Okinawa police saying little about alleged attack on retired soldier
By DAVID ALLEN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 22, 2003
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Local police are being tight-lipped about their investigation into an alleged knife attack on a retired Special Forces soldier on May 7 in Onna.
Two weeks after Gene Warfield said he was stabbed in the left shoulder by a man he described as a “professional” assailant, Okinawa police have little to say.
“The suspect is still at large and the case is under close investigation,” said a police spokesman at the Ishikawa station. He declined further comment.
Citing the case’s possible political implications, Warfield said he believes police are dragging their feet. He was a consultant for the family of Marine Maj. Michael Brown, who is on trial in Naha District Court on charges of attempted rape and destruction of private property.
Brown, assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, is accused of an attempted assault Nov. 2 on an officers club barmaid.
Warfield said he believes the man who attacked him in a restaurant parking lot looked and acted like a trained assailant. “He meant to do me some serious harm,” said Warfield, 47. He said the man appeared to have followed him to the restaurant, speeding and swerving through traffic to catch up to him when Warfield failed to make an expected turn toward Brown’s home.
“I had been followed from my home in Yomitan to Gushikawa before,” Warfield said after the attack. “I think I surprised him by not turning.
“On four occasions when I was doing some work for the defense, I spotted cars following me, singly and doing what we call leapfrogging. On one occasion, they actually followed me right back to my apartment.”
Warfield suggested the May 7 attack was meant to scare him off — a suspicion he said was buttressed by police handling of the case: “Their investigation has been superficial, at best.”
At least four witnesses were “within 10 to 15 meters of the incident,” he said. “My wife asked the Ishikawa police officers at the scene to question those witnesses, who were still standing nearby, and the Ishikawa police refused.”
He said two detectives spoke to him while he was at the hospital being treated for his stab wound but no interpreter was present and the interview was cut short.
And, Warfield said, police did not test his car for fingerprints even after they were told the attacker had touched it during the struggle.
He also said police still maintain that the license number of the assailant’s van, noted by Warfield, his wife and stepdaughter, is “bogus.”
However, one of Brown’s defense lawyers disclosed May 13 that a trace done on the plate number turned up the name and address of a Urasoe resident.
Police at the Ishikawa station would not comment on the license number.
In an e-mail message to Stars and Stripes, Warfield said he does not know whether police knew the night he was attacked that he worked for the Brown family.
“Since information I have collected points to misconduct by the Gushikawa police, I would have been out of my mind to tell them of my involvement,” he stated.
In the meantime, the bar hostess involved in the case testified May 13 that any contact she had with Brown was consensual and nothing he did could be considered a sexual attack. She said she was coerced into filing a criminal complaint by her employer, police and prosecutors.
Her employer, Plenty Staff, an Okinawan company that provides temporary help to U.S. military bases, has denied her accusation. Prosecutors and the police said she filed the charges on her own volition.