Getting Their Stories Straight

Two weeks ago I wrote a column about Chargers linebacker Steve Foley, who was shot near his house by an off-duty Coronado policeman. I finished the piece with, "...this story reeks of lies and omissions. More to come."

More has come. More lies and omissions. Let's catch up.

1. Foley was shot from behind. I have read a dozen stories saying, "Foley was shot three times-- twice in the back of the left leg and once on the outside of the left thigh." What does "outside of the left thigh" mean? Well, it's a sentence deliberately crafted to conceal meaning. What we want to know is the entrance and exit path of the bullet that hit Foley "outside of the left thigh." That will tell us if Aaron Mansker shot Foley from behind three times instead of two. Or was it four?

2. Foley was out of his car, in front of his house, at that point liable for, at most, drunk driving, which is a misdemeanor. What did Foley do that required an off-duty cop, 26 miles out of his jurisdiction, to draw his pistol and fire at least seven rounds (one for the bushes or Foley, three into Foley's car, three into Foley)? Foley did not know that this man, who was wearing civilian clothes and driving an unmarked car, was a cop. Saying you're a cop and proving you're a cop are two different worlds. Foley did know he'd been followed. There was nothing illegal or even strange about Foley getting out of his car and walking toward the man.

The cop's story, that a 25-year-old woman in Foley's car was attempting to run him down while Foley was reaching into his pants, is so "the dog ate my homework" that I won't waste any more space on it.

3. The cop was going to drive away but realized he was in a cul-de-sac and could not leave. Let's see, one cul-de-sac, one cop in a 2000-pound automobile, one cop holding one automatic pistol in his hand, and finally, one unarmed man in the street. Adds up to: the cop was trapped? Exactly how does that work?

By the way, Foley is still in the hospital as I write this. He was admitted September 3. According to PubMed, the mean length of a hospital stay for a heart transplant is 3.1 days using one technique, 8.8 days using another. One wants to know what is causing Foley to be working on his third week at Sharp Memorial. How severe are his wounds?

4. Prosecutors' desire to run tests to see if Foley was using steroids is absurd, is trying to find anything that will discredit the man. Steroids, drunk driving in Louisiana, picking up women in bars, not eating enough fiber, does not explain why Foley was shot and shot again and shot again.

This case will go on for years. Foley has real friends. Chargers players and coaches have visited him. During the Raiders game, San Diego players danced Foley's unique "bull dance" as a show of support. He's been well liked on every team he's played for. Foley will be able to find respectable, admired people who will be happy to give generous testimony on his behalf.

Foley is smart, as witnessed by his silence; always the mark of a pro. Foley has money to mount a defense and an offense. He can put a precise number on what he lost as a result of being shot. He'll start at $1,650,000, the amount he would have earned playing for the Chargers this season. And, if the shooting causes permanent injury, he can put an accurate number on that loss, too. Best of all, Foley can sue government agencies, not wretches like you and me and the cop who are living paycheck to paycheck. Government agencies have the resources to pay millions, and here's the beauty part, will pay if so ordered. For a criminal attorney, this case is the mother lode, the one-in-a-million, what he dreamed of in that quiet, secret place where greed runs free.

I don't want to go into the cop's background now. You've probably read about it; it's sad, bordering on tragic. But, other people will, and number one on that list will be Foley's lawyer. This is not going to be good for the cop, anyone connected to the cop, the district attorney, and the public treasuries of Coronado, San Diego County, and Poway, for openers.

Finally, the reason we're getting these shifting, ridiculous stories out of police and prosecutors is that most of what's happening now is not about Foley's drunk driving, which is why so many of these stories sound out of place and off-key. What's happening now is all about the humongous lawsuit that Foley will file and the positions police departments and district attorneys are taking in anticipation of that. Drunk driving is the least of it.

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