Letters from Jerry Cooper regarding the Okeechobee investigation report and portions of the report
Here are 20 attachments I took from a 135 page investigation that was done by the Okeechobee Sheriff"s Dept. "I have waited for this for 4 years now" If the FDLE had done this investigation like I requested but was told they did not see any reason
to do so,we would have never seen what the past employees had to say about the abuse!!!!! "As you know not one staff member admitted to any crimes what so ever during the FDLE investigation in Marianna. Tidwell stated in his deposition gentile "SPANKINGS"which was only 1 of many lies he told. You will see that here in these reports of still living employees the words "BEATINGS AND WHIPPINGS BLOODY AND HORRIBLE"
You will read that the people of Okeechobee who were hired there, complained about the staff of Marianna bringing their type of practices and malice on kids to their town!!! Please note that deaths did occur and are very suspicious to say the least! As I told you before,when I met with the State Attorney Ashley Albright on March 21st.2016 when he stated in front of me,and White House Boy James De Nykke and Okeechobee Boy George Sawley that 14 year old Sam Williams death was a 2nd. degree MURDER.
Please note that all the names of past survivors are referred as initials in this report.
You will read that DJJ did appear at the Okeechobee school with a task force, Lois Salton and a Steve Smith showed up there
when they learned that a investigation was ongoing in Marianna looking for records. Her statement of not removing records or other documents as stated to the Sheriff"s Dept.is to me not a truthful statement in any fashion!!! WHERE ARE THE MEDICAL RECORDS?? WHERE ARE THE DISCIPLINE RECORDS?? The only reason ledger books were left is because they only show arrival and discharge dates. THE SAME THING HAPPENED IN MARIANNA INVESTIGATION MISSING RECORDS!!!!!!!!
"AS OUR ATTORNEYS" I am asking you to approach the Legislators before next month when their session starts with these statements of still living ex-employees and explain to them that it is their duty as elected officials to do the right thing for the living survivors of the Marianna and Okeechobee "SCHOOLS OF HELL!!!" This info. should be the final straw!!! I will be sending all of you the full report on disc this week.
Jerry Cooper Pres."Official White House Boys" FSB 1961
Below is an update I received from the legal team today! Please read the attachment. I was on the phone with legal team last Fri. for nearly an hour. I learned a lot about the approach to try and settle some kind of closure for all of you "Real Soon." I have asked them to take some measures with what I am sending them today concerning the investigation of Okeechobee and interviews by some men who are still living and gave some real damaging information in their interviews about employees who came there in the late 50"s and 60"s and you will not believe what was going on at this time period!!!! These people were interviewed by Capt. John Rhoden and his Lieutenant and you will see that much of these interviews are real damaging. This the first time we now have some actual proof that what was done to us did happen as witnessed by the staff, and they are still alive!!!!! Not one Marianna staff member ever admitted beatings that they called "SPANKINGS." Well, now the past staff of Okeechobee have admitted to much brutality, BEATINGS, and horrific treatment.
If this is not presented to the Legislators by the legal team, they are missing a golden opportunity of what really went on in Marianna and Okeechobee as well. This report is enough to hang the hangman and everyone else who was involved in every way. I am now glad that the FDLE refused to do an investigation on Okeechobee, and I had to work with the Sheriffs Dept. We would have never got this kind of information from the FDLE what so ever. The staff from Marianna had many battles with the people who were hired in Okeechobee and raised hell over what the Marianna Staff were doing to you boys in Okeechobee and many of them quit in a very short time because of the policies Marianna Staff had brought to their town.
To me, these interviews that were conducted with past employees should seal the case against the State of Florida once
and for all.
Please read below for the update from the legal team and see the 20 attachments (of staff interviews) taken from a 135 page investigation.
Respectfully Jerry Cooper, Pres.
