Friday, January 16, 2004

Officer David Fazekas - Charges dismissed - Utica PD

Domestic violence charges dropped against officer
Police command reviewing case internally
The Source
Friday, January 16, 2004

Domestic violence charges filed against a Utica police officer have been dismissed and are not likely to be reinstated.

The charges against David Fazekas were dropped recently after the complainant in the case did not show up in court.

The case had been dismissed without prejudice in November, meaning that charges could be reinstated and court proceedings could continue.

The charges were reauthorized and a new date set. That date was changed but when the new January court date came around, a key participant in the trial again did not show up in court. So ends the criminal end of the case.

Fazekas, however, is not out of the woods as he still faces a review of his employment by the department.

"The matter is now being handled through an internal review to determine if there were any violations of departmental policies and procedures," said Utica Police Chief Michael Reaves. "Any further action will be handled internally."

The chief could not comment further on the matter because of contractual obligations and personnel directives and protocols.

Contract language indicates that if Fazekas is determined to have violated policy and procedures, he could face punishment ranging from an oral reprimand to termination of his employment.

After an off-duty altercation with his wife March 17, Fazekas was arrested by the Macomb County Sheriff's Department earlier this year. A warrant was authorized May 8.

Fazekas faced one charge of domestic violence, a 93-day misdemeanor, and later, one count of malicious use of a communications device for a harassing phone call in June.

Police reports indicate that the couple had a verbal altercation that escalated with Fazekas allegedly pushing his wife "a couple of times."

State law requires that an individual convicted of domestic violence be denied privileges to carry or own a gun, making it difficult if not impossible for a convicted police officer to hold his or her job in law enforcement.

Generally, such cases end in the termination of employment for the officer involved.

Since the incident, Fazekas has been on unpaid leave pending the resolution of his case.

Fazekas joined the force in 1998 and, working the night shift, has been a key member of the department in road enforcement. He was named Utica's Police Officer of the Year in 2002 and has been recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his efforts in removing drunken drivers from area roadways. --Jon Ottman

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