It was never a slow news day for Chicken-Fried News when self-proclaimed "Video Vigilante" Brian Bates drove his "Vote Out DA Wes Lane" van around the OklahomaCounty courthouse.
Alas, those days are gone. The Master says he's retiring his van, according to recent news coverage.
"I've given myself a 24-hour gloating period," Bates told The Associated Press after candidate David Prater's squeaker victory over Lane Nov. 7. "After that, I become a sore winner."
Bates, whose activity is catching hookers and their johns performing on cam, was once the darling of Lane and the Oklahoma City Police Department. Then, lo! Bates managed to catch on camera Oklahoma City officers allegedly pounding the peewad stuffings out of a large black man, Donald Pete, and thereafter Bates claims he was persona non grata in both Lane's office and with the OKCPD.
Then came the charges. In 2005, Lane filed felony charges of pandering (pimping) against Bates, claiming he had paid hookers to perform their services on johns, so he could capture them clearly on video for various TV shows.
The charges against Bates raised lots of questions (like, don't pimps get the money from hookers, instead of the other way around?) about the veracity of the witnesses and the motives of the parties involved.
Lane's office filed pandering charges and dropped them, then sought charges through the grand jury, which the district attorney then dropped. He refiled the charges again, racking up legal costs for the Video Vigilante. Bates passed out newsletters, posted stories about it on his Web sites, and finally, created the van.
The van was a sight. An old, white ice-cream truck, the lumbering lorry would wheel around the downtown courthouse and county office building, where Bates would finally park it in what he hoped was a line of sight with Lane's office, then start passing out anti-Lane fliers and Dum Dum suckers (get it?). At least once Bates said he was escorted from the area by deputies, who later left him alone because he seemed to be breaking no laws.
But now that's all over. After posting a large banner on the side of the truck stating "Mission Accomplished," a piece on Fox News Channel 25 showed him stripping the plastic Wes Lane poster from the side. Then Bates said he donated it to a local religious organization, the ChristianServiceCenter.
And what of Bates' case? Prater said he hasn't made a decision about it.
"I don't know the evidence against Brian Bates," Prater told the AP. "I know what the DA's spin is on the facts, but I haven't seen the case file."
Bates said he doesn't want his case dismissed. Really.
"I don't want my case thrown out. That's the worst thing that can happen," he said. "I can only be vindicated if I'm acquitted."