"Official White House Boys" FSB 1961
P.S. If this information is not enough to make the Legislators make a wise decision of what to do, then we have failed to convince them to do the right thing. "God Speed to All Of You"
Letter from Legal Team:
I am upset as well, but take comfort knowing that closure - one way or another - will come soon. It wouldn't hurt to again spread the word to clients that we're doing everything in our power to bring about a resolution this legislative session, but again we face an uphill battle.
Thanks for your concern!
Investigation uncovers deaths of boys at Okeechobee Florida School for Boys
WPBF 25 NEWS
Several died in 1960s
Updated: 6:16 PM EDT Apr 10, 2015
Florida School for Boys
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. —
Several students at the Florida School for Boys in Okeechobee died in the 1960s, some under questionable circumstances, a WPBF 25 News investigation has revealed.
Watch the story
As researchers exhume dozens of remains at the school's sister campus in Marianna, the spotlight has turned toward the Okeechobee campus. The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office plans to search the site with cadaver dogs, as WPBF 25 News first reported in February.
In October 1960, the body of 13-year-old Cherry Black Jr. was found in the school's sewage digester tank. The school's superintendent claimed that the boy had climbed into the tank in an attempt to hide from staff and accidentally drowned in the sewage.
According to Black's death certificate, obtained by WPBF 25 News, the coroner ruled it an accidental drowning and no autopsy was performed.
Former student Marvin Mike has never believed the school's account of what happened to Black, and he believes it was a cover-up.
"I think they killed him and (threw) him in there," Mike said. "Why would you hide in there?"
In September 1965, Patrick "Timmy" Gabriel was shot dead during an alleged escape attempt. The superintendent told the local newspaper that Gabriel had attacked him "unprovoked" before the boy escaped, and that he was considered dangerous.
The Okeechobee sheriff at the time said that a woman and her daughter had returned to their home, eight miles north of Okeechobee, to find Gabriel standing in their living room wielding a hunting knife. According to the sheriff, the woman grabbed her .38 Derringer and shot Gabriel dead.
Decades later, Gabriel's brother went online seeking justice, claiming that Timmy's death was covered up. In an undated post, Gabriel said his brother had been shot squarely between the eyes and that his family noticed scars and swelling when they received Timmy's body for burial.
WPBF 25 News tried to reach out to Gabriel's brother, but discovered that he died in 2011.
Former students have said they believe that boys were buried behind the school's old dairy barn, but a probe by the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office has found that only one boy who escaped in 1960 is unaccounted for, according to an office spokesperson.
Sonny and Betty Williamson lived next door to the school and remember terrified runaways hiding in their yard.
"They'd beg not to be taken back, that they'd be beaten," Betty Williamsons aid. "But to us a beating was maybe a hard spanking with a switch."
Former students say they may have witnessed beating deaths
Updated: 7:50 AM EDT Apr 14, 2015
Former students say they may have witnessed beating deaths
WPBF 25 News at 5:00 PM
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. —
Two former students from the Florida School for Boys in Okeechobee said they may have witnessed separate beating deaths at the school.
Joseph Johnson, who was sent to the school in 1959, remembers a boy being brought into the school’s adjustment unit, a small room with a cot, on which boys would lay face down. According to a number of students, staff members used a leather strap with a strip of metal inside called a strop to beat students.
“They beat him for a long time, seemed like forever,” Johnson said. “(The boy) didn’t come walking out. They carried him out, they opened the back of the station wagon, and they put him in.”
Johnson said the station wagon drove behind the school’s dairy barn, and when it returned, the boy was not inside.
Years later, Gary Rice claims he may have also witnessed a beating death while he was a student from 1966-67. At the time, the school was segregated, and he remembers a black boy being brought into the adjustment unit.
“This young fella was just screaming out of his mind with pain,” Rice said.
Rice claims he heard more than 100 whacks with the strop, and it sounded like the boy lost consciousness.
“The last 20 hits, he didn’t make a sound,” Rice said. “He never made another sound after that, and I never saw him again.”
The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office has said that only one boy is unaccounted for from 1960, according to their investigation.
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