How I Became The Victim Of Two Hate Crimes In Missouri And Still Have No Home
The Incident At IHOP
In late July of this year, I became the victim of a violent hate crime in the drug and crime-infested city of St. Joseph, Missouri. I'd walked up to the local IHOP and found a man viciously assaulting a woman in the parking lot.
I then entered the restaurant, asked the staff to call the police, and requested that a group of alleged men in the restaurant come outside and help me protect the woman until the police arrived.
Instead of helping me help the woman, the three shoeless hillbillies attacked me and threatened me until one of them tried to rob me of my wallet and phone. He then called me a "faggot" and punched me in the face. As a member of the LGBT community, this was a hate crime.
I'd only noticed after the altercation began that one of the three men who assaulted me was wearing a Trump T-shirt. If I had noticed the shirt prior to asking them for help, I wouldn't have bothered, but only 25 feet away, the man had the woman in a chokehold and I had no other way to help her.
Police Response Equals No Response
The police were called but never showed up to the incident. Instead, I was forced to chase down a police officer, in my own car. I was met with a police officer named Babb; it soon became glaringly clear that he had no interest in doing his job.
Officer Babb, a self-proclaimed good Christian, who refused to take a report, told me, "No crime was committed," and then spent the next hour laughing and carousing with the men who had assaulted me.
The officer also made no effort to investigate the assault on the woman.
The IHOP manager, who admitted she had a prior relationship with the men who assaulted me, lied to the police, saying she witnessed that I had not been assaulted, according to Babb. When I presented evidence that she claimed to have been standing in a place where she could not have witnessed the assault, he refused to document this fact.
Instead, I was told that if I continued to press the matter that I would be arrested for "making false statements to the police," even though most of the incident was documented on my cell phone.
After leaving me standing outside the restaurant in the rain for over an hour, the officer escorted the men to their vehicles so I "wouldn't hurt them anymore." They walked out grinning and laughing at me, with the police behind them.
Babb told me, "You don't even have a mark on your face where he hit you." I said, "he hit me in the chin and I have a beard!"
The officer then said, "Those gentlemen said you called them pussies, and they were offended by that." I responded, "I don't recall saying that, but if I was Donald Trump and I said it, they'd elect me President!"
It wasn't until later that I realized that the man who claimed to be offended by that word, literally had it printed on his shirt, which read: Trump, Grab 'Em By The Pussy.
After arguing with Babb for over an hour, demanding that the police allow me to file reports, press charges and investigate the assault of the woman, I gave up, left the scene, and called the St. Joseph Police to speak to a supervisor. Again, I begged that I be allowed to file reports and press charges.
Since the men who had tried to rob and assaulted me had threatened to "come to find me the next day," I needed the reports so I could file a temporary protection order. The officer on the phone, who sounded like he had been awoken from a deep sleep, refused to assist me.
City Council and News-Press NOW to the Rescue?
That night, I wrote to the city council asking for assistance. I received a response the next morning stating that the St. Joseph Police Office of Professional Standards had become involved and was conducting an investigation into the altercation. An officer named Dan Sweiger contacted me, shortly thereafter.
Two nights later, Kristen Carver, from News-Press NOW, a Bradley owned media outlet, called me on the phone at about 9 pm. She said she was going to publish an article about the attack. She interviewed me, then told me she would get back to me. I told her that if the media didn't write about the incident, it could cause me to become the victim of a second crime, completely predicting the series of events that was to follow.
Less than eleven hours later, I received an e-mail from Kristen telling me that they had killed the story, with no investigation. In response to being told my story was being buried, I told Ms. Carver, "That's fine, I'll just start my own media outlet and tell the story, myself." That was my only communication with Carver after she'd buried my story.
If I had looked into Carver before speaking with her, I would have realized that she's not actually a journalist, but she's nothing more than reputation management for the local police, publishing pro-police articles, acting more as a publicist than a reporter.
Carver's one-sided reporting is representative of all of the media in St. Joseph, a group of people who are serving the local old boy network, rather than the citizens.
