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Fired Vick Investigator Still Talking


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MORE FROM FIRED VICK INVESTIGATOR

Posted by Mike Florio on April 30, 2008, 9:02 a.m.

Former Surry County deputy sheriff Bill Brinkman continues to talk about his experiences working on the Michael Vick investigation.

The question is whether anyone will listen.

For now, Brinkman has drawn interest only locally. After a published report revealed Brinkman s belief that he was fired due to his decision to push the Vick matter over the apparent objections of prosecutor Gerald Poindexter, Brinkman shared more details with Patrick Terpstra of WVEC-TV.

Brinkman told Terpstra that neither Poindexter nor Sheriff Harold Brown wanted the matter to be pursued. I brought light to Surry County, and they don t care for that, Brinkman said. They don t want outside intrusions.

After Poindexter refused to permit a search warrant to be executed on the property, Brinkman lobbied for federal involvement. He told federal agents, I think we are going to see the case go away.

The handling of the case was an issue in the 2007 campaigns of both Poindexter and Brown, who both won re-election in November.

While I was on site for three days, Mr. Poindexter and the sheriff came on site and saw the physical evidence in place, but yet, during the election process they re saying they never saw nothing, that they never got nothing. Well, I m here to say they saw it in place, said Brinkman. They saw the blood spatters, the training apparatuses. They saw the areas of the dogs being kept in.

Though most people believe that the local judge holds the bulk of the power in the criminal justice system, the judge can only deal with the things that come before the court. The prosecutor has the real power, since the prosecutor has broad discretion to decide who will be prosecuted. And who won t.

We re more convinced than ever that Poindexter never would have pushed the issue if the feds hadn t gotten involved. And the feds might not have gotten involved if Brinkman hadn t pushed the issue.

Now, Brinkman is out of a job. And no one outside of the Surry County area seems to care.

Hopefully, someone eventually will. Hopefully, Poindexter s behavior will be properly scrutinized.

Hopefully, in the end, another prosecutor will make a more meaningful effort to obtain an indictment against Vick for the most heinous of actions to which he s already admitted taking an active role in the killing of dogs deemed not good enough to die fighting.

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DEPUTY SAYS HE WAS FIRED DUE TO VICK CASE

Posted by Mike Florio on April 29, 2008, 8:53 a.m.

A year after the discovery of a dog yard on the Virginia property of Mike Vick sparked an investigation that culminated in Vick s incarceration, a Surry County deputy sheriff claims that his termination was the result of his involvement in the case.

Bill Brinkman, who worked for the sheriff s department for nine years, was fired in December 2007, a month after Sheriff Harold Brown was re-elected. Brinkman says that he wasn t given a reason for the decision, being told only that Brown wanted to go in a different direction.

Brown claims that the decision wasn t a firing. (Um, what the heck was it then?) Brown also admits that the Vick case had something to do with the non-firing firing.

Brinkman claims that Brown told him only a week into the investigation that prosecutor Gerald Poindexter wanted Brinkman to be fired. Brinkman eventually worked with federal agents who took over the investigation because Brinkman was uncomfortable with the manner in which Poindexter was handling the investigation.

Brinkman also claims that Poindexter often brought up a racial angle when discussing the case. Every time you met with him, it was a very unsettling, uncomfortable, degrading conversation, Brinkman said. Everything s wrapped around race.

Poindexter claims he didn t make race an issue in the case, and that it was his critics who made the matter a racial one.

To the contrary, however, Poindexter was the one who played the race card when the feds took over the investigation in June 2007. Said Poindexter at the time: There s a larger thing here, and it has nothing to do with any breach of protocol. There s something awful going on here. I don t know if it s racial. I don t know what it is.

What is foreign to me is the federal government getting into a dogfighting case. I know it s been done, but what s driving this? Is it this boy s celebrity? Would they have done this if it wasn t Michael Vick? Apparently these people want it. They want it, and I don t believe they want it because of the serious criminal consequences involved. . . . They want it because Michael Vick may be involved.

Poindexter also claims that he didn t have a role in instigating Brinkman s termination. That is not true, Poindexter said. Does that even begin to sound plausible?

Well, yes it does. Thanks for asking.

In any county, the prosecutor is the chief law enforcement official. Though the sheriff doesn t report to the prosecutor, the two work together very closely. If there s a deputy whom the prosecutor thinks is undermining the manner in which things should get done, it s extremely plausible that the prosecutor will suggest to the sheriff that it might be wise to go in a different direction.

