Saturday, April 24, 2004

Officer Brian Klonowski - Southgate PD







Officer Brian Klonowski - Conviction for OIDV [2004]:















Southgate Police Officer Brian Klonowski was rebuffed by Gina Falconer, when he attempted to make advances on her at a party in April 2004.


















Officer Klonowski yanked Gina out of her chair by her shirt....Threw her to the ground....Restrained her by sitting on top of her, and began punching her in the face....It took four people to get Officer Klonowski off of Gina...She suffered a  hemorrhage to her eye, a  broken nose and a broken bone above her eye.

















Officer Klonowski was arrested and charged with aggravated assault....


















.....Instead of suspending Officer Klonowski after he was arrested for brutally beating Gina, the Southgate PD just reassigned Klonowski to desk duty.

















On August 5, 2004, Officer Brian Klonowski pleaded no-contest to an assault charge. Klonowski was placed on probation for eighteen months AND was suspended without pay from the Southgate PD for one year.
















On August 06, 2004 [just as his unpaid suspension from the Southgate PD had begun], Klonowski was  given a court-appointed job by District Court Magistrate Maria Nevalo.















Klonowski only had served three months of his eighteeen month  criminal probation and his one year suspension from the Southgate Police Department, when Southgate Mayor Dennis David reinstated him to the Police Department on January 07, 2005.











Southgate Mayor Dennis David defended his action in putting Officer Klonowski back on duty within three- months [and while he was still on probation].  "People should  have more sympathy for the officer...No one has taken his side at all on this issue...I'd just like to see someone put themselves in his shoes....He beat this girl up...I think he'll come back a better man for it..."


 












Southgate Police Chief Larry Hall was furious with Mayor David's decision, to reinstate Officer Klonowski. ...."This is an abuse of power...."This is not some love tap. This is not some shoving match. This is a martial artist, black belt, who just beat the hell out of a girl..."  Mayor David later reprimanded Chief Hall for his reaction to reinstating Officer Klonowski before his one year suspension.









Police chief retires after a turbulent term in post
Published: Sunday, March 26, 2006
By Bobby Ampezzan, The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2006/03/26/localnews/20060326-archive0.txt

SOUTHGATE — Acting on a motion by Councilwoman Michelle Davis, the City Council approved the retirement of Police Chief Larry Hall on Wednesday.

When the motion was approved, nearly all in attendance applauded.

Davis, who normally abstains from making motions on routine agenda items, said she especially wanted to be involved in this vote.

"Yeah, I wanted it to go through," said Davis, the wife of city Patrolman David Davis,

Thus ends the four-year tenure as chief for Hall, a lawyer and university instructor who began his career 29 years ago as one of the city's most promising recruits. He leaves after a number of legal imbroglios and six months of paid absence.

In 1975, Hall graduated from Michigan State University at the very top of his class of 1,463 with a 3.98 grade-point average.

At 23, he joined the Southgate Police Department in 1977 and was named the top candidate in his class.

In 1985, Hall was selected as the city's first full-time school liaison officer. However, he soon left the city for a brief time to become commander of a new Plymouth Township Police Department, a position that made him subordinate only to the chief of police.

But two months later, Hall had returned to Southgate, and in May 1986, he was being considered for chiefs' positions in St. Ignace and nearby Gibraltar.

He was 32 years old.

City councils in both communities adopted resolutions tentatively hiring Hall upon the completion of negotiations. But, Hall rejected the move to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and eventually the Gibraltar position was expanded, and Hall could not fill the requirements of the new post.

Hall earned a law degree from Wayne State University and passed the Michigan Bar exam. He also began teaching criminal justice courses at what is now Madonna University.

Two years after his wife, Suzanne Hall, was elected as the city's mayor in 1999, then Lt. Larry Hall was named deputy police chief.

Though Suzanne Hall recused herself from the selection process, the promotion spurred controversy, which hadn't remitted one year later when Larry Hall was named the city's police chief.

According to Michigan Public Act 78, promotions are given to personnel who perform the highest on a Civil Service examination. Seniority also is factored in.

Hall got the top spot because he was the only candidate who passed the exam. He also had 25 years of experience.

Suzanne Hall lost the next mayoral election to retired police Lt. Dennis David, and the relationship between the chief and the new mayor turned acrimonious.