Most of the media in St. Joseph is owned by The Bradleys, a conservative family that owns about a dozen media outlets around the country. The Bradleys have come under fire repeatedly, by freedom of speech activists, for their open support of Donald Trump and lack of fair and unbiased coverage of all points of view. News-Press NOW knew exactly what they were doing by burying the story and also knew how it could negatively affect my life.
Even though I had made no threat, whatsoever, to go near anyone associated with News-Press NOW, it was later revealed that The Bradleys had published a memo instructing their employees to call the police if I was seen on their property, which was probably the result of the fact that I am known for putting corrupt people on film, as I did in my 2013 documentary, Poison in the Grapes, about corruption at the Region 5 EPA that later led to the Flint Water Crisis.
At no time did I go near the News-Press NOW building or anyone associated with them. Nor had I ever suggested I this. I wouldn't want to tarnish their perfect record of never having an actual journalist set foot in their building, after all.
Daily Independent Journal, The FBI, and Prosecutor's Office
Less than a week later, Daily Independent Journal was born with a mission of conducting investigative journalism in St. Joseph.
I was warned by numerous citizens that I would experience aggressive retaliation for standing up to the corrupt political machine. In spite of these warnings, I proceeded without fear, as there was great interest in a media outlet that conducts investigative journalism since none of the other media outlets in town were doing so.
Two days after we opened, the FBI showed up unannounced at our business location, an FBI Special Agent, named C. Andrew Thomure, who claimed he was responding to a complaint I filed asking the FBI to investigate corruption in the St Joseph Police and refer the matter to the Department of Justice. I'd filed the complaint, but the ambush nature of the visit immediately revealed to me that they weren't there to help me or the people of St. Joseph.
There was another agent with him, who I shall not name, because he was actually pretty cool, the kind of guy you might go jet skiing with and then knock down some cold ones at the lake, but seemed to be there just for security purposes because Thomure has the physical presence of an aging, dilapidated scarecrow.
The violent crime rate, in St. Joseph, has risen 56% in the last five years. Living there, to me, was like living in the heart of a giant meth lab, with guns going off all around me, idiots walking around Walmart carrying assault rifles in the children's toy section, to the point that I talked to no one, kept my head down, and felt more like I was in poorly maintained county jail than living in a city.
It was clear to me that the police were partially responsible for the rise in violent crimes because they were refusing to investigate incidences of violence. Previous interviews with police, before the incident, had revealed that St. Joseph police officers blamed the prosecutor's office for the rise in crime rates, claiming that Dwight Scroggins, the now-former prosecutor, was not prosecuting crimes.
When I contacted Scroggins for a statement, he said, "My track record speaks for itself." He also agreed with my suggestion that police lacked proper investigative skills and that dismissals were often the result of botched investigations.
It became apparent about 10 minutes into the visit from Special Agent Thomure that they weren't there to investigate my complaint, but were there to investigate my attempts to expose the police for corruption, which I gathered from his comment, "We first became aware of you when you tried to [expose corruption in the local police]."
The agent also revealed that after I told News-Press NOW that I was starting a new media outlet that they'd called the FBI and reported me. The St Joseph FBI readily complied, in an obvious attempt to protect the police and the Bradley media empire.
The FBI is not allowed to investigate citizens who write about corruption in the police, as this is a violation of federal law, a statement which is printed directly on the Department of Justice website.
Thomure doesn't care about conducting proper investigations, as he stated to me. Rather than call me advance to let me prepare for his visit, he'd bum-rushed me. Later, when I questioned him about his raid of my business and why he didn't allow me to prepare for his visit, he shouted, "I do whatever I want!
Agent Thomure asked me, "What is it you hope to gain from generating an investigation?" I said, "I hope to create better police services and a better place to live for the citizens of St. Joseph." He told me, "That's not going to happen. There will be no investigation."
A News-Press NOW employee later stated that the FBI was investigating me for threatening their media outlet, but there is no federal cyberstalking or harassment statute, so even if this were true, the local police would be responsible for investigating such a claim, not the FBI.