This development makes us even more suspicious (opinion, not fact) as to whether Poindexter might be tanking the state-court prosecution against Vick. By inexplicably failing to get indictments returned on charges that Vick was involved in killing dogs even after Vick admitted to doing so in connection with his federal guilty plea Poindexter is pushing dog-fighting charges only, which in our assessment likely will be dismissed due to a Virginia law that prevents multiple prosecutions for the same activities.

Vick has been prosecuted for conspiracy to engage in interstate gambling and interstate dog fighting. He hasn t been prosecuted for killing dogs. By getting indictments in state court based only on dog fighting, Poindexter has set the table for the state charges to be dismissed.

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SURRY CO -- For the first time, the man who uncovered Michael Vick s dog-fighting operation is talking about the case and why he is now unemployed.

Surry County investigator Bill Brinkman says he knew the night he went to search Vick s property, he would end up losing his job of nearly 10 years.

When I executed that search warrant. That very night, I knew I was done, he said.

Brinkman says from day one, he was at odds with the county s lead prosecutor, Gerald Poindexter and Sheriff Harold Brown. He believes neither man wanted Vick prosecuted.

I brought light to Surry County, and they don t care for that, said Brinkman. They don t want outside intrusions.

Weeks ticked by with no sign Poindexter intended to indict Vick, or anyone in the case. We caught up with Poindexter a month after the initial raid. When we asked if he was any closer to indictments, he answered, Could be.

While I was on site for three days, Mr. Poindexter and the sheriff came on site and saw the physical evidence in place, but yet, during the election process they re saying they never saw nothing, that they never got nothing. Well, I m here to say they saw it in place, said Brinkman. They saw the blood spatters, the training apparatuses. They saw the areas of the dogs being kept in.

Video: Vick investigator expected to be fired

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Poindexter called off a search of Vick s property to look for decaying dogs, saying the warrant was not legally sound. Brinkman disagreed, and became convinced the case was slipping away.

He tells us he called federal investigators telling them, I think we are going to see the case go away.

Days later, the feds took over, searching the property, unearthing dead dogs; one with 17 broken bones from being slammed into the ground.

The U.S. Attorney s Office indicted Vick, who three months later pleaded guilty to a conspiracy dog-fighting charge.

While the U.S. Attorney s Office gave Brinkman an award for his work on the Vick case, Surry County gave him the boot. Two days after Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison, the sheriff fired Brinkman.

Also Online

WVEC.com Michael Vick coverage

13News Report: Vick dogs in rehab

Raw Interview: Brinkman on Vick

Brinkman describes his nine years before the Vick case as perfect. Now, he s selling his house, wanting nothing more to do with Surry County after Michael Vick.

When we asked if he would do it again, he replied, Knowing what I know now, I d have to do it again. That s me.

Poindexter did eventually indict Vick and three others on state animal cruelty and dog-fighting charges.

Poindexter tells us he hopes to share his side of the story in person, on camera, after Vick s state trial.

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If you truely want this vick issue to go away. Stop bring it up! On the one hand you complain about people aways bring up vick. On on the other hand you yourself won't LET IT GO. why??? The guy is in a federal prison and the team has turned the page by drafting the type of QB with the traits you like. Why do you still continue to make this an issue??? Give it a rest Please........:ermm:

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me4falcons (4/30/2008)
If you truely want this vick issue to go away. Stop bring it up! On the one hand you complain about people aways bring up vick. On on the other hand you yourself won't LET IT GO. why??? The guy is in a federal prison and the team has turned the page by drafting the type of QB with the traits you like. Why do you still continue to make this an issue??? Give it a rest Please........:ermm:

This is actually a legit news story unlike the other 500 threads created within the last month about Vick.

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aerosmith67 (4/30/2008)
me4falcons (4/30/2008)
If you truely want this vick issue to go away. Stop bring it up! On the one hand you complain about people aways bring up vick. On on the other hand you yourself won't LET IT GO. why??? The guy is in a federal prison and the team has turned the page by drafting the type of QB with the traits you like. Why do you still continue to make this an issue??? Give it a rest Please........:ermm:

This is actually a legit news story unlike the other 500 threads created within the last month about Vick.

Are you serious????????

