Kerry Dougherty Makes Fat Jokes


Since the Ryan Frederick case broke a year ago, Virginian-Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty has thus far proven to be a reliable (if not always accurate) defender of the Chesapeake Police Department.

Frederick is the 28-year-old Chesapeake, Virginia man facing murder charges for killing a police officer during a drug raid (see this wiki for more on Frederick's case).

Today, Dougherty outdoes herself, using her columng to crack fat jokes because Ryan Frederick has gained 60 pounds while isolated in jail for the past year:

What's cooking at the Chesapeake city jail?

Spectators couldn't help but wonder about that last week as they gawked at Ryan Frederick during his capital murder trial.

I mean, how often does an inmate pack on about 60 pounds behind bars?

Comparing photos of the skinny soft-drink delivery guy who was arrested a year ago to the chipmunk-cheeked defendant in the too-small suit was a lot like looking at before-and-after photos from a Jenny Craig ad.

Ha! A dead cop, crappy police work, prosecutorial misconduct, and a likely innocent man putting on weight because he's been confined to a small jail cell for more than a year while waiting to see if he'll be spending the rest of his life in prison–that's comedy gold!

There is apparently a point behind Dougherty's fat jokes, though it's a ridiculous one.

On Thursday, prosecutors tried to focus attention on Frederick's weight, hinting that the beefy 29-year-old might have kept thin in the past by abusing drugs that cause weight loss. The prosecution posed hypothetical questions to an expert witness about whether cessation of methamphetamines or cocaine might result in rapid weight gain.

You know what else could cause weight gain? Spending 23 hours per day in 9 by 12 foot cell–for more than a year.

Dougherty's next sentence assumes her readers are absolute idiots:

He said his overeating is stress-related, yet conceded that stress on the night of the shooting caused him to vomit several times.

Yes, that's quite the contradiction, Ms. Dougherty. Clearly, Frederick isn't lying about gaining weight. And as we saw and heard in yesterday's videos, he isn't lying about vomiting during his police interrogations on the night of the raid. So I guess Dougherty's implication here is that Frederick is lying about why he gained wait–that he wasn't stressed about spending the rest of life in prison or remorse for ending Shivers' life. Rather, he was just feasting on vending machine food in celebration and satisfaction at his kill. Oh, and he can't help but himself now that his appetite is no longer suppressed by all the cocaine and/or meth he was taking (an accusation for which there is zero evidence, other than the preposterous link to Frederick's weight gain).

I hate to waste words explaining the obvious, but Dougherty apparently requires it: We react differently to different stressors. It's not at all difficult to see how the immediate stress and adrenalin rush that would come with having just having your home raided and realizing you'd just killed a cop might cause one to vomit while, later, the stress and monotony of wasting away in a jail cell for a year while awaiting your fate might cause one to seek comfort in food that tastes good.

I actually hadn't read about this line of questioning from the prosecution in the trial coverage, but it's typically galling:

"You're not exactly wasting away from regret and remorse now, are you?" snapped prosecutor James Willett, who then flashed an image of skinny Frederick in an orange jumpsuit on a screen. With the thin Frederick towering over the chubby one, Willett told Frederick to rise, open his jacket and turn sideways.

It's not enough that they're trying to railroad the guy, they have to embarrass and insult him, too.

I guess if there's an upside to this insanity, it's that if the law-and-order crowd has nothing left but fat jokes, they must be starting to realize just how shabby the state's case against Frederick really is.

Let's hope the jury does, too.