I remember everything about Tuesday November 26, 2013. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I met with a representative from LACADA, Lorain County's Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services, in the morning to get a better understanding of the heroin epidemic. A former high school classmate overdosed a few weeks earlier and it surprised me, I didn't understand why. I wanted to see if there was anything that I could do as an elected official, to raise awareness, educate, and help prevent. At lunch I met with a friend to confirm dates for our "self- defense and home invasion prevention program" for the community.
Later that day I walked (I refused all driving privileges from my DUI since many people vilified me for allegedly receiving "special privileges", I also felt I had to make things as challenging as possible to punish myself) to town hall for a rescheduled council meeting at 5:30pm. The council meeting finished and per typical council practice, though very much in violation of Ohio Sunshine Law when village business was discussed, I left and council stayed behind. Also staying behind in common practice was former mayor Shari Sczepanski (she attended all the council meetings as any "Bitter Betty" with a lot to hide would). I walked across the street to the library to rent movies. When I left, I noticed that council's vehicles and Shari's vehicle were still at town hall. I thought to myself, "Wow, they are still at it" and proceeded to walk north to grab some take out and visit with my sister at work. I posted on facebook, "Today was a good day". When my sister got off work, we headed towards Wal-Mart to grab a turkey and other food for our thanksgiving feast. We giggled and goofed around while shopping. On the way home from WalMart, I received a text message from a friend stating that I was on Fox8 News, being charged with drug charges. Supposedly a pill was found in the back seat of the Deputy's cruiser the night of my DUI, though I wasn't aware of this pill that night and it wasn't brought to my attention, over 50 days earlier.
This news was the biggest sucker punch I had ever received. And I felt it, like the wind was knocked out of me and my heart was ripped out. I was brought to my knees in tears that painfully poured down my face. Feelings of anger, disbelief, disgust, and disappointment overwhelmed me. I was being labeled a drug addict, a heroin addict. The pill was a pill that is taken for overcoming withdrawals from heroin. Jesus, I didn't even take Tylenol and I always tired to fight illness holistically, often declining antibiotics. What. the. fuck. After a night of tears, heartache, and stomach pains I began to look into what the fuck was going on.
After speaking with Fox8 News, I learned that news was given to them via an alleged "Press Release from the Sheriff's Department", after speaking to the Sheriff's Department and receiving correspondence between a police officer and a sheriff deputy (via their government property communication devices) it was brought to my attention that the press release didn't exist. Fox8 apparently runs stories without verification or investigation as does The Chronicle Telegram.
After reviewing the police report via a public record's request, I noticed that at the end of the police report from the DUI it stated, "Upon miss Flanigan requesting her cell phone, I (Deputy Perkins) went back to the police cruiser and found a pill, a fleece pink headband, and a plastic bag." Um, OK....here's my issues with this..... 1. That night of the DUI, when I was told that I could go home, I asked where my cell phone was because I didn't have phone numbers memorized. The deputy went back to his car, told the holding cell supervisors that my phone was not in the cruiser BUT NEVER ASKED ME IF THE PINK HEADBAND, PILL, AND PLASTIC BAG WERE MINE......I wasn't aware of these findings. If I was being accused of having drugs, why didn't anyone ask me? If I was charged with the pill why the fuck didn't the pink headband come home with me? The video CLEARLY shows me wearing a BLUE headband and my BLUE COTTON headband came home with me in my "take home bag". 2. I WAS SEARCHED before being cuffed and put in the cruiser, I WAS SEARCHED at the JAIL, they took my headband and my belly button ring and bracelet (all of which I got back). 3. Why the fuck wasn't I charged then? 4. Why was I charged with drug charges over 50 days AFTER the incident????
Furthermore, after seeing council's cars post council meeting that night I became curious as to what exactly was being discussed. I called Councilmen Dukles and Divenceno- both revealed village business was being discussed, Divencenzo stated that former Mayor Shari Szcepanksi informed them that I would be getting charged with drug charges and that it would be on the news that evening........HOW THE FUCK DID SHE KNOW this information? How does the whole viewing area learn of this information before I do?
Ironically, the Thursday before (November 21, 2013) news FINALLY (because fraud and misspending of tax payer money is not news) broke about councilman Tom Smith's bribes from the village engineer, Poggemeyer. Ironically, this case began in spring of 2012. At this time (spring 2012), I was threatened by councilman Tom Smith for moving forward with this investigation(Ironically he also works at the jail and worked at the jail the night of my DUI). No charges were pressed regarding the threat, the village prosecutor (the one that I was railroaded into appointing, after being told by the Law Director (another appointment that I was railroaded into and through which the village charter was violated ) that I "had no choice but to appoint Mishak " Ironically the bribery case sat on the county prosecutor's desk for over a year and a half, the BCI investigator was perplexed as to why it was taking so long and why he couldn't get a response from the prosecutor's office.
I've been told a variety of things with regards to reasons behind Pill-Gate from discrediting me to revenge. Regardless of the reasons, the events that led up to and resulted in me being violated via "Pill- Gate" are incredibly disgusting, disturbing, and disappointing. Pill- Gate is to this date the worst violation I have received. Even 3 years later, as I write this I tremble, tears roll down my cheeks, I feel sick to my stomach, and my heart hurts.
Justice...When we are violated in any way especially in an unlawful, unethical, immoral manner we immediately want and expect justice. Any violation, be it rape, assault, character defamation, betrayal, abandonment, abuse, and the like, creates anger, (rage) hurt, disappointment, emotional pain, all of the overwhelming feelings that come with being violated. Most desirably we desperately feel the need for justice. Everyone wants to see good prevail over evil and to see an...d have justice for all, as it should be. Realistically it doesn't always happen.... I've been thinking of justice and the lack thereof a lot, quite obsessively. I've been observing others ( those I admire after learning of their stories and watching them not only move on but become better people as well as heroes in my eyes ) who haven't yet received true justice but still perservere and illustrate bonafide resiliency. I finally had an "ah ha" moment after these observations of true role models . I've realized and learned a lot about my own experiences and violations. I continue to wait for justice on some and with others I know justice will never happen. Sometimes justice in a court of law doesn't happen immediately if at all. I have realized, WE CAN FIND AND CREATE OUR OWN JUSTICE. We can believe in, trust, wait for karma and have faith that everything will work out. In addition, we can create our own personal justice through telling our story in hopes to bring awareness to the injustice, to have our voice heard, and to inspire and educate others. First and foremost, the BEST JUSTICE we can get, that we have complete control over and can happen as soon as WE decide and allow it to happen, is overcoming the violation and growing personally from it, learning from it, and ultimately becoming stronger and better in spite of the violation and the lack of justice. When there is no "real" or tangible justice immediately or never, we can either choose to suffocate ourselves with regret, pity, hate, spite, and bitterness or we can rise up and choose how we react moving forward and we can choose how we will move forward. We can achieve personal growth and become better and stronger than we were before the violation and we can choose to help, inspire, and educate others during our "personal justice process" or afterwards. We can create our own justice from within through our body, mind, and soul. We can empower ourselves and we can empower others.