by Max Brantley
The NLR SWAT team that busted in unannounced on a North Little Rock man and then shot him after he took up, but didn't fire, a gun at what he thought was an unlawful intrusion got vindication for their action yesterday. The man, Tracy Ingle, was convicted in Circuit Court and sentenced to 18 years.
Here's the article David Koon wrote for us on the case. The case drew national attention. There was ample ground to cover. Delayed warrant service and sketchy justification for the warrant. The police informant was apparently unreliable. Little was found in the search by way of drugs to support the drug dealing allegation (no usable amounts, only residue on a scale and some parphernalia), the reason for the case. Ingle, no doubt, is not a poster boy for clean living.
But, guilty he is for picking up a gun when people burst into his house, after first breaking a bedroom window, unannounced in the night. He realized too late they were police armed with a warrant.
An e-mail said to be from an NLR policeman reached David last night:
I thought you might be curious to know that Tracy Ingle was convicted on all counts (by a jury of his peers no less) in Circuit Court today. I'm sure you'll appreciate this news coming from a lowlife police officer like myself. I hope we'll be reading a brand new article from you that actually states the facts soon. Your obvious bias about this case shows that you have no respect for authority or what it stands for. You can continue to blister the police with your keyboard, but know that if you were to need us we would certainly be there for you. Know this David- JUSTICE WAS SERVED TODAY! A piece of crap drug dealer who pointed a gun at the police is going to prison. He will not soil our city for 18 long years. I hope these years are hell on him! Oh, don't worry there will be plenty of other pieces of trash to take up where Tracy left off, giving you plenty of ammo for a future article. David, I don't know you personally, but I'd like to think you're a little more decent than the crappy periodical you write for. Please be a little more diligent in your fact finding next time!
UPDATE: Cue "Born to Lose." Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley told me this morning that a plea bargain had been offered in the case. In return for a guilty plea, Ingle could have received five years' probation. It was offered again before trial Monday. "He was warned it could turn out bad," Jegley said. "He could have been walking the streets a free man." Had he stayed clean, he also had the chance to clear his record of the charges. Perhaps he simply believed he was innocent in the first place. The prosecutor who handled the case said Ingle angrily rejected the deal. He said police and prosecutor together, thought, a probabtion was the only likely way Ingle "could get the help he needed," but he risked the trial.
On the jump, a note to Ingle's supporters from his sister, Tiffney Forrester:
UPDATE II: Also on the jump, an e-mail from a woman who says she's a police officer's wife.
I can honestly tell you all that I don't know how this has happened. Remember no drugs were ever found in the home.
Yesterday, Tracy was found guilty on all counts. The jury, 2 females, one black & one white, 2 40ish white men, and 8 white over 65 yr old men, deliberated for only 45 minutes.
Tracy's past DWI's were presented to the court/jury in determining his sentencing. (I don't know why)
Tracy was sentenced to 20 years & $19,000 in fines.
20 years and no drugs, unbelievable. [Editor's note: according to press accounts, the sentence was 18 years.]
NOTE FROM JILL CHAMNESS
Just a little note about the Tracy Ingle conviction.....
WOW! I have read all the blogs and must say it is disheartening. Well, I guess since this IS a free country, then I will add my 2 cents in this as well. I have read the articles about this case, but I must say I am no expert. However, I do know that Mr. Ingle (I will call him mister even though that is a generous word for this criminal) did have a loaded gun that was operable (even though his very mouthy sister says it was "broken"). There WERE drugs found in the home [traces, but no usable amount, the prosecutor said], even on the scale that his sister states was for "jewelry". A vial of meth was found beside the scale that had traces of cocaine and meth [actually a straw with drug residue was entered in evidence in a vial]. I am sure that it must have been a coinicidence. Convicted Ingle, oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Ingle, did state that the he had been high on meth the morning before on a recording and that he thought when he heard the noise that it was "probably the police" (It has been stated by Ingle supporters that Ingle thought it was robbers). It has even been stated that there was an eye witness that saw EVERYTHING that evening, and even saw Ingle throw down his weapon. Funny, there was only 1 person in that room and that was Ingle. Maybe there were little elves hiding out, just in case the SWAT team came that night. Ridiculous HUH! About as ridiculous as people who don't have all the facts! It is very easy to judge when you don't have all the facts. You must be be thinking, then how can you judge.....well, when you look in the mirror and explain that one to yourself, then complain to me.
This "being" decided to break the law on not just 1 occasion, but a few. Yes, he was in his own home and yes he was sleeping. But guess what, I believe that it doesn't matter where the criminal is when he is BUSTED. The element of surprise is probably what saved these officers' lives. People have the nerve to think that it was the police who were wrong. The police who put their lives at risk EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY to make sure all of you are safe. Are there corrupt police officers? Yes. Are there people corrupt in every career? Yes. Don't use that as a crutch to stand on when defending this being. Just because he was shot does NOT mean he was the victim. Yes, a person does have a right to defend himself.....but it's hard for me to believe that he had NO idea it was the police when there are people yelling "POLICE". The element of surprise, a bitch ain't it! Oh, yeah, he threw down his gun when he saw them......wrong again....it was shot out of his hand by the awesome snipers doing their job. I bet if that gun were aimed at you, you would be extremely grateful that there was someone who would put himself in harm's way to protect you. Yes, they do put themselves in harm's way to protect YOU. And even when people put them down and state that Mr. Ingle should have killed the officers (yes, that has been said...sickening isn't it), they still go out on a daily basis and would take a bullet for YOU to protect YOU from criminals like Mr. Ingle. Yes, I am sure that people are innocent...but using examples like OJ Simpson and Blake...just confirms that guilty people go free too.
Mr. Glover (and I do say Mister respectfully in this case) is allowed to voice his opinion just like all of the rest of us, even if he is a police officer. Don't any of you defend your peers when they are getting attacked. I guess not. I applaud Mr. Glover for his blog, knowing he would probably be slammed by people.
Oh, you are probably thinking, this is just another police officer defending the department and who is being disrespectful. Nope, this is a police officer's wife who knows on a daily basis about worrying if your husband will come home safely or be killed by a criminal like Mr. Ingle. Call me biased, call me a bitch, say anything you want about other incidences. But put yourself in my shoes or in the shoes of a police officer for one day who sees awful things that we can't even begin to imagine or understand, and maybe, just maybe, you can see another's point of view.
FURTHER RESPONSE FROM INGLE'S SISTER T"O DAVID KOON
I am horrified by the comments made by people on the Arkansas Times blog. I am pissed off that someone has used my name, (angelinblue942) to respond to one of these comments. I know people are passionate about what they believe and those most passionate think that they know ALL of the facts. You and I both know there was a witness to what happened that had been threatened by the NLR police department and after speaking with you refused to come forward again. If Tracy was such a scum bag why were they willing to make such an awesome plea deal? Fascinating how I have been made to look like some type of crazy person in all of this. I wish I had the national publicity it takes to get all of the real evidence, proof and details out there for all of these people to see. All I ever wanted was the "truth" the real truth to come out and for people to see the horrible consequences of this so called "drug war" and no-knock drug raids. Instead, the "blue wall" came together once more, to paint a picture of the "truth" as it pertains to protecting them. I will not waste your time in defending line by line comments, allegations and heinous mistruths made by your readers. Someday, somehow I will make sure the "real" truth about what happened to Tracy that fateful night will be made known to everyone. When that day finally comes my heart will soar knowing that my brother will no longer be labeled a "piece of shit, scum bag drug dealer". For those cruel people out there that feel my brother "got what he deserved", God help you if the time ever comes that we all get "what we deserve".