Does anyone tell the truth?

I am sharing a post by a wrongfully convicted man.  Freedom for 50 is a blog about his experiences in Prison for something he did not do.  He keeps trying to be the same honest upright person on the inside (prison) as he was on the outside. But not doing what the other inmates want can be dangerous.


Hi everyone, It’s been awhile. I’ve been dealing with some rough times. This is going to be as hard as Ionia where they put me in the hole. At least it will feel almost the same. Except…

Source: Does anyone tell the truth?

Medication Interactions and Violent Behavior – you can’t make this stuff up! Or The Steak-n-Shake Incident

The Steak-n-Shake incident.

In prior posts I have described my experiences being a mom of Rachael, my Special Needs Child with Epilepsy.  Epilepsy has not been the only challenge.

Medications!  Some have worked, some haven’t.  Some have resulted in strange, bizarre, and violent behavior.  Early on, a medication Rachael was on stunted all development.  She wasn’t learning, or progressing and this was a big concern for me.  All parents want their children to reach all their developmental milestones.

I asked her Neurologist for help.   I really liked this Neurologist, but his comment was, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  But it was broke!  I convinced him we needed to look at it and to try to improve things for her.

An MRI was done.  The results came in.  I received a written report.  I could understand the majority of the radiological terms, but I had questions.   I was very self-educated (this can be frustrating for Doctor’s when a patient or patient’s relative questions results, wants to know more and doesn’t just take Dr.’s orders at face value).  I wanted to be the best advocate for my daughter I could.  I wanted to help her to be HER best self.  I had no mis-conceptions that she would be normal.  I wanted her best normal for her sake.

I called and requested an informational appointment to go over the results of the MRI with the Dr.  I was told the Dr. is very busy.  I again reiterated that I wanted to discuss the results of Rachael’s  MRI with the Dr.  The individual I spoke to on the phone replied, “It means your daughter is MENTALLY RETARDED.”  I was absolutely speechless for several seconds.  I knew this.  I did not need them to tell me this.  I responded by telling her to cancel any future appointments that we would not be returning…ever.

I found her a new Neurologist.  We tried different medications.  Some caused other problems, complications, depression, behavior problems, extreme weight loss, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, food-seeking.   At least one was taken off the market for deaths due to loss of kidney function.  We moved, had to switch to a new Neurologist, tried more meds.


Now to my point…Rachael was also pretty drooly.  It was hard to find childcare because no one wants a kid drooling all over.  I had to find care in my own home, and Rachael wore bandannas (in every color to match her outfits) instead of bibs (she’s not a baby).  They would be soaked and replaced with a new dry one every few hours and we could easily wash them.  Some days were better than others.  One Dr. proposed we try a Scopolamine Patch.  These patches are typically used for motion sickness, but tend to dry up oral secretions (dry mouth).  We decide to give it a try.  It had been maybe a week when Mike (the guy I was newly dating) and I decided to take our kids out to eat.

We met at Steak-n-Shake, me with my two kids, and he with his two kids.  As soon as we were seated, Rachael grabbed her silverware and started pounding on the table, yelling…. “I WANT EAT!”  [These were the days of food-seeking for her.  She could eat the food off her plate and steal the food off yours too, if you weren’t watching.  She was not allowed to do this, she simply couldn’t help it.  She was always hungry.]  At the restaurant, I told her that we had to wait our turn and then we would be able to eat.  I also took the silverware away.  This only made things worse.  She started screaming louder…“I WANT EAT!!!”

This had not happened before in public (aside from a grocery store incident).  I told her that if she did not quiet down and behave that we would be leaving (not an empty threat).  She screamed louder!!  The other children were sinking in their seats (I wanted to hide too!).  I asked Mike if he would bring Sarah home after they ate and told him I would be taking Rachael home.  He agreed.  I stood up, picked up Rachael and she started flailing her arms and legs and trying to squirm out of my grasp.  She was still a small child, but I was finding it difficult to hang onto her.  Mike had to help me take her to the car, get her in the car, and put her seat-belt on.  I had to engage the child lock on the door so she wouldn’t fall out of the car as we were driving.