Hall was involved in separate entanglements with David, City Administrator George Mans and 28th District Judge James Kandrevas. The court encompasses the city of Southgate.

Hall clashed with David frequently over the suspension of Patrolman Brian Klonowski, who was convicted in April 2004 of assault.

Hall has called David "a dictator" in the press, and David has said "(Hall) has no respect for me, and the feeling is mutual."

In July 2004, Kandrevas filed a complaint against Hall for publicly alleging the judge had reduced charges in several drunken-driving cases for personal reasons.

The Attorney Grievance Commission dismissed the complaint in 2005, and Hall formally apologized for his statements.

In 2005, at a meeting with Mans to discuss a grievance lodged against him by a subordinate, Hall refused to turn off a tape recorder, against Mans' wishes.

Mans suspended Hall for insubordination, and Hall filed a lawsuit against the city and won.

Since his wife's second mayoral defeat, this time in November to former Mayor Norma Wurmlinger, Hall has not returned to work.

He did not return a phone call seeking comment for this report.

However, former City Attorney Wallace Long, Hall's legal counsel and friend, did comment on Hall's retirement.

"His expertise and intelligence will be missed over there," Long said, "whether they recognize it or not."

Long represented Hall in his lawsuit against the city, and, most recently, worked on Hall's retirement agreement.

Long said Hall "ushered" the department into a more advanced technological era — the city's computer network and wireless communications are being studied by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department — and cited Hall's efforts in "making (his) officers responsible for themselves, their behavior" as his lasting legacy.

In a press release issued Thursday, Hall said, "My creed has always been to tell people the truth and to do the right thing, regardless of the personal consequences."

Wurmlinger has concurred with the council's vote, and if the Pension Board also accepts the agreement, Hall will retire May 3.

His annual pension will be about $107,000.

He also will receive a severance payment for 200 accumulated vacation days and 200 more sick days.

It is further stipulated in the agreement that the city and its elected officials will "refrain from making disparaging statements regarding (Hall) at public meetings of the council, to the media, or in other public forums."

Of Hall's pension, City Administrator Levon King said, "It's a little higher than other command officers, but not much."

Of his retirement, Wurmlinger said: "I wish him well. ... That's my only comment."

Hall, now 52, will continue to coach the Gabriel Richard High School girls' softball team and teach at Madonna University.

But "he'll have lots of opportunities that will be presented to him," Long said.

Deputy Chief Charles Castle has served as chief since Hall's medical leave began in November. He will continue in that role until a new chief is named.












Woman files a lawsuit against cop, city
Published: Sunday, August 14, 2005
By Andrea Blum, The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/08/14/localnews/20050814-archive1.txt

SOUTHGATE — A lawsuit alleging a civil rights violation has been filed against the city by a woman accusing a police officer of brutality.

It is the second lawsuit against a police officer in less than a year.

The federal lawsuit charges Officer David Grondin with violating the civil rights of Christine Branum during an Oct. 1, 2004, visit police made to her house in the 14100 block of Fordline.

Grondin and two other officers responded to a domestic dispute call at the house.

The argument had ended when police arrived, but Grondin forced his way into the house to speak to Branum's boyfriend, according to the lawsuit.

It claims that Grondin grabbed the woman by the neck, kicked her and beat her while using abusive and vulgar language.

Branum is accusing Grondin of violating her Fourth Amendment rights and seeks at least $75,000 in damages.

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against "unreasonable search and seizure."

No arrests were made in the incident.

No charges were filed against Grondin after an investigation by the Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office found insufficient evidence.

Grondin had been fired from the department in March 2003 for several reasons, including insubordination and a 2002 domestic assault charge involving his ex-wife and another man.

He returned to the force in November 2003 after winning an arbitration dispute with the city and was on probation in that case when the October incident took place.

Police Chief Larry Hall recommended firing Grondin, but Mayor Dennis David suspended him for five days.

"If you don't address these matters, they will come back," Hall said.

David said the issue being brought up is pure politics because he's running for re-election against the police chief's wife, Suzanne Hall.

"This has been going on since the day I took office," David said.

David beat incumbent Suzanne Hall two years ago in her re-election bid for the mayor's post.

The police chief dismisses the political aspect, saying that it's a matter of Dennis undermining his authority.

