February 2008

Hollywood’s lies

by Diane Dimond on February 22, 2008

Good journalism is a lot like good police work. It takes a lot of digging and talking and research to learn all sides of a story on your way to the truth. Sometimes it turns out both sides in a battle are kind of slimy. Much less often you wrap up your investigation with a clear cut view of good and evil, right and wrong.

This is what brings me to write again about the movie “American Gangster.” I’m sorry, I just can’t let go.

At the end of the film there is a legend card proclaiming that because notorious Harlem based heroin dealer Frank Lucas flipped and cooperated with authorities his testimony, “Led to the convictions of three quarters of New York City’s Drug Enforcement Agency.” That is a lie – a dishonorable lie. Not one officer was ever charged with, let alone convicted, of any crime in connection with the lengthy Lucas investigation. [click to continue…]

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American Gangster update

by Diane Dimond on February 16, 2008

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon has now tossed out the $55 million class action suit filed recently by about 400 DEA agents against NBC-Universal studios. For my full column on their complaints about the movie, “American Gangster” click here.

This means next week NBC-Universal can proceed with release of the DVD version of the film even though the judge took a major slap at the studio for what she called the false information perpetuated in this “based-on-a-true-story” film. [click to continue…]

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The ticking time bomb next door

by Diane Dimond on February 16, 2008

“The deranged walk among us – they always have.”

I wrote that after the inexplicable shooting at the University of Illinois last week in which six innocent people were killed and 23 wounded. No one seemed to see it coming when 27 year old Steve Kazmierczak, a “personable and friendly” award winning student, walked in to a lecture hall and started shooting. Now we learn he had been institutionalized by his parents for violent behavior.

I’ve been thinking. How many Kazmierczaks are out there? [click to continue…]

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The 50 thousand volt solution

by Diane Dimond on February 6, 2008

I participated in a TV program recently in which we pundits were shown disturbing video clips of police officers and court personnel using powerful Taser guns against people who didn’t look as though they deserved a 50 thousand volt jolt for their behavior. We were then asked to comment on what we saw.

There were two videos, in particular, that really disturbed me. One showed a man stopped for a routine traffic violation who didn’t produce his license quickly enough and was Tasered. He fell into the highway, into the path of on-coming traffic. The other video was from a courtroom and showed a middle aged man acting as his own attorney, clearly out of his element. When the judge interrupted his lengthy soliloquy to ask a question the man muttered, “This is bull —t!” And in a blink of an eye a bailiff stepped forward and Tasered him. As he fell like a limp rag doll he struck his head and began to moan and bleed uncontrollably.

I thought to myself, “Misuse of authority – plain and simple.” [click to continue…]

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