 2001, his mother says he was outgoing. He might not have been a high achiever like his little brother, but he had a good job in construction.

"We taught our children to respect the law and to respect what's fair," says Lucille. Lamont was always coming to the defense of others. It's a quality that landed him in trouble.

Annette Kee was watching from her Niles Road boat shop that day in 2001 when Sergeant Massucci pulled Gracie Parks over for failing to use her turn signals. Gracie's son Kelvin, his friend Lamont Murray, and Kelvin's three kids were passengers.

Massucci informed the heavyset older woman that she was under arrest for allowing her unlicensed son to drive. He suspected that she and Kelvin, who was sitting in the back, had climbed over each other to switch places. But Lamont loudly insisted it wasn't true: Mrs. Parks was hardly an acrobat; she'd been driving the whole time. He told her to roll up her window and ignore the cop.

"Sir, shut your mouth," Kee heard Massucci say.

Lamont did not. Kelvin was ordered out of the car and handcuffed, but when Massucci reached in to grab him, Lamont swatted the sergeant's hand away, witnesses say.

Officers Dave Weber, John Massaro, Tim Parana, and Patrick Marsico arrived on the scene. Massucci pulled Lamont from the car as Weber maced him. Massucci then hit him in the forehead with his baton, causing Lamont to lose control of his bladder.

While Kelvin's three boys and their grandmother watched, Massucci and Massaro kicked Lamont's knees and slammed his head with batons until the back of Lamont's head split open. His scalp was exposed "like a watermelon," as Kelvin put it.

Though handcuffed in the squad car, Kelvin managed to call Lamont's parents on his cell phone. Gehrig Murray remembers that his son's friend was crying.

He listened helplessly as Kelvin described the four officers standing in a ring around his asthmatic, gentle giant of a son. "They're beating him down! His head is all blood!" Kelvin shrieked.

Lamont's written description of that day is cursory, scrawled in a two-page complaint that reads:

". . . [B]lood from my head went into my eyes . . . I couldn't see or breathe . . . I fell to my knees I was struck in my head and neck again . . . they kicked my knees and forced my face down in the dirt . . . he put his foot on my neck a knee in my back . . . I am unable to breathe in the dirt . . . I continued to lie face down until the ambulance came."

"You shouldn't have fought back," Kee remembers one of the officers saying.

Lamont was taken away in an ambulance, and Massaro ordered Kelvin's sons, ages 9, 12, and 14, out of the van with their hands behind their heads. Their father was taken to the police station, their new white van was towed, and the kids waited with their grandmother by the side of the road for a relative to pick them up.

When Lucille Murray saw her son in the hospital, she screamed. "He was just lying in his own blood," she says.

It took 15 metal staples to close the deepest wound -- it looked like a zipper. That same night, Warren officers took him back into custody.

When the Murrays posted bond and went to pick Lamont up, they overheard Massucci laughing with his colleagues. The sergeant called their son a 300-pound ape, they say, and joked that he should have been wearing a diaper.

"Massucci was in his glory," says Gehrig. "He got a big black man that day. He couldn't stop bragging."

With the encouragement of their public defenders, Gracie pleaded no contest, and Kelvin pleaded guilty to misdemeanors -- Gracie for allowing an unlicensed person to drive, Kelvin for driving under suspension. They still maintain that they never switched places, but they felt that the pressure to go along with Massucci's version of the story was overwhelming. Chief Mando exonerated his officers from any wrongdoing.

Originally, Lamont was charged with felony assault on a peace officer, but his mother says their public defender talked him into pleading to obstruction and resisting arrest. As for Lamont's injuries, an internal investigation was conducted, but the Murrays took small part in it, because -- as they would inform police -- they intended to sue.

Predictably, their public defender was less than encouraging, and they had trouble finding outside representation. They went to the only black lawyer they knew, but he didn't want the case. Olivito is not surprised. He says local attorneys are none too eager to take on the cops.

The Murrays were gathering funds to retain a Cleveland lawyer when, nearly a year later, an additional charge -- felony passing bad checks -- was added to the two misdemeanors.

A month before Lamont's encounter with Massucci's baton, Gehrig says, he gave his oldest son a $5,500 check drawn on a family account. The Murray family patriarch, William Murray, had recently passed away; he had wanted to provide a nest egg for Lamont. By giving Lamont the check, Gehrig felt that he was honoring William's wishes.

But the credit union couldn't honor the check because the signature wasn't William's.

What the Murrays considered an annoying mix-up was viewed, one year later, as a felony by the prosecutor's office. Interestingly, it was only after the Murrays told the police that they intended to sue that the check-passing charge was filed. The prosecutor bundled it with the obstruction and resisting charges. For all three offenses, Lamont was sentenced to one month in jail and five years' probation.

The short stint in jail was possibly less problematic than the five years' probation, which meant that police could pick him up at any time, for any reason. Lamont now lives in constant fear of retribution. His friends say he's grown paranoid and moody. He will not speak with reporters, and although everyone knows that he sleeps in his parent's basement, the Murrays are never definite about where he is. "Sometimes he drives a truck," says Lucille, avoiding eye contact.

She feels the additional charge was part of a deliberate effort to keep their resources tied up. It seemed to work. They never sued. And now the statute of limitations has expired.

"This whole town is dirty," she adds. "The newspapers, the lawyers, the hospitals . . . you can't trust no one."

Lucille still gets angry when she talks about the Warren legal system ("like garbage!"), but her husband manages to laugh. Toward the end of his career at the mill, Gehrig bought a new Cadillac. He soon found himself being stopped by police almost daily -- for failure to use turn signals, for rolling through stop signs. Once, Municipal Court erupted into laughter when he announced that his next car would be a Toyota.

More serious was the day he was pulled over by police, who asked whether he was acquainted with a group of teenage boys hanging out on a nearby corner. He said he was not, but officers ordered him out of his car anyway. They patted him down, searched his car, and shined a flashlight into his mouth. "Are you a dentist?" he joked.

The officers were not amused. They took him to the police station, where, he says, they conducted strip- and cavity-searches. Finding nothing, the officers erroneously cited him for driving without insurance. Because they had impounded his car, Gehrig Murray walked home to his wife in the dark.

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