Grand Jury

When I wrote my blog about Johnny Manziel’s Dallas situation yesterday, I wasn’t expecting there to be any movement on the case anytime soon. A news report claimed that the detective working the case had been put on a special  patrol duty and any findings would be delayed.That turned out to only be partially true – the detective had completed his investigation and turned his findings over to his superiors for review and a decision. Late this afternoon the DPD announced that they are turning the case over to the Dallas County District Attorney with the recommendation that the investigation be turned over to  a grand jury. Dallas news outlets reported that the police said that they had insufficient evidence to charge Manziel with a Class A misdemeanor for assault.

This move by the DPD has opened a lot of questions. Dallas attorneys have said this is very unusual. One lawyer claimed it means they have evidence against Manziel but another well-known attorney says just the opposite. He believes the DPD wants to get rid of the case and let somebody else be responsible. This same attorney has said previously that a recommendation to turn a case over to a grand jury is a “red flag” that there are problems with the case. He says that the move may be an indication that the evidence they have does not support Miss Crowley’s allegations, which is very likely the situation.

What does this mean for Manziel? Right now, nothing. If the DA decides to put the case before a grand jury, then it will mean he will most likely be called to appear before them (without an attorney present.)  It is possible the DA will decide to drop the prosecution. In the event he is indicted, then he will have the option of a plea bargain or pleading not guilty, which would mean the case would go to trial in which case the odds are that he will be found not guilty. The charge mentioned as  a result of Crowley’s allegations is Class A Assault, a misdemeanor. It’s Class A because she suffered some injury. Texas laws limits punishment for such a misdemeanor to a maximum of one year in jail, a $4,000 fine or both. Since this would be a first offense for Manziel, he would most likely get probation (if the prosecutor is determined to get a conviction, she will no doubt offer probation as an incentive for him to plea bargain.)

This case could be over in a week or it may drag on for months or even years.

 

 

 

 

What Really Happened in Dallas?

There are a lot of things I’d like to be writing about, but the ongoing saga of Colleen Crowley and Johnny Manziel has been occupying much of my mind ever since we came back from a cruise and I learned that there had been an incident early that morning in Dallas and Fort Worth involving Manziel. I have already posted Crowley’s statement and a link to the Fort Worth Police Department informational report on the incident. What I want to do now is look at the FACTs, as we know them based on those two documents. Bear in mind that everything that has appeared in the media is one-sided and comes from Crowley. Manziel made one comment to the scandal site TMZ when he told them he didn’t hit her and did not threaten to kill her.

Let’s start off without the “she said he said” stuff and look at what Crowley has said. Bear in mind that the Fort Worth officers who talked to her after the 911 call said her allegations were “vague.” They also said that she was intoxicated. Perhaps she was sober when she made her statement. All we really know is that it was presented to a judge along with an agreed protective order she and Manziel had agreed to on February 3. What Crowley says is this: She and some friends decided to go to Dallas to eat dinner and party on Friday night, January 30. They left the restaurant at 11:15 to go bar-hopping. While they were out, they were texting back and forth with “friends”, including Manziel, who was not with them. Either by prior arrangement or during the texting she made plans to spend the night at his hotel room. Crowley said that she and Manziel had broke up “in December.” (Perhaps she was horny or perhaps he told her she could spend the night rather than trying to drive back to Fort Worth.)

Crowley says that she and two of her friends went to Manziel’s room at the Hotel Zaza at 1:45, which means she and her friends had been drinking for over 2 1/2 hours. She doesn’t say when they arrived at the restaurant or if they were drinking. She says her friends left “to do their own thing” and she remained with Manziel. Whether they were alone or not is unclear. She told the police that someone was staying with Manziel but doesn’t mention it in her statement. After her friends left, she apparently jumped on him for spending time with another girl “who caused us problems in the past.” Crowley claims she told him she was going to sleep on the couch, and that he threw her on the bed, although she acknowledges that he said it was “playfully.”

She doesn’t say so in her statement, but Crowley told FW police that she wanted to leave but Manziel restrained her “because he believed she was intoxicated” and shouldn’t be driving. Now, bear in mind that this was in the hours of the morning. FWPD officers came to her apartment in Fort Worth at 5:20 and she says she got to his hotel room at 1:45, leaving a window of some 3 hours and 35 minutes. Downtown Dallas is some 30 miles from Fort Worth so part of that time was taken up in travel. Manziel obviously feared for her safety. She claims she tried to leave but he “restrained” her, although she doesn’t say how. She claims she “feared for my life.”

