02/21 Scientology magazine investigates police
By CHERYL WALDRIP of The Tampa Tribune
Published by The Tampa Tribune Feb. 21, 1997
CLEARWATER - Representatives of the Church of Scientology's magazine Freedom are
examining the personnel records and internal affairs files of the police department's top
They have called at least five black police officers with questions about racial
harmony in the department, police spokesman Wayne Shelor said.
Attorney Andra Dreyfus, who represents several officers in personnel matters with the
department, says she has received numerous telephone calls from the publication's
representatives over the last few weeks.
``They are attempting to unearth dirty laundry,'' Dreyfus said, adding that she will
not talk with them. She says the callers are not honest about who they are until she
``They're not only calling to pester me, they refuse to hang up,'' she said.
She said believes Scientology is attempting to ``ride the coattails'' of people like
``I would never allow myself or my clients to be used in that manner,'' she said.
Scientology spokesman Brian Anderson said the magazine is investigating the treatment
of minority groups by the police department. He said the recent calls and requests for
files are part of a long-term, ongoing investigation by the church.
``We want to see to what extent there is ill feeling toward minority groups,'' Anderson
He said he and Freedom staff from Los Angeles have called Dreyfus, but have never tied
up her telephone lines and have not called excessively.
As for digging up ``dirty laundry,'' Anderson said, ``I think sunshine is the best
disinfectant. If the Clearwater Police Department is mistreating minorities, then let's
Shelor acknowledges the department isn't perfect, but says it has tried to recruit
minorities for years with little success.
In a Feb. 14 memo, the city's Human Resources director, Mike Laursen, said the
magazine's interest in the police department's files ``may relate to a situation that has
been in the local news media concerning conclusions of the Medical Examiner.''
Anderson said there is no connection.
Medical Examiner Joan Wood, Clearwater police, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's
office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the death of Lisa
McPherson, a Scientologist whose last days were spent at Scientology's Clearwater
An autopsy by Wood's office showed McPherson, 36, was bruised and severely dehydrated
when she died of a blood clot in December 1995. Scientology has sued Wood to obtain her
records related to the McPherson case. McPherson's aunt has filed a wrongful death lawsuit
On Thursday, police said they have located Suzanne Schnuremberger, who is one of the
three former Scientologists they sought to interview in the case. Shelor said she is in
``Investigators have located her, but her attorney will not let them speak to her,''
Shelor said. ``It is my understanding that lawyers ostensibly representing the other two
[witnesses] have contacted my detectives.''
Police declined to identify the lawyers.
Shelor said the Freedom representatives are interested in the personnel and internal
affairs files of Police Chief Sid Klein, Deputy Chief Paul Maser, Detective Sgt. Wayne
Andrews, Sgt. Tom Miller and retired Lt. Ray Emmons. Andrews is the detective
investigating McPherson's death.
``Being familiar with their style of `journalism,' I have every suspicion that their
intentions are less than honorable,'' Shelor said.