Canton Cover-Up Part 221: Norfolk DA’s Office Refused To Charge Violent Felon With Witness Intimidation After Punching Witness, Trying To Alter Testimony


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Two months ago we published a story about an incident outside of Dedham District Court in which a defendant named James Coughlin was assaulted by a family member of the victim outside of the courthouse after taking a plea deal that resulted in no jail time. Coughlin was a state trooper who along with his wife hosted a graduation party for his son in which underage kids were provided alcohol. A Dedham high school classmate named Alonzo Polk drowned at the party and the Coughlins were charged with procuring alcohol for a minor and reckless endangerment of a child.

A motion filed by the Coughlins’ Attorney Brian Kelly on March 23 alleges that Polk’s brother Roshawn Drane committed felony witness intimidation against the Coughlins and a witness in the case, who was assaulted after refusing to change his testimony.  According to the motion Drane showed up at the witnesses’ home in Dedham, banged on the door, accused him of lying, threatened him, and told him that they “needed to stick together on this.” Six months later they showed up at the witnesses’ house again and demanded the witness “change his story as to how Alonzo Polk died so it supports the story his family is telling.” When the witness refused he was assaulted. The motion further alleges that Drane and other protesters went to the Coughlins house at 4 AM, blared loud music with gunshots in it, demanded they come outside, kicked their cars, and warned them not to drive their cars. These incidents were reported to the Norfolk County DA’s Office, and despite the fact that it appears to be open and shut, textbook witness intimidation, no charges were filed against Drane.

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This is the same District Attorney’s Office that is now filing witness intimidation charges against me, despite the fact that:

  • I never assaulted any witnesses
  • I never threatened to assault any witnesses
  • I never attempted to alter any witnesses’ testimony
  • I never told any witnesses that we “need to stick together”
  • I never showed up at 4 AM and blared music with gunshots
  • I never kicked or damaged anyone’s property
  • I never warned witnesses not to drive their cars
  • I am not a family member of Karen Read, and had no prior relationship with her or anyone in her family
  • I am on video repeatedly saying that I am not a threat, and only wish to ask questions for a story I was working on
  • I do not have a long criminal history of violence like Roshawn Drane

This is selective and malicious prosecution. I am being charged while Roshawn Drane wasn’t charged, because:

  • I have been critical of the Norfolk County DA’s Office and the State Police
  • My reporting is too effective and have come dangerously close to exposing the truth, which puts their office and state troopers under their employ in legal jeopardy
  • I operate a website with millions of monthly viewers, and social media accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers, which gives me much greater influence than Roshawn Drane
  • The people I am protesting are a special class of citizen who are allotted more protection than the witness Drane assaulted and the Coughlin family
  • The Norfolk County DA’s Office knew that a stay away order would prevent me from effectively doing my job
  • The Norfolk County DA’s Office views my words as dangerous because they believe it threatens to curb their own criminal behavior, whereas Drane’s behavior did not threaten anyone’s livelihood at the Norfolk County DA’s Office
  • I am unable to accuse them of racism, which they fear more than anything

Effectively, the State Police and NCDAO have become a private Pinkerton force for the McAlberts and Proctors, who are able to weaponize their services in order to silence people who are critical of their criminal behavior.

It gets even more corrupt though.

Roshawn Drane was arrested by Dedham Police after being identified by two judges, Mrs. Coughlin, and court officers.

But even after the incident Drane wasn’t charged with witness intimidation. Instead he was only charged with A&B with a dangerous weapon.

However, the case was moved from Dedham District Court to Plymouth District Court due to a “conflict.”

It does not say what that conflict was. However, it is noteworthy that the Plymouth County DA’s Office did something the Norfolk County DA’s Office was unwilling to do – charged Roshawn Drane with witness intimidation.

I reached out to NCDAO spokesman David Traub for comment this afternoon but have not heard back.

Maybe if I was a woman going through a contentious divorce he would ask me out for a date like he did Boston Magazine reporter Gretchen Voss.

The Norfolk County DA’s Office has intentionally chosen not to prosecute well publicized witness intimidation that led directly to the assault of a witness and the defendant, on the courthouse steps, in an ongoing criminal matter. They did this despite knowing that the perpetrator had a history of violence. Roshawn Drane has done jail time and has multiple convictions for violent crimes, including gun and assault charges. He was most recently charged by the Norfolk County DA’s Office last year with A&B with a dangerous weapon.


They knew Roshawn Drane was a felon with a propensity for violence who had assaulted witnesses, tried to change their testimony, and presented an obvious danger to the Coughlins. They knew that outside of court tensions would be high. Yet they not only failed to charge Drane with witness intimidation, they didn’t have any sort of appropriate security for this high tension case outside of court.

Contrast that with how Turtleboy is treated by the Norfolk County DA’s Office. When I show up to court there are officers called in from multiple jurisdictions, and dozens of uniformed state troopers. There is crime scene on the stairs, preventing us from expressing our First Amendment rights. They took these precautions despite not having a single documented threat or history of violence from any protesters, and no criminal record on my part.

There are clearly two systems of justice – one for the McAlberts, and one for the rest of us.


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