Without proper jurisdiction, the FBI visit was nothing more than a completely illegal attempt to threaten me into silence, especially since I never threatened the Bradleys, other than starting Daily Independent Journal and doing the job they don't have the guts to do.
If one checks the record, I actually offered to take Brian Bradley out to lunch and talk about the matter. Apparently, I was being investigated for three felony counts of offering to buy an asshole Ruth's Chris.
The next day, I learned that the FBI was harassing my neighbors, as well, showing up at their place of business asking questions about me. This was when I started to feel violated. I'd only just moved into the business space a month earlier. A visit to my neighbors, from the FBI, was crippling to my reputation and Thomure knew this.
The Political Attacks of Brian Myers and Peter John Ross As The Cops Block A Lawsuit
Over the next weeks, I continued to write about corruption in the local police, government, and media, until one day a local councilman named Brian Myers showed up on our Facebook page, running his mouth claiming I was a con man, scammer, and fraud.
Myers then published this false statement to his thousands of supporters Daily Independent Journal is "fake news," orchestrating the beginnings of an aggressive smear campaign, one that continues to this day.
The Councilman also told the community that I was lying about owning my business, a wagyu beef distribution company, one which is registered with the Missouri Secretary of State as an active LLC. The councilman had bold-face-lied to his supporters.
Myers claimed I had not "pulled permits" but failed to note that my business was actually 100 feet outside of city limits, so I was not required to get permits.
After Myers published this statement, our fan page became inundated with harassment and threats, with upward of 500 comments and e-mails a day from meth-monkies repeating Myers' statement to death threats. Angry citizens of St. Joseph invaded our page, threatened me, posted false information, repeating Myers like a bunch of mindless sheep, all the while not being aware that the councilman was lying through his jagged teeth.
One citizen came forward supporting me, calling Myers a "typical beard-necked cunt." I can't condone that kind of language but I can sure laugh at it.
Eventually, Myers own mother came to our fan page hurling her spittle-spewing abuse at me, revealing that in the case of Brian Myers, the rotten apple didn't fall too far from the equally rotting tree.
During this time, I made many attempts to report the threats to the St Joseph Police, but they refused to take reports. In a phone call, Dan Sweiger, the Office of Professional Standards officer, said, "The St. Joseph Police doesn't get involved in things on the internet."
The real reason they didn't take reports was to block me from having evidence to file a civil suit against the city for Myers and others associated with the city that were attacking me and defaming me. Sweiger, it turned out, is a bigger criminal than the criminals, themselves.
The police knew that for me to file suit that I would need police reports and documentation. Without police reports, they could do whatever they wanted to me and I'd have very little legal recourse.
Garner Quillon, Tyson Bottorff, More Hate Crimes, and Thomure's Corruption
I then started getting threatening e-mails that had my address in them, descriptions of my vehicles, and messages that said, "We are going to chase your crippled ass out of town," from two men directly connected to Myers, named Tyson Bottorff and Garner Quillon. The latter worked for The Bradley's media outlet, at the time. Once again, I demanded that the St. Joseph Police become involved, but this time they told me, "The matter has been referring to the FBI."
I am legally disabled for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from childhood abuse. My father was a racist police officer who abused our family, often while wearing his uniform, who then used his position as "Police Officer of the Year" to prevent himself from being arrested for his crimes against myself and my mother. Being treated like shit by more police felt great, let me tell you.
There is a hate crime law that states that it is a felony hate crime to threaten a disabled person out of their home, called Federal Right to Housing. I called Special Agent Thomure, demanding that he investigate this hate crime and that he look at the evidence, to which he flatly refused.
I'd repeatedly challenged Thomure to do his job, but he told me the order to not investigate came from higher up in the FBI, which I highly doubt.
One cursory check of C. Andrew Thomure's Twitter account and you find him also pumping out Trump-filled rhetoric, which is astounding if you really think about it. To him, hate crimes don't exist and are the product of liberal snowflakes who have the utter nerve to demand their federal rights are upheld.
At the close of the phone call, I said, "Are you going to look at my evidence?" He said, "Nope," to which I responded, "How can you say there was no hate crime committed if you aren't willing to look at the evidence?" He couldn't answer me.