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me4falcons (4/30/2008)
aerosmith67 (4/30/2008)
me4falcons (4/30/2008)
If you truely want this vick issue to go away. Stop bring it up! On the one hand you complain about people aways bring up vick. On on the other hand you yourself won't LET IT GO. why??? The guy is in a federal prison and the team has turned the page by drafting the type of QB with the traits you like. Why do you still continue to make this an issue??? Give it a rest Please........:ermm:

This is actually a legit news story unlike the other 500 threads created within the last month about Vick.

Are you serious????????

Yes, actual news organizations are running with this story and it is potentially a big story considering the state charges could be dropped by default as opposed to the dozens of threads created here by people upset over the Matt Ryan pick. Grow a brain this is a legitimate story.

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aerosmith67 (4/30/2008)
classic city falcon (4/30/2008)
He should have been fired if he didn't do what his boss told him to do. I don't like Vick either but Deputy Doofy undermined his boss going to hte feds. Sheriffs deputies are generally a bunch of overzealous tards.

Or did he do the right thing?

i guess you could look at it like that. if your agenda permits it.

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phalconphil (4/30/2008)
aerosmith67 (4/30/2008)
classic city falcon (4/30/2008)
He should have been fired if he didn't do what his boss told him to do. I don't like Vick either but Deputy Doofy undermined his boss going to hte feds. Sheriffs deputies are generally a bunch of overzealous tards.

Or did he do the right thing?

i guess you could look at it like that. if your agenda permits it.

What agenda? The Feds saw a case that wasn't functioning so they stepped in. If illegal activity is going on within the community your responsible for protecting and your boss tries to ignore it because HE has an agenda based either on race or celebrity why wouldn't you start to ask questions.

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SURRY CO For the first time, the lead investigator for Surry County talks about the Michael Vick raid.

It's been a year since authorities converged on the property on Moonlight Road and discovered dozens of malnourished pit bulls used for dogfighting.

Bill Brinkman recalls having trouble sleeping the night before the raid.

He knew he was about to go after one of Hampton Roads' most favored sons.

It all began with a tip about drugs and the arrest of Vick s cousin.

That, combined with tips from informants, led Brinkman to Vick's 15-acre property, where he says he did find evidence of drugs.

I found remnants but nothing to a position where I could charge anybody. I did find remnants, evidence.

Outside the house, dozens of dogs were barking and starving, many had cuts and scars.

Brinkman had just discovered Bad Newz Kennels.

Video: Vick investigator breaks his silence

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I knew we had dogs and probably had dogs that were in need of attention. Did I know exactly that we'd find dogfighting? No.

Days later, he learned Michael Vick was a key player, according to an informant.

Early on, Vick said he'd never been to the house in Surry.

Once he (the informant) started speaking and gave justification and he showed me evidence of dogfighting, that's when I knew we were in the thick of things, Brinkman said.

Brinkman says the informant, who talked to Vick weekly, was secretly helping investigators build their case against the NFL superstar and three others.

What helped clinched the case? A photograph of Michael Vick taken moments before a dogfight. Vick was posing with a fighting dog named Jane and was wearing a T-shirt and headband labeled Bad Newz Kennels.

After seeing the picture, Vick pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Around the same time Vick was sentenced to federal prison, Brinkman was fired from the Surry County Sheriff's Office. He d been on the job 10 years.

It was a legal victory, but for Brinkman, it turned bitter.

Also Online

WVEC.com Michael Vick coverage

13News Report: Vick dogs in rehab

Raw Interview: Brinkman on Vick

I've had injured pit bulls left at my property, the brakes on my vehicles have been tampered with. I'm just not comfortable in Surry County.

On 13News at 11 tonight, Brinkman talks about why he believes the Vick case cost him his job.

And for the first time, he shares why he said he had no choice but to to ask federal investigators to take over the case.

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aerosmith67 (4/30/2008)
phalconphil (4/30/2008)
aerosmith67 (4/30/2008)
classic city falcon (4/30/2008)
He should have been fired if he didn't do what his boss told him to do. I don't like Vick either but Deputy Doofy undermined his boss going to hte feds. Sheriffs deputies are generally a bunch of overzealous tards.

Or did he do the right thing?

i guess you could look at it like that. if your agenda permits it.

What agenda? The Feds saw a case that wasn't functioning so they stepped in. If illegal activity is going on within the community your responsible for protecting and your boss tries to ignore it because HE has an agenda based either on race or celebrity why wouldn't you start to ask questions.

The feds prosecuted federal crimes.The state is pursueing state crimes.

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