"I don't feel like I have any backing from City Hall," Hall said.

This isn't the first time the mayor and police chief have clashed over disciplining an officer.

The two butted heads earlier this year over the punishment for Patrolman Brian Klonowski, who pleaded guilty to punching a woman at a party last year in Romulus.

In that case, a Dearborn Heights woman is suing Klonowski, not the city, because he was off duty when the incident occurred.

Klonowski was serving a one-year suspension when David reduced the penalty to 90 days, saying that was the deal originally offered. Hall disagreed.

"My ability to discipline has been totally eroded," Hall said. "Everything I try to do is subject to being overridden by the mayor."

David, a former police officer, said he isn't backing down from his decisions.

"The actions I've taken for this and any other incident, I stand by," he said.

David doesn't agree with those who say Grondin doesn't belong on the department.

"That's outrageous," David said. "Officers make mistakes. There is no other community around here that has a pristine police department.

"They just happen to have chiefs that stand by them, not take them out in public and spank them."The five-day suspension was more than what the Public Safety Commission recommended, according to David.

"They said he needed to have some kind of incident management training," David said.

"They said the police chief was the one at fault for not training that officer."

Hall counters that the commission is made up of David's appointees and can only give recommendations.

Branum's attorney, Christopher Trainor, said the city should be held responsible for its actions.

"What the mayor and city commission did speaks for itself," Trainor said. "This guy shouldn't be on the force anymore."

He rebuked the claim that the lawsuit was brought to light for political reasons.

"That's ridiculous," he said. "This has nothing to do with any election.

"I know that information I have indicates that this guy is a bad cop."

City Attorney Jack Timmony said Branum's claims are simply allegations right now.

"There's been no finding of liability," he said. "That will be determined in court."









Mayor, chief tangle over recording of meeting
By Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
PUBLISHED: May 8, 2005
http://www.thenewsherald.com/stories/050805/loc_20050508003.shtml

SOUTHGATE — Mayor Dennis David says Police Chief Larry Hall is not telling the truth when he says that he never offered a 90-day disciplinary suspension to an officer convicted of an off-duty assault.

And David has a tape recording to prove it.

Hall continues to deny David's claims, and says the taping of a year-old conversation between police administrators and union officials might have been done illegally.

That's the latest chapter in an ongoing battle between the mayor and the police chief over the case involving police Officer Brian Klonowski.

Klonowski was convicted last year of assaulting a woman and was suspended from the Police Department for one year in a deal negotiated by Hall. The mayor then rescinded the suspension, claiming that the chief reneged on an offer of a lesser penalty.

The mayor has presented a roughly one-hour recording of an Aug. 10, 2004, discussion of Klonowski's suspension. Those in the discussion were Hall; Deputy Chief Charles Castle; David Fobar, president of the Southgate Patrol Officers Association; and union representatives John Viviano and Officer Jeffrey Smith.

David contends that the recording provides proof that Hall lied about offering Klonowski a 90-day disciplinary suspension.

"We have a recording from the union that clearly has Larry offering a 90-day suspension," David said. "He made an offer ... and then denied it.

"When the chief made the suggestion, that's a settlement offer. For him to say it was an informal meeting after all this time he denied ever saying it, that's just hairsplitting."

Hall not only denies the offer but also is having the recording investigated by the Michigan State Police. He said he was stunned to learn of its existence at a recent hearing of the Police and Fire Civil Service Commission.

"(It) violates the sanctity of my office, where everything from criminal to civil negotiations take place," he said.

Hall remains adamant that no 90-day offer was ever on the table.

"I'm not changing my story," he said. "He was never offered 90 days."

The Civil Service hearing was held after David sent Hall a letter of reprimand for reneging on the offer. The commission dismissed the reprimand because it wasn't filed in the proper time frame.

Many suggestions were made at the meeting, Hall said, but no formal offers or tentative agreements were presented.

"The recording supports what I have said from the beginning that I never made a simple 90-day suspension offer, and that any discussion about 90 days were included as part of a package that contained multiple conditions," he said.

Hall said he also is suspicious of the recording because of the many inaudible portions and because he contends the beginning and end of the meeting aren't included.

But those are moot points to the mayor.

"It all boils down to his offer of 90 days," David said.