Mike went back in and I drove away.  The entire drive home, Rachael screamed “GO BACK!” while pointing out the back car window and hitting me in the back of the head and kicking my seat.  I couldn’t believe it!  If any of the other challenges in my life hadn’t scared Mike off, this surely would!!  I cried all the way home.  And so embarrassing!

We pulled into the driveway and she stopped.  I took her in the house and sat her at the table.  I explained to her that we would be having sandwiches at home.  I also explained that she has to mind momma, she can’t behave like that ANYWHERE, and that there would be no more going out to eat if that ever happened again.  We ate, Mike brought Sarah home, and Rachael was back to normal.  I was unprepared for what happened the next morning…

With Rank Comes Privilege…Part 11 The unexpected, the win and why you should care


Patricia and I got jobs. 

Police jobs.  She was hired first, and he was so impressed with her he asked if the “other” officer was any good and needing a job.  We found the one person that would give us a chance.  We did such a good job, he gave us more responsibilities.  Our new Chief started receiving phone calls urging him to fire us.  He had a little fun with it. He did news interviews telling reporters that we were the best officers he had ever had and thank you to Grand Rapids for training them so well (this irked GRPD).  Then, when it came time for the trial, he told us since it was on days we had to work, we would have to wear our uniforms and report directly to work after court was done.  The City of Grand Rapids/GRPD was mad.  They went after him too.  The SGT (GCJR) who had been after the Chief job for years was unhappy.  A local told me that many Chief’s had come and gone, but GCJR was always the only one left standing, and somehow always came out smelling like a rose.  He got into our department emails.  He badmouthed us to the Chief (Renee said this, Pat said this/He lied).  He told Pat that I had asked for her shifts (UNTRUE).  He told the Chief we were fighting over each others’ shifts (UNTRUE).  We didn’t have any idea this was happening until Pat asked me why I wanted her shifts, wasn’t I getting enough hours?  I said, what?! I never asked for your shifts!  We smelled a rat disguised as a rose.  And his behavior didn’t change until another more crafty and better looking rat got him fired and replaced him.

SGT GCJR had learned from his dad.  His father was a police officer in a  nearby city. GCJR rode along with his dad.  He told us his dad (GC) would yell and scream at people and treat them badly.  He also told us that his father always said, Don’t do what I do, do what I say.

The SGT was mad because he went to school with people who got jobs at GRPD, but he didn’t.  He told us he hadn’t passed the background, (or was it the Psych?).  He was in one of the GRPD officer friend’s wedding. They were in his.  He was talking to them about us and them to him.  We hadn’t even worked with those GRPD officers that much! There were 400 officers, 4-5 areas of the City and 3 shifts as well as administrative positions.   When I went into the Detective unit, I never met any of the new people who started out on nights for years until they switched shifts!

Our Chief lost his job.  The SGT finally got him.  But our Chief sued and settled out of court with that municipality.  He was the only person with the guts to give us a chance, and we delivered for him.  We solved cases, mentored other officers.  The SGT was not  happy and undermined our efforts from the beginning while trying to pretend to be everyone’s friend, but trying to pit them against each other.  Karma, or another Rat got him, eventually.


During the trial, The City depicted us as dangerous, put pictures of us up on the courtroom screen with pictures of handguns super-imposed over us and pointing into the air. As If we would go off and shoot up the town at any moment.  We were just glad they used some decent pictures of us.  It seemed whenever we were winning, nice pictures of us appeared in the newspaper, when we were down they put in the worst pictures of us they could find.

In court, the first City Psychologist, “Dr. Pete” finally admitted he added “drama” to Patricia’s report, he thought it was funny, but the way he did it, turned the event she received a commendation for, into a crime.

