When Guys in Dark Suits Want to Ask You A Few Questions

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

by: Zena Crenshaw-Logal, J.D.




Likely every aspect of American society is impacted in a very observable or measurable way based on simply who our country’s criminal law enforcement and civil regulatory as well as disciplinary agencies choose to investigate and, in fact, investigates. The mere commencement of an investigation by one or more of these government bodies considerably alters consumer, not to mention public agency and private business spending; triggers stress; and modifies personal as well as business relationships for better or worse. Hence, the phrases government investigatory power and police powers. It is truly power wielded pursuant to them. Moreover, via these powers, tremendous market forces and emotions are unleashed. And while U.S. taxpayers pay for each unfurling, we may not control when the metaphorical unleashing happens and/or the ends it serves, whether our related preferences are personal or shared by large special interest groups. Our influence in that regard only goes as far as we can take it through democratic processes, which is a very short trip for most Americans.



In 2016, I co-authored a rather complex legal analysis proposing that U.S. criminal law enforcement and court officers cannot be lawfully convicted or punished pursuant to what they respectively contend is a retaliatory government process, in violation of America’s First Amendment, unless thorough U.S. government investigation disproves the retaliation. With perhaps the exception of sworn U.S. public officials, it seems no other Americans can claim such a constitutional right to thorough U.S. government investigation, no matter the circumstances. My referenced co-authors and I quote a 2011 law review article explaining that per the U.S. Supreme Court, “even state laws that mandate that government employees take certain actions might not create liberty interests, as the law may not be intended to confer benefits on a specific class of people; for laws governing criminal investigation, enforcement, and prosecution, ‘[t]he serving of public rather than private ends is the normal course of the criminal law because criminal acts, ‘besides the injury [they do] to individuals . . . strike at the very being of society . . .’.”[1]


And while U.S. taxpayers pay for each unfurling (of government investigatory powers), we may not control when the metaphorical unleashing happens and/or the ends it serves.

As my co-authors and I noted in 2016, “(p)urging watchdogs and whistleblowers from U.S. law enforcement . . . is far from serving public ends.”[2] Yet, the silence in which Americans watch this end served exceeds our uproar in protesting perceived U.S. law enforcement brutality, over-militarization, and un-accountability. What we seem not to realize is passively watching the career end and corresponding life upheaval of one U.S. law enforcement officer after another who dared expose department misconduct, decries our chants that Black, Brown, Blue or any lives matter in implementing America’s criminal justice system. To help make amends, a coalition of grassroots good advocates is renewing efforts to vindicate two former U.S. deputy sheriffs who suffered that fate, and foreclose similar, sometimes worse suffering for other U.S. law enforcement whistleblowers (LEWs). The initial cases to be featured are those of Mark P. Lipton of Tennessee and Maurice Morris of Ohio.



What we seem not to realize is passively watching the career end and corresponding life upheaval of one U.S. law enforcement officer after another who dared expose department misconduct, decries our chants that Black, Brown, Blue or any lives matter in implementing America’s criminal justice system.



I have helped champion the causes of former Tennessee deputy sheriff Mark P. Lipton and former Ohio deputy sheriff Maurice Morris since 2014. Inadequate community support has stymied our efforts, and that we must overcome. But overwhelming Liptons’ and Morris’ apparent adversaries is not our express goal because the real culprit is America’s persistent failure to provide LEWs effective avenues to redress retaliation occasioned by their truth-telling. The groundswell we need most is of concern about that reality. It is the tide that must rise to float our justice ship.


The real culprit is America’s persistent failure to provide LEWs effective avenues to redress retaliation occasioned by their truth-telling.


Lipton’s and Morris’ troubles are chronicled to help justify the aforementioned right to thorough government investigation my co-authors and I proposed in our 2016, “How to Get Away with Career Murder: The Unconstitutional Blueprint for Systematically Purging Whistleblowers from U.S. Law Enforcement.”[3] We recount Lipton’s report to federal authorities of interference with and the covering up of a D.U.I. (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol) arrest he made in about 2008. For years, Morris reported experiencing racism as a deputy sheriff to his local NAACP. But what seemed to be the proverbial straw that broke his boss’ back was Morris’ cooperation in 2006 with an investigation of illegal labor union election manipulation, alleged by the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. Shortly after the indicated disclosures, Lipton and Morris were criminally prosecuted, respectively charged with physically attacking a civilian; acts totally inconsistent with their preceding conduct records and subsequent polygraphs. It remains "interesting", as my co-authors and I characterized it, that “the decision to prosecute both . . . Lipton and Maurice Morris began with a prosecutor’s choice to disregard their respective account of an alleged off-duty civilian attack on them.”[4]


Former deputy sheriff Morris was convicted of battery against a church musician accused of having sex with a teenage parishioner. It seems Morris’ undenied vigilance in addressing church-centered pedophilia helped some people with questionable motives depict him as a vigilante, prone to unprovoked violence in response to prospective child predators. My co-authors and I document several inconsistencies and logic flaws in accusations against former deputy sheriffs Lipton and Morris. But these are particularly suspicious if not otherwise disturbing:

Neither Lipton nor Morris was even accused of causing anyone permanent physical harm. In contrast, most law enforcement officers guilty of killing one or more civilians over the course of 2005 to 2015 fared better than Lipton and Morris in regard to their careers and/or as criminal defendants. Purported victims were more readily vindicated for ruckuses that Lipton and Morris deny, but were respectively convicted of causing, than a significant number of people shot multiple times in the back or subjected to a sex crime by law enforcement officers since 2005.[5]

Write-off Lipton and Morris, and score points for unaccountable law enforcement command officers, state prosecutors, drunk drivers, and church pedophiles of America.


If they can be persuaded on this, public outcry will help convince President Trump, his U.S. Attorney William Barr, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that my co-authors and I remain right:

Relief is surely due any U.S. law enforcement whistleblower convicted on criminal charges that may well be the product of probable cause fabricated in retaliation for his or her whistleblowing if that prospect was not thoroughly explored by appropriate oversight agencies.[6]



The relief former deputy sheriffs Mark P. Lipton of Tennessee and Maurice Morris of Ohio seek is exoneration. Amazing is the list of public officials; good government, whistleblower protection, U.S. law enforcement, anti-wrongful conviction, and consumer protection advocates; as well as religious leaders who would not, when briefed on and asked to endorse or otherwise support Lipton’s and Morris’ quest for vindication. But pursuant to Operation High Efficiency, an amazing list is forming of people who recognize we all have an interest in helping keep America’s criminal justice system from becoming a handy tool of retaliation for First Amendment activity. We also have an interest in helping ensure that U.S. law enforcement officers who help ensure appropriate U.S. law enforcement accountability by exposing work-related misconduct and corruption are not removed from their law enforcement jobs or otherwise subjected to negative action as a result.



Click here to see coalition letter of support to President Trump, his U.S. Attorney William Barr, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine



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[1] Dr. Zena D. Crenshaw-Logal, Dr. Andrew D. Jackson, and Dr. Sandra Nunn. "How To Get Away With Career Murder: The Unconstitutional Blueprint for Systematically Purging Whistleblowers from U.S. Law Enforcement." Bepress Selected Works (2016), p 17. Accessible as of April 5, 2019 @ http://works.bepress.com/zena_crenshaw-logal/8/


[2] Id. at pp 17-18.


[3] See, footnote 1.


[4] Id. at p 18.


[5] Id. at 28. (internal end notes omitted).


[6] Id. at 32.


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