Klonowski, a 32-year-old patrolman who's been with the department about nine years, was convicted of attacking a woman at a party in Romulus in April 2004.

According to some witnesses, he had been making advances to Gina Falconer at the get-together and she repeatedly told him to leave her alone.

By some accounts, Klonowski punched her several times after she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle. Others said she swung the bottle at him in a threatening manner.

She was left with a broken nose and a broken bone above her eye.

He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor assault charge and was sentenced to 18 months' probation by 34th District Judge Brian Oakley.

Also part of the sentence was an additional 30 days on the court's work program, 60 days on a tether program and anger-management and alcohol counseling.

Klonowski served three months of a one-year suspension before David reduced the penalty to 90 days after an investigation he said revealed the initial offer.

Falconer filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court on April 25 against Klonowski and Joseph McCamey, the owner of the house where the attack occurred.

Klonowski originally was unwilling to accept more than 30 days, which is the maximum suspension allowable under state Act 78 regulations for the Police Department.

Negotiations with Klonowski and his union, as well as David and Hall, led to the one-year settlement, which was signed by everyone except Hall.

Hall questioned why Klonowski and the union accepted the one-year penalty after later rejecting what was discussed at the Aug. 10 meeting.

"I told the union that if anything comes out of it where we can save his job, we should take it," the mayor said. "The union came back with a counterproposal of 30 days and (Hall) said that wasn't enough."

The recording contains Hall talking about a 90-work day, or roughly four-month, suspension. It says: "So let's make it, let's make it 90. We'll make it 90 days because that's something finance can deal with. Ninety days which equates to that four-month suspension. Ninety days is something the public understands."

But Hall said the discussion was taken out of context. "The 90 days was discussed with about 15 or 16 other conditions," he said. "They were discussions, not offers."

The four-month suspension would have included another six months' probation in addition to Klonowski's court-imposed penalties.

That punishment worked out to the 10-month penalties given to other officers convicted of crimes in the past.

The mayor also said Hall publicly advocated Klonowski's firing, but spoke differently behind closed doors. "I do not feel it's necessary to terminate Klonowski," Hall says on the recording. "But I'm not going to recommend 30 days. Therefore, I have to recommend termination to public safety."

The chief countered that those were his only two options, and he intended for Klonowski to serve his court-ordered 90 days on the tether and work program separate from departmental discipline. He likened the recording to another case several years ago involving former Fire Chief Stephen Ahles, who taped private phone conversations of firefighters at the station.

The resulting lawsuit cost the city about $1 million.

"If it's wrong for the fire chief to tape conversations of the firemen, then, by God, it's wrong for the union to tape the police chief," he said.

The mayor said officers who go into the police chief's office assume that everything is being taped. "It's a well-documented fact throughout that department that any and all actions may be recorded," he said. "I do know that a union representative commented in a different letter that he thought the meeting was being taped by the chief."

Hall denies that, saying he said at the beginning of the meeting that it wasn't being taped.

But in this case, the recording might have been "a necessary evil," David added. "I know the officers don't trust the chief at all and that's a shame," he said. "They don't have reliability on what the chief tells them now."











Fallout from assault charge mounts
Suit in works; mayor hits chief with reprimand
By Andrea Blum, The News-Herald
PUBLISHED: April 24, 2005

SOUTHGATE — A lawsuit is looming in the case of an off-duty police officer convicted of assault.

Gina Falconer, who was attacked by Patrolman Brian Klonowski at a party in Romulus in April 2004, is set to file a lawsuit against the officer and the owner of the house where the incident occurred.

Falconer's attorney, James Goss, wouldn't pin down exactly when the action would be filed.

"'Soon' is a good word," Goss said. "I would like to leave it at that."

Southgate City Attorney Jack Timmony said that, by law, the city should not be named in the suit.

"Absolutely not," Timmony said. "The law is very clear. "Her lawyer acknowledged in the letter that the officer was off duty and not involved in any police action whatsoever."

Timmony added that residents shouldn't be concerned whether a lawsuit will be brought against the city. "If one is, it will be improperly brought," he said.

City Administrator George Mans couldn't confirm who would be named in the case. "I know we haven't seen the end of this whether the city is named or not," he said.

Klonowski, 32, was suspended without pay in October after he was convicted of assaulting Falconer at the party.