At this point, let’s think about what’s happening. Crowley has decided she doesn’t want to stay and Manziel realizes she’s too drunk to drive. He decides to take her home and Crowley freaks out and becomes irrational. This is not the first time – back in October she got mad at him while riding in his car because he wouldn’t give her his cell phone and she threw his wallet out the window. Then she tried to jump out of his car while it was still moving and he restrained her. The officers who investigated that  incident determined that she was intoxicated. She said she had drank “three Crown and Cokes.” They also determined that Manziel was NOT intoxicated but had taken two drinks earlier in the day.

In short, this whole thing was a situation where a drunk woman became irrational when her friend refused to let her leave, then insisted on taking her home himself. If Crowley had simply let him take her without pitching a hissy fit, no one would have ever known about it. Instead, she became violent and out of control. By her own admission, she beat on Manziel with her fists while he was trying to drive. She also says she attacked him with a knife after he got her home (but she didn’t tell the FWPD officers about it. In fact, when they asked her if anything had happened at her apartment, she “became uncooperative” and changed the subject by claiming she feared Manziel was going to hurt himself.

What about his threat to “kill them both”? Remember, the woman was drunk but even if she were sober, people often hear something different than what was actually said. He may have told her to “stop before you kill us both”. I have had some experience with this. Years ago, when my first wife decided she wanted a divorce, we were talking one night and told her my job as a pilot might be in jeapordy. She asked why and I told her my employers would be afraid I might decide to fly an airplane into the ground and kill a bunch of passengers. Several months later after I moved out and our divorce got nasty, she told a State Policeman that I had threatened to fly an airplane into the ground. At the time, she gave no indication that she misunderstood but a few months later she tried to use the conversation against me. It’s highly likely that Manziel said one thing and Crowley heard something else, especially considering that she was probably snockered.

In her statement, Crowley does not acknowledge that she had been drinking. However, it’s a safe bet that she had – a lot. Pictures of her on social media usually show her drinking, and drinking heavily. The Fort Worth officers determined that she was intoxicated. She admits to having been to at least three clubs before she went to his room. The original report sent out from the FWPD described her as “inebriated.”

Did Manziel strike her? Contrary to what the FWPD report said, Crowley only claimed that he struck her once and that it was an open-handed slap. She says he slapped her “because I jumped out of the car.” She also said she was unable to hear afterwards. However, she also said that he was pushing her back while she was hitting him and that she hit her head on a window so hard that she fell on the floor.

At this point, the DPD has not charged Manziel. In fact, they have said that they have not decided what to charge him with, if anything. Even if they do charge him, everything Crowley has said can be used against her in court. She might even find herself in jail. After all, she was interering with the operator of a motor vehicle and she attacked him with a knife.

 

 

 

 

Crowley Statement

The world received shocking news a week ago when Forth Worth, Texas police revealed that Johnny Manziel, a notorious NFL football player, had been involved in an incident that resuled in a 911 call. Although the police did not talk to Manziel, they talked to a 23-year old woman named Colleen Crowley who claimed to be his ex-girlfriend. Although the police determined that no crime had occurred within their jurisdiction, something might have happened in Dallas.

It has now come out that Colleen Crowley has retained a well-known Dallas divorce lawyer. She is claiming she has a ruptured eardrum due to Manziel slapping her.

 

