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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: If ‘Shorty’ Belton dealt crack, I’ll don a tutu

So 88-year-old Delbert “Shorty” Belton was really a lowdown Spokane crack dealer.

And not only that …

The old World War II veteran was a crooked crack dealer who tried to chisel Kenan Adams-Kinard and Demetruis Glenn, the two 16-year-olds who are accused of robbing and beating Belton to death outside the Eagles Club one night last week.

Yeah. That’s the ticket.

I’ve heard plenty of shaggy dog tales over the years.

But this one?

This is the flag waving at the summit of Mount Absurd.

Tell you what, though. I don’t have a crystal ball.

So, if there’s any truth to this hateful accusation, I’ll put on a pink tutu and take a long, slow walk of contrition through River Park Square holding a sign that says, “Boy, was I wrong about Shorty.”

Maybe some cops will join me.

They’re saying there’s nothing to substantiate this far-fetched claim that was apparently contained in a letter found by investigators in the house where Adams-Kinard was hiding out prior to his arrest.

How convenient.

A cynic might suspect that such a letter could have been planted for the cops to, oh, stumble upon during a search for evidence.

Or maybe it’s not a letter at all.

It actually sounds more to me like a proposal for a new TV series.

“Breaking Bad, Spokane Style.”

Smearing the reputation of someone who can’t fight back is nothing new, of course.

Remember all the rancid crap police and city officials said about the late Otto Zehm?

You know …

How he started the fight. How he used his pop bottle as a spear.

How poor Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson Jr. did nothing wrong in that North Division convenience store.

A trial proved it was all a stinking lie.

I guess that’s what surprises me here. Zehm notwithstanding, damaging the victim is most often the act of a desperate defense shyster who will do or say practically anything to save his wretched client.

But whoever takes this to court may not want to go down this “Shorty the drug dealer” route.

So far it’s not playing very well.

Natalie Flom, for example, one of Belton’s close friends, reportedly “burst into laughter” when she caught wind of it.

“That is just hilarious,” she said. “I can’t even believe they went there.”

Whoever winds up handling the defense might want to come up with a more believable story, like …

• Belton and my clients were all members of an underground fight club. Things got out of hand.

• Belton was wrongly parked in a handicapped spot. Violence ensued after my clients asked him politely to move.

• Insert one: (TV, the devil, too much sugar, video games, heavy metal, rap music, etc.) made them do it.

This case was already complicated enough because some people have inserted racial overtones into it.

Belton was white. Glenn and Adams-Kinard are black.

End of story.

There’s nothing to suggest that this vile crime had anything to do with the color of skin.

Saying that, however, I am prepared to go out on yet another limb and play the race card.

If these punks are found guilty or if they admit to robbing and senselessly beating to death this octogenarian Battle of Okinawa survivor, then I will lead the chorus in saying:

Glenn and Adams-Kinard are a disgrace to the only race that matters.

The human race.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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