A recent study showed that hate crimes are up 18% in the last two years and Thomure is a perfect example of why that is happening.
Eventually, the harassment became so aggressive that I feared for my safety. The media was burying my story, the police wouldn't take reports, and the FBI was refusing to investigate not one, but two hate crimes committed against me. I realized that anyone could commit any crime against me and I would have no support from the police.
I fled my home and ended up living in a tent for the next six weeks, on land I had just bought in Colorado, desperately begging the police and FBI to do something to protect me.
I rather enjoy camping so at least as all of this was happening I was able to get some kind of peace and sense of safety. I was still surrounded by gunfire, but this time it was elk hunters and not two crackheads chasing each other down the road shooting at each other like they were in some kind of 1950s gangster movie, as it was in St. Joseph.
While I have more than one property, my other rental properties were not available at the time all of this happened, so I ended up living at the top of a mountain and traveling around Colorado for the next month and a half, waiting for a resolution from the St. Joseph Police. Also, in all fairness, it's a nice tent.
Not long after I left my home, someone trespassing on my private property, in St. Joe, took photos of my cars and posted them on Facebook, as an act of menacing, reminding me that they were, in fact, stalking me and committing a hate crime. When these photos were forwarded to police and the FBI, they made no effort to respond or investigate, once again.
During this period of time, I repeatedly begged Dan Sweiger for copies of police reports and assistance with filing a restraining order against the men who had attacked me at the IHOP, but he refused to give the reports to me. I asked him to ask the attackers to stay away from me, but he would not do this either.
Police Response, Flight from St Joseph, and Myers' Mistake
Over forty days after the initial attack, I got a message from the St. Joseph Police saying that they had investigated the initial crime, found evidence that it had happened, but the local prosecutor's office declined to press charges.
When I questioned Dwight Scroggins about not prosecuting the crime, he said, "I never saw a case come across my desk with your name on it," to which Agent Thomure later stated that Scroggins had lied to me. I can only imagine how many innocent people have gone to prison over Scroggins' lies.
At this moment, I realized that what was happening; both the police and prosecutor's office that aren't serving the people of St. Joseph and that both of them were pointing fingers at each other for the aforementioned absurd rise in violent crimes. The local media's lack of coverage of both of these groups of utter crooks has led to the culture that allowed all of this to happen to me, in the first place, and the 56% rise in violent crimes.
If you ask the local Trump supporters why the crime rates have risen, who do they blame? The Mexicans, of course. Turns out if we build a wall, all the white trash meth heads in St. Joseph will stop shooting at each other and building meth labs, which makes sense to anyone who barely has a sixth-grade education.
In October, exhausted, I finally gave up, moved out of my condo, feeling so threatened that I hired someone to move my stuff for me, so I could protect myself from becoming a victim of violence, again. I moved everything I owned into storage, where it sits to this very day.
I was not only forced to move, but I also had to shut down my custom wagyu beef business as well, costing me hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. Adding insult to injury, after I moved my business, people connected Myers filed false complaints with the USDA, claiming I had "conducted an illegal move of meat."
They'd actually reported the very company that Myers had previously told the community that it didn't exist, and were now trying to cause my company to become the subject of a federal investigation, or what amounts to nothing less than a direct admission that Myers had lied to his unsuspecting supporters.
The person who made the report, Peter John Ross, a wannabe filmmaker from Columbus, Ohio, that has been harassing me for years, was also one of the people that had caused all of this to happen to me and assisted with spreading false information.
Garner's Admission of Guilt and the AIDS Song
Three months after the attack at the restaurant, interviews were conducted with the former News-Press NOW employee who was employed with them at the time of the incident, Garner Quillon. Quillon has been harassing me on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms for the last several months, posting fabricated information, continuing to attack and defame me to protect all of the people I'm writing about in this article.
In these interviews there was a direct admission of guilt, saying, "If you want to know how to deal with this guy, just do what we did, chase him out of your town," confirming that hate crimes were committed. Quillon also stated in the interview that he was a personal friend of Brian Myers.
