The first article, based on emails from the London-based, worldwide headquarters of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, which uses the initials "OSJ," definitively established that he was not a member of the "Order of St. John of Jerusalem (OSJ)," contrary to Sheriff Morgan's declaration on his official biography.
That article drew the attention of a poster on this blog, "Anonymous," who pointed out that Sheriff Morgan's "knighthood" had been written about in a June 17, 2012, Pensacola News Journal article. However, the real data was behind a Pay Wall. I bought the article for $3.95. The article revealed that his "knighthood" had been purchased for $1,000 from a legitimate charity called the "The Sovereign Order of the Orthodox Knights Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem."
The second article exposed how Sheriff Morgan had lied and perpetrated his fraud on the Florida Sheriff's Association biographical page.
It was quite simple and demonstrated that the fraud was willful and deliberate. He had removed seven words from the official name of the organization that sold him his "knighthood."
Specifically, he removed these seven words: "The Sovereign...of the Orthodox Knights Hospitaller" to get "Order...of St. John of Jerusalem."
Removing all words that could identify the organization as a Russian charity run by a bunch of historical has-beens who think that Tsarist Russia was anything other than an authoritarian, dreary, agrarian society populated by nobles notable for their avarice and stupidity is an act of fraud.
Both articles, which I also posted on the Escambia Citizens Watch Facebook page, drew the ire of Sheriff Morgan's designated hatchet man, Deputy Chief Eric Haines.
Deputy Haines, tried to pass himself as a knowledgeable "fact checker" of mine. Here is his quote: "I could provide facts like this for most of your other articles but I'm not about to be your fact checker. I'm only providing this to show this group that you are not a reliable source of information and that your 'calls' may not be the truth." The Deputy Chief's "this" meant Sheriff Morgan's certificate of "knighthood" from the Russian charity which I will discuss later below.
Now, three points need to be made.
The first point is that if Deputy Haines had actually read my articles on the blog, he would have discovered that there is a lot of documentation and links to subject matter experts or the actual documents in question. And when I have written that the arrest reports written by deputies are acts of creative writing, I have demonstrated how the reports are wrong, and that in some cases the deputies either lied in their reports or wrote reports that are nonsensical.
The second point is that I have a doctorate in Sociology from Stanford University, which means I and my colleagues all took courses on the scientific method, epistemology, statistics, and, quantitative and qualitative methods. There is no social science "truth," Deputy Chief. There is the probability that a hypothesis is supported or denied by the empirical evidence.
Even in a court of law, that you may have visited a few times in your career, juries do not establish the "truth." They judge the guilt or innocence of a defendant according to different standards of evidence--beyond a reasonable doubt or the preponderance of evidence, or some other such standard. Only ecclesiastical courts are known to claim to find the "truth," though their standards, historically, have not been very high.
And, I was a senior civilian intelligence analyst for the Department of Army serving in Washington, D.C. and in Europe. I wrote intelligence estimates and assessments. I participated in the writing process of two National Intelligence Estimates. And, the Intelligence Community does not write about the "truth." We write in terms of probability and our confidence in the evidence, what the Central Intelligence Agency called "Words of Estimative Probability." We are never so certain as to say we have written the "truth."
There are only two types of people I know of who peddle the "truth": political ideologues and dogmatic religious leaders. If one applies to you, take your pick.
The third point is the unintended consequence of Sheriff Morgan providing you his certificate from this Russian charity that sells "knighthoods" to raise money. You posted the certificate on the Escambia Citizens Watch Facebook page:
And, what is so interesting about this certificate, Deputy Haines, my self-declared "fact checker" who thinks he knows the "truth"?
Rob Johnson, the journalist who interviewed Sheriff Morgan for the Pensacola News Journal, wrote: "Morgan said he was knighted in 2006 in New York City by Count Nicholas Bobrinskoy."
Sheriff Morgan may have been "knighted" in New York City in 2006--meaning he went through some faux "sword dubbing" ceremony signifying nothing, but he bought his "knighthood" sometime in 2004.
His certificate identifying "Thelbert David Morgan of Oppeln" was dated November 14, 2004, indicating that he felt the need to purchase his "knighthood" during his unsuccessful campaign to unseat the incumbent Escambia County Sheriff. I find it curious that Sheriff Morgan could have told the Pensacola News Journal in June 2012 that he bought his certificate through the mail in 2004, but instead wanted to add the glamour of a Russian noble has-been knighting him in the Big Apple.
Deputy Haines made a big deal of the fact that at the very top of the certificate this Russian charity uses the initials "OSJ."
Deputy Haines thought he had me in a "gotcha" moment as he commented on the Escambia Citizens Watch Facebook page on June 4, 2015, at 0530 hours: "Does the order refer to itself as OSJ or did you not bother to research that before you made your 'call'?"
Two points are worth noting.
One, the fact that "The Sovereign Orthodox Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem" uses the initials "OSJ" suggests that they, too, have to appropriate the initials of the London-based Order of St. John in order to give themselves the appearance of gravitas, rather than simply being a charity with a comical schtick.
And, the second point is more telling of Deputy Haines's inability to even comprehend what I wrote. But, he very much impressed the folks on the Escambia Citizens Watch who thanked him profusely for pointing out this alleged error.
The accusation of lying and fraud did not rest on Sheriff Morgan using the initials "OSJ." For Deputy Haines to reach this conclusion is to demonstrate that he cannot comprehend simple English, or, that he too has to engage in deception in order to convince Sheriff Morgan's supporters.