According to police, Klonowski harassed the Dearborn Heights woman throughout the night. When she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle, he repeatedly punched her in the face. She suffered a broken nose and a broken bone above her eye.

Other witnesses claimed that Falconer swung the bottle at Klonowski, which prompted his actions.

Klonowski pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and on Aug. 5 was sentenced to 18 months' probation by 34th District Judge Brian Oakley.

In January, Klonowski was three months into a one-year suspension from the police force for the conviction, but Mayor Dennis David reduced that punishment to 90 days.

David said he made the decision after determining that Klonowski originally was offered a 90-day suspension.

The matter originally was settled through negotiations with city administrators, Police Chief Larry Hall, Klonowski and union representatives, who all agreed to a one-year suspension.

This week, David issued a letter of reprimand to Hall for reneging on a 90-day suspension offer for Klonowski.

The mayor said he conducted a thorough investigation before sending the letter. "Officer Klonowski and his union have always claimed that you ... had made an original offer of a 90-workday suspension," David said in the letter. "We find that your action in denying that you made an offer of a 90-workday suspension is not professional in keeping with the high standards of leadership and general conduct expected of the chief of police in this community."

The investigation was prompted by a complaint from union leaders filed Jan. 21. "We got a grievance from the union that it was bad-faith bargaining on the part of the city," Mans said.

People's careers and reputations hang in the balance, Mans added, and the matter must be dealt with properly.

"The union can provide, if necessary, evidence to prove unquestionably that Chief Hall did offer a 90-workday suspension," police Officer David Fobar, president of the Southgate Patrol Officers Association, said in the complaint. "(The) chief indicated other officers received 10-month suspensions, but since Klonowski had six extra months of probation, he would agree to a four-month suspension. "Discussion continued ... and (the) final outcome agreed to was a 90-workday suspension."

Hall continues to maintain that no such offer was ever made and that the mayor is abusing his power by issuing the letter for political reasons. "I have made it more than clear all along that there was no 90-day offer," Hall said. "This is an abuse of power. I will not have my rights trod upon because he wants to get re-elected."

Union representatives said Klonowski was unwilling to accept a suspension that exceeded 30 days, the maximum allowed under state Act 78.

"The meeting concluded with me advising the union that given the alternative between the union's proffer of 30 days and termination, I was prepared to recommend termination," Hall wrote in a letter responding to David.

According to Hall, neither he nor Deputy Police Chief Charles Castle, who also was present for the negotiations, was interviewed during the investigation.

"I demand that they provide me with documentation that proves I lied," Hall said.

The chief has requested a public hearing of the Police and Fire Civil Service Commission on the matter, which is set for Tuesday.






Letters to the Editor
Published: Sunday, March 13, 2005
The News Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/03/13/opinions/20050313-archive1.txt

'Cop haters' had a part in assault
To the Editor: I wanted to tell Southgate Mayor Dennis David how much I personally appreciated him having the courage, armed with the proper information, to reinstate police Officer Brian Klonowski.

I think he is a fine man, and ultimately made the right decision.

Police Chief Larry Hall doesn't run the city; David does.

Klonowski is a good man.

A lot of people are saying, "What if it was one of your family members?"

Well, if one of my family members acted the way the woman who he assaulted did that night, I wouldn't have a whole lot of sympathy for them.

One's actions have consequences. She assaulted him and he responded. I am very happy with the outcome.

Klonowski is a good man and simply was in a place he should not have been, and upon realizing he was among some "cop haters," he should have left the party that night.

But his life goes on, and he still has the love and support of his true friends, mostly because we all know what really happened that night.
Robin Stoll-Wizinsky
Wyandotte


More officers are needed like chief
To the Editor: I am outraged when I hear support for Southgate Mayor Dennis David regarding the reinstatement of police Officer Brian Klonowski.

As a lifelong Southgate resident, Police Chief Larry Hall has always had a reputation of being very honest. I remember growing up and hearing rumors that he would arrest his own mother if she did something wrong.

I think he is tough and honest and doesn't give special treatment to anyone, even one of his own when they have done wrong.

As for Klonowski, some say that no one knows him or the type of person he is.

That may be true, but I personally know of his kind, as I was a battered wife for 13 years.