Quillon's wife, Raye Lynn, said, "This is our town and we say you're not welcome," speaking on behalf of the entire community. Even though this media outlet received great support from the community, this small group of people made a choice on behalf of the people of St. Joseph that investigative journalism isn't welcome in St. Joseph and the people who wanted their stories told had their lives marginalized by this group of psychotic beard-necks.
Quillon's band released a song with the lyrics, "Reporterman Berdyck infected me with AIDS," and vowed to donate all proceeds for the song to Myers re-election campaign.
The band then spread the rumor that I have AIDS, all over the city. Local media, city council, the police, and FBI all sat back and watched this happen as none of them attempted to intervene.
I later learned that St. Joseph has the highest AIDS patient count in the entire State of Missouri, per capita, so I'm sure those victims love that an elected official uses their illness as a political attack. But if you're expecting any form of appropriateness from anyone in St. Joseph, prepare to be disappointed, because these people are human trash bags who take pride in their own awfulness.
When The City Attacked To Protect The Rich And Devour The Poor
The city administration responded by releasing an entire document cache of mostly faked e-mails, allegedly from me, directly to the people who chased me out of my home, not only showing complicity in the second hate crime but demonstrating how hard they are willing to work to make sure that my story doesn't get out.
It's pretty clear from the near herculean effort that was waged to get rid of me that the local old boys were terrified of what a rogue investigative journalism outlet could do to their financial bottom lines and how it could change the lives of the citizens of St. Joseph for the better.
For if the lives of the people of St. Joseph, Missouri were improved, the local status quo would lose control of the city and control of their private empire. Control and repression of the people is key to the local status quo's dominance. Causing the citizens to live in fear and suffering is a classic mechanism of control used by governments all over the world.
The Rest Remains To Be Seen
In spite of giving the community what they wanted, and leaving, Councilman Brian Myers has continued the public harassment, posting false information about me, all over the internet, with me waking up almost every morning to another public attack.
Multiple harassing Facebook pages are being run, by Quillon, claiming this media outlet is "fake news," all to protect the unbelievable level of corruption I've uncovered and to protect himself from being charged with a felony hate crime.
As of today, I am still living in hotels and cannot rent a place to live because when my lease was broken, the matter was placed on my credit report. The leasing company, Weigand Omega, is now demanding $3000 to remove the black mark, even though I paid my rent for three entire months that I could not live in my home.
When we requested statements from other members of St. Joseph City Council, they told us, "Not my problem. Come to a council meeting if you have something to say."
IHOP has done literally nothing in response to the incident, no apology, no discipline of employees, no investigation, they've just left me for dead even though it was their lack of security at a high crime location that caused all of this in the first place.
I don't know what I am going to do now. I am temporarily housed in a safe place, my entire life is in storage, I am struggling to get my business re-opened as I've lost excessive amounts of money and a year of hard work getting my wagyu beef company off the ground.
Because this happened only a week before my business was to open, all of my credit cards are maxed out, it's damaged my credit score, I have my first black mark in my entire life on my rental history, but none the less, I am still standing, I am still fighting, and I will not back down
After traveling over 600,000 miles to 2,500 cities, I can say - with utmost certainty - that St. Joseph, Missouri is the single most corrupt city I have ever seen in all of my travels, even worse than Flint, Michigan, because while Flint is a haven of nightmarish corruption, at least there they allow the citizens to conduct activism and journalism without fear of retaliation.
I'm going to continue to fight these crooks, and as God as my witness, no one, regardless if they have a beard-neck or not, is going to stop me from telling my story.
Matthew Berdyck is an experimental gonzo filmmaker, journalist, activist, and philanthropist, most notably known for his national environmental campaigns. He's made solicited major cable network TV pilots (Adult Swim), music videos for Grammy Nominees, experimental documentaries, and short films. His writing pieces on the subject of toxic waste have been read by millions of people in The United States. He is the founder of SuperfundResearch.org, an environmental activism and EPA watchdog group. In 2018 he founded Daily Independent Journal, an investigative journalism outlet dedicated to speaking truth to power and exposing the sordid, slimy, underbelly of reality.