The accusation of lying on his official campaign biography, that he had posted on the Florida Sheriff's Association page for Escambia County, was that Sheriff Morgan (or his agent) had deliberately and willfully removed seven words from the legal title of the organization from which he bought his "knighthood." This deliberate and willful removal of those seven words constituted fraud.
As to this accusation, Sheriff Morgan's designated hatchet man, Deputy Chief Haines, has absolutely nothing to say. After all, how do you explain the missing seven words? What was Sheriff Morgan's thought process and motivation to remove those seven words:
"[The Sovereign Orthodox] Order of [the Knights Hospitaller of] St. John of Jerusalem"?
Removing those seven words is indicative a man whose motivation is to deceive; to lie; to manipulate reality so that others misperceive; and, to give the reader of his biography a false impression. That is almost certainly not the mindset of a man intending to write a factually correct statement.
That was the accusation I made in the second article. And that is the accusation that Deputy Chief Haines has no response to. You can put the initials "OSJ" is the trash bin where they belong, along with his trinket hanging around his neck.
For if Sheriff Morgan believes that deliberately and willfully removing seven words from the legal name of an organization selling him a "knighthood" constitutes a factually correct statement, is it any wonder that Sheriff Morgan can believe that Mr. Roy Middleton--a 60-year old Black man who at around 0300 hours was getting cigarettes out the car he owned when he was shot at 17 times by two deputy sheriffs because, in Sheriff Morgan's own words, Mr. Middleton "'made a lunging motion'" and that he "'had a metallic object in his hand'" that "turned out to be a flashlight attached to Middleton’s key chain," according to New York Daily News and CNN articles.
One week after using Mr. Middleton for target practice, six deputies climbed through an open window of a residence in Warrington owned by a white couple, Cristina Moses and her fiance Travis Nicholas, at 2230 hours. The Sheriff's Office alleged in a press release, that earlier in the evening there had been somebody in the neighborhood threatening people with a gun and a witness said the alleged perpetrator was someone called "Travis," according to the Pensacola News Journal article reported by the Channel 10 News in Tampa Bay-Sarasota. They handcuffed the couple, putting boots on their backs and arms while in the hallway and, according to the couple, went into the bedroom and used their two dogs, a 13-month old blue pit bull and a 3-year old bulldog, for target practice. The blue pit bull had to be put down by a vet. The couple denied that one or two of the dogs had bitten a deputy and the press release made no mention of a dog bite.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, the State Attorney's Office declined to press criminal charges against the two deputies who shot the dogs. Sheriff Morgan showed his "'disapproval'" of the matter by issuing "letters of reprimand," according to the PNJ. According to the PNJ, "The letters of reprimand said that they had no probable cause or exigent circumstance to justify them entering the home. They also stated that Lee and Brissett’s 'lack of knowledge of the Florida Legal Guidelines caused harm to another person’s property (the home owner’s dogs) and exposed yourself and the agency to civil liability.'"
So, Sheriff Morgan's deputies can use Mr. Roy Middleton as target practice, and Sheriff Morgan defends that. Sheriff Morgan's deputies can illegally enter home, terrorize a couple woken up from their sleep, use their two dogs for target practice, and get a "letter of reprimand."
Oh, and how did Sheriff Morgan publicly and pointedly defend his deputies and the Sheriff's Office? Well, he claimed that public criticism, including from the Pensacola News Journal, was equivalent to swallowing "'turds'" and he compared his inability to defend his Office to "'allowing a deputy to handcuff you and beat you because you can’t defend yourself.'"
Slate's law correspondent Dahlia Lithwick commented, "This is of course not far from what his officers allegedly did to the actual victims in these incidents, and comparing what the media is doing to Sheriff Morgan, to what law enforcement officers did to their unarmed victims is so fatuous, it makes you want to weep. He seems to have no notion of the distinction between police violence and media criticism."
Ms. Lithwick's comment is a polite way of saying that Sheriff Morgan's grasp of reality is tenuous at times. But, his behavior in defending the indefensible is consistent with his own behavior of deliberately lying on his resume and having his Deputy Chief defend his fraud on Facebook. It is all a pattern of behavior that starts with Sheriff Morgan.
But, Deputy Chief Haines believes that it is I who have created the distrust between the Sheriff's Office under Sheriff Morgan and the Black community. Here is Deputy Chief Haines, "He [meaning me], along with several others, are doing your best to create decisiveness between the sheriff and the community to try and get Doug Baldwin elected."
Deputy Chief Haines would have his blind-faith followers on the Escambia Citizens Watch Facebook page and others in Escambia County believe that Sheriff Morgan's very public, white supremacist scolding of the Black community because they had the temerity to call themselves "African-Americans" plays no small part in this distrust. Or, the abuse that the Black community perceives plays no part. Or, that refusing to see a coalition of Black civil rights organizations plays no part.
If Sheriff Morgan really believes that removing those seven words constitutes a factually correct statement, then the ethical lapses others have observed (and noted above) in his Sheriff's Office are understandable. The only standard that Sheriff Morgan has for determining the "truth" is what facts put Sheriff Morgan and his deputies in the best possible light, the "truth" be damned.
But, since Sheriff Morgan wanted Deputy Chief Haines to defend Sheriff Morgan's honorific title, from now on I will honor Sheriff Morgan with this title derived exactly from his "knighthood" certificate which states: "we confer upon him the rank and title of "Knight of Grace."
In future articles, at least once, I will refer to you as, "Sir David, Knight of Grace."
You bought a pompous, pretentious title and had your Deputy Chief go on Facebook to defend it and attack me, well, you got it.