He had no reason to use his fists on that woman. If he was taught self-defense, didn't they teach him how to control himself and other ways of taking control of a situation, especially with a woman?

I don't want this kind of justice in my city and I'm sure a lot of other people don't either.

I respect Hall and how he feels. There should be more officers like him.
Tina Fowler
Southgate


Serve and protect; assault and batter
To the Editor: A precedent has been set in the city of Southgate.

Facts exist that a police officer severely harmed a woman, giving her a softball- sized black eye for starters.

Then Mayor Dennis David reduces the officer's penalty despite Police Chief Larry Hall's opposition.

What message has the mayor, a former police officer, sent out?

The officer, just as the mayor, took an oath to serve and protect, not to assault and batter.

Our officials must be held to ethical standards beyond reproach at all times.

We must demand more than a slap on the wrist for behavior of this nature.

The youth in Southgate and neighboring cities have just been taught, "If they can get away with it, so can I."

I must have missed the announcement that we have turned "pro-violence."
Niko Abramski
Southgate












Letters to the Editor
Published: Sunday, February 27, 2005
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/02/27/opinions/20050227-archive0.txt

Hitting a woman is never justified
To the Editor: I am very upset by Southgate Mayor Dennis David's action on re-instating police Officer Brian Klonowski, who injured a woman in Romulus.

I feel there is absolutely no reason for a man to hit a woman. He has two feet; he could have walked away.

There can be no circumstance where this savage action is acceptable.

Klonowski has no right to wear a uniform. Now, every woman in Southgate will be leery of calling the police in a domestic dispute, wondering if Klonowski will answer the call.

How can he aid her when his attitude is against women?

I commend Councilwoman Patricia Ganzberger for her stand on this matter and I condemn the rest of the council for not agreeing with her in voice, even though they do not have the power to intercede against the mayor's actions.

Just to set the record straight, I voted for the mayor and I did not approve of Larry Hall being named police chief. Now, I have done a complete turnaround.

When election time comes up, I will not vote for David regardless of who his opponent is.

I commend Hall on his feelings on this matter and I hope that David has to give a better explanation than he did.

I cannot understand other officers standing behind their fellow officer just because they are in a union.

He is a disgrace to the uniform and to the male species.
Betty Olsen
Southgate


Downriver police seem quite unruly
To the Editor: After reading stories about the recent incident involving the Southgate police officer who was recently rewarded with the return of his job after beating up a woman, I am left to wonder what is going on with police in the Downriver area.

There was the incident regarding the police chief in South Rockwood who was running around looking for teen-age boys to have sex with, the Lincoln Park police officers who participated as observers in street racing which resulted in death and Allen Park officers who have been accused of inappropriately strip-searching a woman.

What are city officials thinking by allowing this type of behavior from police officers whose behavior should be, at all times, above reproach?

When police officers cannot behave in an appropriate manner, their termination should be swift and permanent.

I, for one, am not comfortable living Downriver knowing that city officials are encouraging these loose cannons to run around armed and quite obviously very dangerous as they continue to abuse the power of their positions.

As residents of the cities involved in police misconduct, we need to seek to remove city officials who encourage police misconduct and elect city officials who are more interested in protecting the residents who pay their salaries.

Some of these Downriver police departments are only slightly less out of control than the Third Reich.
Pamela Odom
Allen Park



               










Letters to the Editor
Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2005
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/02/16/opinions/20050216-archive0.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Officer is getting a bad reputation
To the Editor: After reading the letters to the editor in some of the past few editions of The News-Herald Newspapers, I felt I needed to write a letter of my own to show support of Southgate Mayor Dennis David.

I feel that the media again has let us down by not telling the whole story and allowing our very own Police Chief Larry Hall to air our dirty laundry for political reasons.

Some things that were said and the behavior of Hall on the news were embarrassing for our city.

A lot of the things that are coming out right now are "politically motivated" because soon there will be another election.

There are people who believe that the mayor reinstated Officer Brian Klonowski because the two worked together. That's simply not true.

The mayor has the right to review any disciplinary action brought against any city employee. After examining all the facts in this case, he felt that bringing Klonowski back was the right thing to do.

As for Klonowski, does anyone know him or the type of person he is? I do.

I've known him for many years and I can tell you he would never go out of his way to hit someone, especially a female.

