Mean Streak

Free Mean Streak by Carolyn Wheat

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Authors: Carolyn Wheat
on drugs,” my old friend replied. He ran a hand through a thinning thatch of kinky black hair. “He testifies in a lot of cases, and a lot of us think he perjures himself on a regular basis to get convictions. Some of us even go so far as to wonder which side of the drug war he’s on.”
    â€œYou mean you think Eddie’s a bent cop,” I confirmed. Deke nodded. “But can you prove it?”
    â€œHell, Cass, if I could prove it, I’d have won my last three trials. He put away three guys on drug deals I’d be willing to swear he took a cut from.”
    â€œYou’re saying he’s a drug dealer?” Disbelief edged my voice; this was too good to be true. And Deke himself admitted it was sheer speculation, nothing I could take to a jury. Yet.
    â€œEverybody in Brooklyn knows he is,” Deke replied. This was hyperbole; what he meant was, everybody at Legal Aid was convinced they were losing cases because Eddie was a liar. “His partners are no prizes, either,” he went on.
    I fished a notebook out of my tote bag and took down names: Dwight Straub and Stan Krieger. Then I went back to the task at hand.
    â€œYou know as well as I do,” I reminded Deke, “that what ‘everybody in Brooklyn knows’ is not admissible in evidence. What I need are solid facts. What I need are witnesses who’ll come to court and tell the jury what Eddie Fitz is really all about. Can you help me with that?”
    Deke laughed. It was a derisive laugh that held a tinge of self-disgust. “Sure, Cassie, for you, anything. The only problem is that all the witnesses I can get you are doing time. If you don’t mind a little thing like that, I can give you six, seven names of people who’ll roll over on Eddie Fitz.”
    â€œAre they all junkies?” I asked, my tone reflecting my disappointment. Deke was right; his former clients were unlikely to convince a jury to discount the testimony of the Hero Cop.
    He nodded. “Junkies are usually the people who tend to buy drugs,” he said. “Of course, they might have kicked in prison,” he went on. His face brightened. “They might have found Jesus or Allah and turned over a new leaf.”
    â€œThat’ll help a lot,” I mumbled. The trouble with Deke was that he was quite possibly serious in his assertion that getting religion in jail would turn a junkie felon into a credible witness against a member of New York’s Finest. This level of denial was one reason I felt I could no longer practice law for the Legal Aid Society.
    â€œThere’s a guy called TJ,” Deke said. “A black dude, lives in Eddie’s precinct. Word on the street is that they’re very tight, that TJ is Eddie’s front man.” He lifted his wineglass to his lips, then put it back down on the scarred table. “If you could get TJ on the stand, you might have a chance of convincing a jury that Eddie’s more crook than cop.”
    â€œWhy?” I countered. “Why should the word of a drug dealer carry more weight than that of a user?”
    Deke’s answering smile took ten years off his age. He sat back in his chair with the annoying self-satisfied look that had always pushed my buttons, and replied, “Because this particular drug dealer happens to be a registered narcotics informant.”
    â€œAnd I suppose Eddie was the cop who registered him?” I demanded. “God, what balls!” I went on, lost in admiration. “A cop who goes into business with a drug dealer covers his partner by registering him as an informant. That way if a cop who’s not on the take busts the dealer, the bad cop can just step in and say, ‘let him go, he’s my snitch.’ Perfect.”
    â€œNot exactly,” Deke replied. “Eddie’s partner, Stan Krieger, actually did the registering. But it comes to the same thing: TJ has credibility, and it was given to him by the

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