The City’s second Psychologist, Dr. Tony, continually claimed that we didn’t take “responsibility” for our “shortcomings” (this was also said about me to Chief HD by “Woody” after I complained about him).  When we pointed out that Dr. Tony had our documents switched (pats in my evaluation, and mine in hers) he blamed his secretary.

Dr Tony was asked if he was friends with Dr. Pete, the First City Psychologist. He said no. Patricia’s attorney produced a copy of Dr. Tony’s vanity book, and pointed out the forward which read, I want to thank my friend and mentor Dr. Pete.

Dr. Tony tried to explain this by saying well you know, we’ve run into each other at conferences and stuff so we are not “friends” but “friends”.

The icing on the cake came from my attorney.  She got up and asked Dr. Tony, Do you remember the Union Steward introducing you to my client before her evaluation as she gestures at me.  Tony nods vigorously, “Yes, yes I do.”  And do you remember after going into the conference room asking her if she preferred to be called “Pat, Patty or Patricia?”  Do you remember what my client said?  He shakes his head no.  My attorney says, you don’t remember her saying, “My name is Renee’?”  The whole court room burst out laughing.  It was the most satisfying, comedic thing I had ever seen!!

Needless to say we won.  The Jury doubled our damages.

Several months later the judge overturned the Jury’s decision.  This rarely, if ever, happens.

We appealed.

The appeals court overturned the Judge.  We had won again.

The judge reduced the award and thinking he was being “fair” gave the City two options.

  1. You can re-instate them to their jobs
  2. You can pay them according to the union contract as if they were working but they don’t come into work.


The city chose option 2.  We are not allowed into the Police Department.  Our lockers are still padlocked with our belongings in them sending a very clear message to all other women at the police department.  They take taxes out of our paychecks, even though we are not residents, and we do not do any work for or in the City of Grand Rapids (more on this tax issue later).


Early on in this whole process, I asked another officer how she was doing.  It seemed like she was always in trouble.  She wasn’t perfect, but who is?  I felt badly for her and so many others (it was my goal to help any new people as much as possible and not treat them like most new people were treated).  The Captain had it in for her.  She eventually switched shifts to get away from him because he kept writing her up constantly.  It was so bad, that in response to me asking how she was doing, she told me that she did not care who they were picking on, as long as it wasn’t her.


Apathy about injustice is a real problem.  Any and all  injustice!  Just because you think it won’t affect you, it will, at some point: If not you, your mother, your sister, your daughter and the men in their lives.  We cannot allow evil people to do evil things.  We don’t need that criminal 5% in charge.  Whether it be a governmental agency, a business or any other organization.  There is strength in numbers.  It started with the 14 of us, word around the department was that they were going to put us all off on a mental.  When the two of us filed the Federal suit it kept the department from doing the same to the others.

I would like to know how they would have explained the contagious nature of Personality Disorders at GRPD.

WOMEN, I’m talking to you when I say we have to stop competing with each other for jobs, men, recognition.  We have to support each other.  We are supposed to be on the same team.  There should not be a Queen bee, and if you wonder what I am referring to google Queen Bee Syndrome.

Men, you need to speak up when you see a woman or any other person being mistreated.  Remember, your voice seems to carry more weight than ours.  These women could turn out to be your mother, your sister, your wife, your daughters.

Those of you in positions that give you power or authority, you need to realize that when you oppress you are contributing to keeping our entire country from unity.  Some of you hold the very livelihood and lives of others in your hands.  Those of you who enjoy this will pay the piper.  Karma will get you.  Beware the corrupting nature of power.  My oldest daughter got picked on and teased at school because her mother was “crazy.”  It was in all the papers, on the tv news stations.  My family and close friends knew better, a few of my neighbors knew better, but most people didn’t.  Even my own Union Steward made a comment to another Plaintiff after I was out on leave, “But she was found unfit for duty?!”  The other girl looked at him and told him, “Yeah, and I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

Our case has set precedence and has helped others in this situation.   We on the other hand, can’t get part-time or full-time jobs in our own field, no matter how much time, money, or effort we put into it.  Even though I may not ever get another police job, I have the respect, of my family, my friends as well as officers I used to work with and for. No one can call me a coward, and there is no room for cowardice in police work.