Yes, Klonowski is a black belt in the martial arts, but you are taught self-defense, and when someone is coming at you with a beer bottle, you will defend yourself.

In Klonowski's case, it's called being at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people.

Everyone makes mistakes. It's called being human. But the media has made him out to be a savage animal. That's simply not true.

Furthermore, Hall's actions have made a laughingstock, not only of himself, but also of the city and the Police Department as well.

Hall seems very distraught about being overruled by his boss, the mayor, who makes the final decisions in the city of Southgate.
Michelle Davis
Southgate
(Editor's note: Michelle Davis is the wife of Southgate police Officer Dave Davis.)

                 












Letters to the Editor
Published: Sunday, February 13, 2005
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/02/13/opinions/20050213-archive.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Reinstating police officer was wrong
To the Editor: Southgate Police Chief Larry Hall has publicly expressed his outrage at Southgate Mayor Dennis David's decision to reduce police Officer Brian Klonowski's suspension from one year to 90 days.

Hall referred to Klonowski's off-duty conduct as "deplorable" for having consumed alcohol, attacked a woman without legal justification and not acting in self-defense; thus causing her to sustain serious facial and head injuries that required hospitalization.

Hall went so far as to question the mayor's actions, saying that "Klonowski is both a friend and political supporter" or as the victim contends "this is just a case of cops looking out for their own."

Hall's public expression of outrage regarding this issue is most admirable, and he must be recognized as an officer with impeccable character in doing so.

Although I don't reside in Southgate and this incident does not directly affect my city, my Police Department, or myself, I am a lifelong supporter and advocate of all police officers and I personally find this case repulsive.

If Klonowski demonstrated such despicable off-duty conduct and pleaded no contest to aggravated assault, was sentenced to 18 months probation, 60 days on a tether, 30 days on a work program and a $2,000 fine, then immediate termination without the possibility of future reinstatement should have been mandatory.

Klonowski would appear to have lost his rights to debate any concessions when he assaulted someone and displayed unacceptable conduct as a police officer.

Police officers should be exuberant in setting the example of a model citizen and never consider themselves above the law. They are sworn to serve and protect, not to assault.

Southgate residents should support the police chief on this issue and demand that the mayor reverse his decision to put Klonowski back to work before completion of his suspension.

Something is seriously wrong with our legal system when an officer can conduct himself in such an unconscionable manner and be put back on the streets and carry a lethal weapon.

I would personally not want to cross paths with Klonowski, on or off duty, when he may be in another angry mode. I may not be as fortunate as his last victim and only end up in the hospital.

The city of Southgate must reconsider all the facts in this case and reevaluate whether this person is a liability or an asset to the Police Department.
Donita Parritt
Wyandotte











Letters to the Editor
Published: Sunday, January 30, 2005
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/01/30/opinions/20050130-archive1.txt

Officer receives late holiday gift
To the Editor: I am writing in response to the Jan. 9 story, "Mayor reduces cop's 1-year penalty."

I am in total disagreement with Mayor Dennis David's decision to reduce Officer Brian Klonowski's suspension from one year to 90 days.

Klonowski, a black belt kick boxer, savagely attacked a woman in Romulus while off duty, causing her to sustain serious facial and head injuries that required hospitalization.

The police investigation concluded that Klonowski, who had been consuming alcohol, had attacked the victim without provocation or legal justification, and was not acting in self-defense.

Klonowski was arrested, charged and pleaded no contest to aggravated assault, for which he was sentenced to 18 months probation, 60 days on a tether, 30 days on a work program and a $2,000 fine.

Following an internal investigation by the police administration, it was determined that substantial discipline was warranted.

Klonowski's union advised that he would not agree to any suspension that exceeded 30 days. After hearing that I was prepared to recommend termination, Klonowski and the union agreed to a one-year suspension without pay.

This joint agreement to suspend Klonowski for one year was reviewed by the mayor, city labor attorney, city administrator, Klonowski and his union, all of whom signed it, without objection, on Sept. 22.

Then, without warning, on Jan. 5, three months into Klonowski's suspension, the mayor did an about-face by reducing the suspension to 90 days and placed Klonowski back to work.

The mayor called his action a disciplinary adjustment. I call it a belated Christmas present to Klonowski.

In response to a formal letter of objection I sent the mayor, he offered no explanation for his action.

