Don’t know if you’ve heard but there was a riot in the Platte County Jail. Not sure how they did it but everybody over there was successful in keeping that information out of the public and away from the media for the past seven weeks or so. Well, until this week. When–to no one’s surprise, frankly–it’s The Landmark who breaks the story.
Don’t know if you’ve heard but everybody in the whole cell block was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock. Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone. Little Joe was blowin’ on the slide trombone. The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang. The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang.
Don’t know if you’ve heard but one of the fascinating things about working in journalism is that sometimes a big story comes out of something that on the surface seems routine.
Every so often Landmark staffer Valerie Verkamp reviews new criminal cases filed in Platte County. She’ll then send me a list of cases we may want to get more info on. This week she sent me the name of a guy who was charged with damaging jail property and suggested that I request the probable cause statement for this case. I wasn’t expecting much. Jailhouse property gets damaged from time to time, doesn’t seem to be that big of a problem nor particularly a story that the general public will find all that interesting.
But imagine my surprise while reading the probable cause statement for this guy’s case when the words “25 inmates participated in a declared riot” appeared.
That led to phone calls and more information gathering and the result is a front page story about a five hour riot–followed by about three more hours of decontamination/clean-up–that most of the general public will be jumping to read. The riot ended when SWAT teams fired pepper balls into the dayroom area.
So uncovering a riot the likes of which has never previously occurred in this Platte County Jail came out of a simple request for a probable cause statement in what we thought was a ho-hum “damage to jail property” case. Had The Landmark not asked for that particular probable cause statement it’s very possible this riot would never have come to public light.
It’s another reminder of the importance of local journalism.
Don’t know if you’ve heard but the riot occurred on Dec. 20. Bad timing by the inmates. Had it occurred on Jan. 6 they might have been able to label it “legitimate discourse.”
Pepper Balls would make a great band name.
Don’t know if you’ve heard but Pepper Balls was Chris Kamler’s nickname in high school. Don’t ask him why.
Don’t know if you’ve heard but Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has recently interviewed for even more head coaching jobs in the NFL but can’t get hired to a top spot. The Kansas City Star and a lot of Chiefs fans on social media seem 1. Surprised by this. 2. Outraged by this.
Meanwhile, you can paint me 1. Not surprised by this. 2. Not the least bit outraged by this.
Guys, do a deep Google search on Eric Bieniemy from the late 1980s into the early 2000s. He has a bit of a troubling rap sheet, to put it mildly. Pay particular attention to his multiple run-ins with law enforcement and at least one extremely negative alleged interaction with a female. Maybe Google the phrase ‘Bieniemy 1993 harassment and choking of female parking attendant’ and see what pops up. It’ll take some searching and it’s not all packaged for you in one easy-to-read document, but the information is out there and some of the allegations against Bieniemy are ugly. What it adds up to is a public relations nightmare waiting to happen if he ever gets an NFL head coaching position.
I think therein lies your answer as to why Bieniemy isn’t getting a head coaching job. Read those accounts and then tell me whether you would hire someone with that background to be the face of your multi-billion dollar entity.
The NFL can be a forgiving place, at times to a fault, but that forgiveness is most often offered to top notch players whose athletic prowess helps win games on the field, not to head coaches who are expected to be leaders of men and be a respected public face for the franchise. There’s a difference.
Yes, the NFL may have a race issue. I’m not here to say it doesn’t. But as much as some folks in the media–and a decent-sized section of the fan base–want us to believe otherwise, I’m not at all convinced the color of his skin has anything to do with why Bienemy hasn’t been hired to be an NFL head coach.
There are legitimate reasons why the guy has interviewed 15-20 times for an NFL head coaching job and has never been chosen for one. For Bieniemy, the background check and the follow-up questions that go along with that background check are very likely problematic. That’s a portion of what’s being hinted at when you hear NFL insiders report that Bieniemy “doesn’t interview well.”
Don’t know if you’ve heard but some Chiefs fans on social media believe Bieniemy is actually the Chiefs head coach-in-waiting. That he’s just hanging around in KC, taking part in job interviews for funsies, I guess, but that his real focus is on just sitting tight until Andy Reid retires and then Bieniemy will be named the new head coach.
LOL. Eric Bieniemy isn’t getting the Chiefs head coaching position whenever Andy Reid decides to leave. Clip and save this column.
(Don’t know if you’ve heard but you can reach Ivan Foley by email to email@example.com)