We have received calls from across the country from other female officers who have had the same thing happen to them.  I called the National FOP!  They acknowledged it was an upward trend to use Fitness For Duty Evaluations to get rid of employees who complain, but have not done anything about it.

Why should any of this matter to you?  You may be asked at some point in your life or careers to do something unethical, or immoral or just plain wrong.  You need to recognize these occasions and do what is right.  There may be far-reaching ramifications of your behavior, so make sure your intentions are ethical.  Your actions could protect or subject you or your organization to expensive liability.

Martin Niemoller was a Protestant Minister.  He spent time as a prisoner in concentration camps during the holocaust.

Martin Niemoller said, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

I add this, as human beings we are all supposed to be on the same side.

With Rank Comes Privilege…Part 10…INSURANCE CANCELLED


A number of tactics were used to cause us to cave or fold or crawl into a hole, move away, fall apart, go crazy, curl up and die or cry…

But they mistook us women for weaklings…

These tactics consisted of intimidation, trash pulls (to find illegal activity), releasing our addresses to the media, releasing HIPPA protected information to others in the police department (Dr. Pete’s reports were passed around, but not the favorable passing ones), we were not allowed to take the SGT’s test, they put us on paid leave, they stopped our pay, when we applied for unemployment they told the unemployment agency we were still “job-attached” so we had to fight our unemployment denial (successfully i might add), when we tried to get other jobs prospective employers were told we were unfit for duty.  Why?  No money = no attorneys.

During all of this, Rachael’s condition became life-threatening, I was sleeping on the floor of her room each night because she would seize and choke or stop breathing. She was scheduled to go to Cleveland Clinic for an evaluation and possible surgery. I had to ask the judge for a postponement of an upcoming hearing that conflicted with the timing of the appointment.  I told my new attorney that I didn’t want to give the reason, because GR would use it.  We went in front of the judge and had to reveal why, with the City Attorneys present.  The Judge granted the postponement on Friday.  I received a notice of cancellation of our health insurance 3 days later on Monday March 29th, effective April 1st.  This is illegal.  You can’t cancel a person’s insurance without notice or the option to have COBRA coverage.  They didn’t cancel Patricia’s insurance because it wouldn’t have harmed her.

My husband (we got married in 2003 remember!) put us on his health insurance. Rachael qualified for Children’s Special Heath Care Services through the County (they help with travel expenses and accommodations) and my attorney wrote a scalding letter (is this a new retaliatory action?).  By the time her surgery was actually preformed, Rachael was back on my insurance, had my husband’s, and we had assistance with travel and our costs for accommodations.  We stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland.  Ronald McDonald Houses across the country have helped so many families in similar situations.

On July 4th, 2004 the Doctors at Cleveland Clinic shaved her head and, Rachael had a hemispherectomy.  It saved her life. She is now doing quite well!  You can read about her in some of my other blog posts.

We had gotten jobs here and there.  I had one a few months after they “put us off”.  i got hired by Spectrum Health Security.  Why?  Because they knew me.  I was a regular as a Police Officer.  The hospital was in my patrol area.  I came in and took assault reports, domestic reports, murders, car accidents.  Not once, did I ever treat anyone in the security department like a rent-a-cop.  I always figured we were on the same team.  That’s why they hired me.  I was working there after being put off work.  GRPD Officers would come in to do the same as I had been doing as a police officer.  Some (very few) would talk to me.  Others wouldn’t.  Most ignored me, pretended they didn’t see me, or quickly moved through (uncomfortableness!) and then left out another door when they were finished.  One particular SGT (yes you TMcG) who’s wife works at the hospital came in one night, to visit or eat dinner with his wife.  As he walked by he got a nasty smirk on his face.  My hospital co-workers saw it too.  One of the very nicest, sweetest V.A’s (Visitor Assistants, they helped sick people from the cars into the E.R. etc) that worked there with me came over and said “Wow! What an Asshole!”  I had never heard her talk like that.  She was mad for me!