 The above image is the statement Colleen Crowley, Johnny Manziel’s former girlfriend, drafted and signed on Monday, February 1, at least 36 hours after the incident occurred. Bear in mind that at the time referenced in the statement, Crowley was intoxicated. In fact, the original report sent out by the Fort Worth police, which did not contain names, said the woman was intoxicated. (I’ve been unable to find the Tweet but my recollection is that it used the word “inebriated.”) We assume that by the time Crowley (or her attorney) drew up the statement, she had sobered up. She says in her statement that she left a Dallas restaurant at 11:15 and didn’t arrive at Manziel’s hotel room at the Zaza Hotel until 2 1/2 hours later, at 1:45. (There are discrepancies between her account and that of the Fort Worth police, which says officers were called at around 2:00 AM. Dallas and Fort Worth are 30 miles apart.)
A careful reading of Crowley’s statement reveals only one allegation that could possibly be substantiated, and then only if it happened within the range of a security camera. That is her claim that he grabbed her hair and threw her in the car (her own.) The only other allegation of bodily harm is the claim that he slapped her left ear (with his open hand.) She claims hearing loss and her attorney says she has a ruptured eardrum but she also indicates that she was attacking him while he was driving and he was pushing her away. She says she hit her head on a window. In short, Manziel may or may not have caused her injury.
Crowley says that she and Manziel had been texting during the time she was clubbing and that she made plans to spend the night with him. However, she also says that they broke up “in December” after living together for “four months” which raises the question of why he invited her to his room. She states that Manziel was not intoxicated; in fact, the most recent media account of him states that he was seen at a basketball game drinking ice water. It is clear from Crowley’s statement that he was not with her and her friends while they were partying. After she got to his room and her friends left, she accosted Manziel about another girl, a girl she evidently doesn’t  like, with whom he had evidently been seen. She says the other girl “had caused problems for us in the past”. She says she told Manziel she was going to sleep on the couch then says he “threw me on the bed,” but acknowledges that he said it was “playfully.”  It is at that point that things started developing.
Crowley acknowledged to Fort Worth police (but does not mention it in her statement) that Manziel was concerned about her drunken condition and did not want her to leave, which makes sense. It was the wee hours of the morning and her car was parked half a mile away. A drunk girl on the street at 3:00 AM is a target for any pervert who might see her. Then she had a drive of at least 30 miles before her and she was obviously drunk. Manziel decided he would drive her to her car and then drive her home in her own vehicle. Crowley says that he “restrained” her, which evidently means that he had her by the arm.
Now, let’s be frank – her statement reveals that the woman freaked out, just as she had done back in October when she got drunk at a restaurant then tried to climb through the window while he was driving on the freeway. She also threw his wallet out the window before police came up after being notified that a couple were having a fight on the side of the road. In the recent episode, she got mad because he had been seen with another girl and didn’t want him to take her to her car and drive her back to her apartment in Fort Worth. She says she started crying and hitting him. She claims he took her down the back stars of the luxurious hotel where he was staying to the valet. Now, this doesn’t make sense because valet stations are at the front entrance of hotels. She claims she protested to the valet that she feared for her life but the valet responded that he didn’t know what to do. (All he had to do was pick up his phone.)
Crowley does not mention any kind of physical assault until after they got in her car – he first drove her to where it was parked in his own car – and she jumped out and tried to get away. She claims that after he got her back in her car (she says he pulled her by her hair) and got in on the drivers side, he slapped the left side of her face with his open hand. She claimed she couldn’t hear out of it afterward and her lawyer says she has a ruptured hearing. (Loss of hearing is not necessarily the result of a ruptured eardrum.) That is actually the only time she says he hit her. In fact, she says she was hitting him as he  drove out of Dallas.  She says he pushed her away and she hit her head on the window and fell onto the floorboard. Now, the girl is 5’7″. How she would have fallen onto the floorboard is beyond my comprehension although she was drunk at the time.
She says that after they got back to her apartment the altercation continued but that it was verbal. (She doesn’t say who was doing the talking.) She finally grabbed a kitchen knife and went after him, at which time he left her apartment. After he left, a neighbor called 911. (The neighbor said she heard Crowley screaming. She also says that Crowley didn’t want the police involved.) However, there are conflicts between her statement and what she told the police who interviewed her after responding to the 911 call. This is not surprising since the police said her allegations were “vague.”
This incident was investigated by the Dallas Police Department and the case was closed without any charges being filed. It was opened because Crowley went to the Dallas County DA’s office and filed a charge of domestic violence, which led to a reopening of the case.
The Fort Worth PD officers who answered the 911 call determined that there had been no assault within their jurisdiction. However, they weren’t aware that Crowley attacked Manziel with a knife.

 

Dishonest Media and Johnny Manziel

A couple of weeks ago I was on a cruise ship. One of the entertainers was a comedian from Kansas City. I saw him perform three times and in at least two of his performances, two of which were more like seminars, he commented that the media lies to us. Now, I don’t know if their lies are always deliberate but there is one thing for certain – very little you see and hear in the media is true. In fact, barley 48 hours after we returned home an incident occurred near my house that shows just how true his statement is.

On Monday morning after we got home on Saturday, a light sport airplane crashed at an airport less than two miles from our house. A flight instructor was killed and his student badly burned. The first reports were that the airplane was in maintenance when it suddenly burst into flames. Then the account changed to a crash for awhile before going back to the mechanic story. I finally drove over to the airport to see what I could learn, which turned out to be nothing. I found several vehicles from news outlets with the reporters and camera crews sitting inside  waiting for somebody to tell them something (one blonde TV reporter apparently spent the entire day out there waiting to report on the noon and 6 o’clock news.)

Yet, NONE of them got the story straight! The airplane was taking off with a strong, gusty crosswind. Yet the story reported by most of the news outlets is that the airplane “suddenly lost altitude” and some said it hit another airplane while taking off, even though the closest airplanes were at least 100 yards away. No mention of the strong, gusty winds was mentioned even though such winds frequently cause accidents, particularly with light airplanes. Not a single one of the news outlets bothered to do any research. This brings me to Johnny Manziel.

