Polygraph Dragnet Fails to Solve Jacksonville Fire Department Noose Mystery

Bridget Murphy reports for the Jacksonville, Florida Times-Union in “Lie-detector tests don’t help find truth.” Excerpt:

After 28 lie-detector tests, 50 interviews and tests using DNA, fingerprints and palm prints, investigators don’t know who put two hangman’s nooses on the gear of two black Jacksonville firefighters.

But a Sheriff’s Office report released Tuesday on the Feb. 17 incident revealed more about what authorities do know, even if they said it’s not enough to arrest anyone.

Fire Engineer Rufus Smith, who found a noose on his bunker coat and another on a coat belonging to Fire Engineer Roderick Laws, failed a polygraph test and wouldn’t take another.

Laws wouldn’t take a polygraph test at all. And Fire Lt. Matt Cipriani, a white supervisor who was working on the shift before the nooses appeared, failed two polygraph tests.

All three of those Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department employees, along with their colleagues, denied any involvement in the incident during police interviews.

It should come as no surprise that a polygraph dragnet failed to identify the culprit in this investigation. Such mass-polygraphings have an abysmally poor track record. Recent examples include a 2003 polygraph jihad at the Irondale, Alabama city hall and a 2006 polygraph inquisition at the Greensboro, North Carolina city council.

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