I never knew they had to put up with that kind of stuff until it happened to me.  It had never crossed my mind to behave like that.

Then something unexpected happened…

Patricia and I got police jobs. 

What is International Women’s Day?

Today is international Women’s Day.

There are a lot of interesting events scheduled for today.  Women have long been considered property, or less valuable and there has been an ongoing struggle to be paid the same as men and for women to  allowed to have the same opportunities as men.

UN Secretary-General’s message for 2016

“We have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards. Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers,” says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for International Women’s Day 2016. –

Find out more at:  International women’s Day

i encourage you to share the link today.



With Rank Comes Privilege…Part 9 DEBTORS COURT

We lost the State Case.

Why? The Judge wouldn’t let the jury hear about our adverse job actions (the proof for discrimination). The jury didn’t know Pat and I had been walked out the back door.  As far as the jury knew, we were still working.  We were not allowed to mention it or discuss our job loss in any way, shape or form.  We were not allowed to talk about our “punishment”.  The judge also took the legal definition of similarly situated to the extreme, so we were not allowed to bring up comparisons between our circumstances and guys who were doing the same job.

The City’s Attorney’s began threatening to saddle our Attorneys with fees and costs (and the sanctions) to get them to settle the State and Federal cases together and demanded they drop Patricia as a client.   They asked me to agree to settle with the other plaintiffs (The State Case) and drop Patricia.  When I said no, they abandoned both of us and withdrew as our attorney’s.  How could I settle, hang my co-plaintiff out to dry, and allow them to muddy my reputation and name and be permanently labeled “crazy” when it was a lie!?  I would never be able to get another job!

They threatened the Psychologists and Psychiatrist we had hired telling them them they could lose their licenses because they were practicing “Police Psychology” without the proper license. The Psychiatrist and Psychologist we hired, paid for their own lawyers and fought with us. They both paid a heavy cost for it.  We will always be grateful to them for sticking to their guns, being honest and ethical and not running off like cowards.

The State Case was settled by the other Plaintiffs, but we appealed (advantage of a two-fronted attack). Because we appealed the Judge stated in chambers that Pat and I would have to pay more money than the others (Patricia and our former attorney’s were present in Chambers when the Judge said this, and that is exactly what did happen.  It’s funny, but our attorney’s were not required to pay any part of the sanctions).  When The Judge put it on the official court record, he said it was because we wasted more of the court’s time.  When the Judge reinstated the fine/sanctions he told our former attorneys, but we were not notified.  Because no one told us, we had no idea we had a “bill” to pay.

We then get dragged into debtors court for being delinquent….


Because we were not notified we made no payment arrangements.

We were shocked and surprised when we were ordered to bring all our financial records and dragged into debtor’s court.  They wanted to know if we had any jewelry, valuables or if we owned other items of value.  We immediately started sending them payments while trying to negotiate payment plans. I sent them numerous payments for months, writing letters to negotiate an amount.  They always responded that it wasn’t enough money, yet they cashed the checks.  The other plaintiffs that settled were allowed to have $50 deducted from each of their paychecks until it was paid.  We were not allowed to make $50 payments.

Debt collectors are not allowed to do this, but the City of Grand Rapids was!!

The Judge then allowed them to garnish us, even though we were paying.  He signed the order!!  They cleaned out my checking account three days before Christmas.  The money in my account included my pay and my daughter Rachael’s Social Security Disability.  Social Security Disability is exempt from garnishment by law.  I had to borrow money to keep a couple checks from bouncing and I couldn’t buy Christmas presents for my kids.  We fought it in court ourselves and got most of the money back but it took months.  Unbeknownst to Pat they also put a Lien on her house.  She later had to fight to get this removed.

By this time, we were not receiving any pay from the city, they had blocked our unemployment which we had to fight for, we were working part-time jobs for less pay and they were trying to starve us out…