The Blog Squad

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The people of Woodland Heights need a few more answers

There is one small aspect to the Harvey murders that I didn’t really want to get into for fear of seeming overly critical of Richmond police. I do feel that they have done an extraordinary job this past week and am particularly impressed with the leadership and professionalism of Chief Rodney Monroe. However, given the concerns voiced in the Times-Dispatch this morning by Woodland Heights residents, I no longer feel that it would be nitpicking to ask some hard questions about why the police assured neighbors there was no need to worry about random attacks. Todd Ranson, identified in Michael Martz’s story as a Harvey family friend who lives in the area, said that Richmond police assured friends and neighbors that the killers were most likely known to the Harveys and not motivated by robbery. Ranson is quoted as saying: “It was not the neighborhood that was driving that. We were taking our cues from the police.” He said that a detective told him: “You have nothing to worry about. This is not a crime of opportunity. This is a crime of passion.”
We need to hear from the Richmond Police why this communication happened. Was it a detective or officer so desperate to give these people some peace that he reached too far for a conclusion that was not officially drawn? Understandable. But still, we need an answer. Did the police focus their investigation too narrowly at first and assume it was a crime of passion? We need to know that too. There is no doubt that Richmond Police never officially acknowledged a theory or suspect until the two suspects were caught. It may have been even a little frustrating for the rest of us to read a quote from an official saying there were 197,000 suspects, referring to the entire population of Richmond. The police took the right official tack, but may have misstepped on the front porches of Woodland Heights. Was it due to misinformation or miscommunication from high in the ranks or poor judgment or overzealousness of individual officers and detectives? Richmond Police should tidy up what so far seem like the only loose ends dangling from a tight and well-done investigation.


At Thu Jan 12, 11:32:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do need answers as this is clearly not a crime of passion, but a random crime of opportunity that could happen to anyone of us.

At Thu Jan 12, 02:02:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the initial look of the crime, it appeared that it was someone they knew -- no sign of forced entry, no obvious sign of the house robbed, entire family methodically tied up and murdered. So they jumped to a conclusion, which within days defied a "profile" of who would do such a thing. This is the second time an FBI profile has proved totally wrong for a Woodland Heights crime (Southside stranger was supposed to be a white man.

I guess someone who was very familiar with the Harveys would have had to be brought in to see if things like guitars or laptops were missing. They didn't sound like a family who'd have a big TV in the living room, so what was stolen wasn't noticed. Wonder what was actually stolen?

At Fri Jan 13, 01:00:00 PM EST, Blogger Ken Lammers said...

I know a lot of people who work in criminal law and everyone I know looked at the facts as they were presented in the newspaper and thought "message." "Somebody didn't pay a drug debt."

At Wed May 16, 07:36:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Profiling doesn't work well, and when Police Departments use it in this manner, incorrectly, they make assholes of themselves.


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