Last week a story broke about now resigned/retired Perry Township Police Chief Tim Escola being caught on camera kissing subordinate officer Janine England during a return trip from Cincinnati transporting a prisoner back to Perry Township.
Early on, The Canton Repository published a story suggesting that Escola/England may have been setup.
A highly reliable source of the SCPR contacted yours truly with information to the effect that the talk was rampant among local government/law enforcement types that if there was a set up, Perry trustee Anna Capaldi was believed to be somehow involved.
Another very good source contacted the SCPR and refined the information from that source's perspective that "yes, he believed based on information he was getting that Calpaldi was a factor in outing the video episode but not in a set up."
What was believed to have happened, according to this source, was that under a regular monthly review by Perry Township police officers (on June 20th) of cruiser videos, the "kissing scene" between Escola and England was discovered.
Moreover, the source continued, the discovering officer(s) believed that Capaldi had enough of a personal interest in the subjects/subject matter of the video to be counted on to bring the matter to an accounting.
When the SCPR first broke with this story on July 3, yours truly received a call from Trustee Capaldi.
One of the points made by Capaldi, which the SCPR now picks up on, is her protestation that she always tells the truth. The clear implication of her self-serving attestation was that all the SCPR needed to do was call her and she would have told all, but that in this case there was nothing to tell.
Yours truly has been doing this blog long enough to know that the implied Capaldi message is utter nonsense from her or any other public official/figure under scrutiny.
The SCPR has been working with one of the sources for this story since March, 2008 which was the beginning of the Stark County Political Report. To date, the source has not been wrong on the essence of the information passed on. Moreover, the second source has been essentially correct on inside information he has passed on.
The SCPR is not generally in the business of calling Capaldi or any other public official or public figure a liar. And yours truly is not about to start with Capaldi.
Amazingly, Trustee Capaldi put the matter of her own veracity in question as virtually the first thing out of her mouth on contacting the SCPR. Yours truly's life experience tells him that when anyone (not just Capaldi) initiates imperative, categorical statements (i.e. I do not lie), then one should think about doubling down and look for provable instances to debunk the self-serving absolutism.
Most human beings understand (regrettably) that all people lie here and there over the course of a life. The SCPR certainly understands this, but tries not to engage is a "gotcha-esque" blogging.
It is never a question of whether or not a person lies sometime in his/her life. The proper question is whether or not a person is generally credible.
What Ms. Capaldi needs to learn is that people do have different perspectives on the same conversations heard and conduct observed. Accordingly, one person's lie is another person's "it's not what you think it is."
As soon as Trustee Capaldi called, yours truly updated the original statement with the core of her response and, indeed, offered her access to the SCPR to make a response "in her own words." But no response.
Clearly, whether or not Trustee Capaldi had a role in the Escola/England episode is a matter of opinion.
In America, citizens are entitled to take information they have, to ruminate on it and form an opinion and to express that opinion.
Public officials/figures are not fond of the public's right, but the exercise of that right is a cornerstone of accountability in our democracy.
The general public, then, can decide whom to believe.