I won’t go into Manziel’s history other than to say that he is probably the most-reported individual in history; in sports for sure. Most of it is rumor and/or exaggeration. Ever since 2012 when he came out as one of the most outstanding football players of all time, sports media has followed him like a hawk and bloggers have used him to draw attention to their pages. When I finally got around to going online a week ago today, I learned that there had been an incident earlier that morning between him and his former girlfriend. A statement was released by the Fort Worth PD about an investigation of an incident involving a 23-year old woman and her  ex-boyfriend. Although the statement did not mention Manziel by name, the police sergeant who tweeted it mentioned that it involved Manziel. The Johnny Manziel circus was about to turn into Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey.

The details of the allegations claimed by the girl friend, one Colleen Cowley, are here: https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/298200241?access_key=key-Izp0DTFdyZxM1N6LB5QC&allow_share=true&escape=false&view_mode=scroll. The Fort Worth PD informational report is here: http://www.chron.com/sports/texans/article/Police-report-Johnny-Manziel-struck-6807830.php/

Crowley’s statement says that she and three friends went from Fort Worth to Dallas to have dinner at a posh restaurant where they remained until after eleven, then went club hopping. She mentions three clubs in her statement but her car ended up at a fourth. Manziel, with whom Crowley says she had broken up in December, was not with them. However, Crowley says they were texting back and forth. She says they made plans for an “after party” at his hotel. She and two of her friends eventually went to Manziel’s room at what appears to have been somewhere around 1 AM or possibly later. The two friends left to “do their own thing” and she remained at the hotel, although whether they were alone or not is not stated. She said that she had made plans to spend the night in the hotel with Manziel.

After the friends left, the two former lovers got into an argument about another girl that “had caused problems for us in the past.” She apparently got mad and told him that if she was going to stay, she was going to sleep on the couch. She claims that Manziel then threw her on the bed but states that he claimed it was “playfully” but she “took it seriously” and decided to leave, but when she went to the door Manziel “restrained her.” She would later tell police that Manziel didn’t want her to drive because she was intoxicated. (She undoubtedly was since she had been to a restaurant and at least three clubs before she went to his room and is known to imbibe.)

What happened after that is uncertain. Crowley has made numerous allegations of assault and abuse on Manziel’s part but also stated in her affidavit that she went at him with a kitchen knife, at  which point he fled her apartment in Fort Worth. It was after he left that she went to neighbors and got them to make a 911 call. The Fort Worth PD concluded that no assault had occurred within their jurisdiction (the knife attack is not mentioned in their informational report) and forwarded it to the Dallas PD to investigate. The DPD conducted an investigation and declared it closed with no charges filed. The following day word came out that Crowley had requested a protective order.

The protective order has been misreported. A DFW news outlet reported that the judge had granted the request for a protective order for two years. However, Texas judges do not have that authority without a hearing. Prescribed procedures in Texas are for a hearing to be set for a date within 14 days of the request.  A judge may decide to issue a temporary order but it is valid for only 20 days, at which time it may be lifted or, once a hearing has been held, replaced by a permanent order valid for not more than two years. A DFW area TV station reported that Manziel had been ordered to stay away from Crowley for two years, but this would be contrary to Texas law since no hearing has taken place.

Crowley has also gone to the Dallas County DA’s office and pressed charges. As a result, the DPD reopened their investigation. The media, however, has been reporting this as if a new “criminal” investigation has been opened. In fact, all police investigations are “criminal.” The ongoing investigation has simply been reopened.

Whether the DPD investigation will uncover anything new is anyone’s guess, but it’s doubtful. With one exception, Crowley’s allegations all took place either in his room or in her car while he was driving her to Fort Worth. The one possible exception is in a parking lot. She mentions an encounter with a valet but doesn’t relate any abuse that might have occurred that would have witnessed. (There is also a question – how long was the couple in the valet’s presence? Unless Manziel called to ask to have his car brought up, the valet would have had to go get it while they were waiting.) She incriminates herself in her statement but the assault with the kitchen knife took place in Forth Worth. Whether she will be charged remains to be seen and may depend on Manziel’s actions. (He should press charges against her since she threatened him with a deadly weapon, an assault at minimum.)

Reporting of the Manziel/Crowley incident basically has him tried and convicted and on his way to jail, or on his way out of the NFL at least. In fact, all the police have are allegations by Crowley, allegations that have yet to be proved. Charges are based on evidence, not suspicion – except in the media and the court of public opinion the media seeks to influence.