Why would he do such a thing without consulting the police administration or at least reviewing Klonowski's disciplinary file?

So why did the mayor reduce Klonowski's punishment? Is it because, as the mayor admits, "Klonowski is both a friend and political supporter"?

Is it because, as the victim contends, "This is just a case of cops looking out for their own?"

(Before being elected mayor, David was a police officer who worked with Klonowski.)

Whatever the mayor's reasoning, it sends the wrong message to the victim and to victims of abuse everywhere.

Furthermore, it gives the city and the Police Department a black eye.

As a 28-year veteran of the police force, a husband and a father of two, including one teen-age daughter, my sincerest sympathies go out to the victim, not to Klonowski, whose conduct I find deplorable.

I am hopeful that the people of Southgate share in my conviction and are outraged over the handling of this incident.
Larry Hall
Southgate chief of police

                 













YOURS: Change in suspension draws emotional responses
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2005
The News Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/01/26/opinions/20050126-archive1.txt

Return to work is a questionable act
To the Editor: Southgate Mayor Dennis David should not be allowed to disregard the intentions of Police Chief Larry Hall by arbitrarily reducing the terms of Officer Brian Klonowski's suspension ("Chief says suspension should stay," Jan. 12).

Klonowski showed poor judgment and a grievous lack of restraint, as proven by the horrible injuries suffered by the woman he assaulted.

Although David thinks people should have some sympathy for the officer, Klonowski has already had his day in 34th District Court.

The mayor can provide long-term help to the young man and the residents of Southgate by allowing him to finish the terms of his probation, his anger management classes and his alcohol-counseling program.

Residents have the right to trust their police officers to possess both the wherewithal and self-restraint to handle such an incident without physical confrontation. This is doubly true for someone trained in the martial arts, as was Klonowski.

Apparently David, a former police officer himself, took this opportunity to help a friend and simultaneously poke a sharp stick in the eye of Hall, who is married to David's predecessor.

I believe Hall's first impulse to terminate the officer was sound. I see no reason why someone on probation can expect to serve as an active police officer.

At a minimum, Southgate residents should demand that David void his decision and recuse himself from further police personnel matters.
Michele Babcock
Grosse Ile Township


Mayor made the correct decision
To the Editor: Mayor Dennis David reinstated police Officer Brian Klonowski on Jan. 10.

I would like to congratulate the mayor for standing up and making a good, yet difficult decision.

Everything that has been printed on this incident has been one-sided.

This letter is not intended to support Klonowski's actions that led to his suspension. However, he did go before a judge and was sentenced.

He is complying with all of the conditions of his sentence. He should be put back to work.

Police Chief Larry Hall has stated that Klonowski is a criminal and should not be allowed back to work. That begs the question of what would have happened at the end of the 12-month suspension?

If the chief feels he is unfit for duty, then why was he suspended instead of terminated?

As reported, Klonowski paid more than $2,000 in fines and court costs, wore a tether, worked on the work program, attended alcohol and anger counseling and was suspended for 90 days without pay.

He was stripped of his police powers six months prior to his suspension. During that time, he was assigned to non-sensitive duties.

Klonowski has paid and continues to pay his debt to society and to the city of Southgate.

There is no positive effect that could come out of a continued suspension.

Klonowski could not regret the incident any more than he does now.

Furthermore, Klonowski returns on departmental probation. I'm sure he will be watched carefully by those entrusted to do so.

One of the mayor's duties is to review disciplinary matters recommended by department heads.

It is not the mayor's job to blindly follow the recommendation, but to review the facts and act accordingly.

That is exactly what the mayor did in this situation.
Jeff Meussner
Southgate
(Editor's note: Jeff Meussner is a Southgate police officer.)


Conduct was not that of an officer
To the Editor: I just read the Jan. 16 story, "Support shown for mayor's action," in which it was reported that there was a strong show of support at a recent City Council meeting for Mayor Dennis David's decision to reduce Officer Brian Klonowski's suspension from one year down to 90 days.

Klonowski is the black belt, kick-boxer who assaulted a woman at a birthday party in Romulus.

The victim suffered a fractured jaw, extensive facial swelling, bruising and an eye injury that required eight stitches to close.

I attended the council meeting in question and saw only two people speak in the mayor's defense, both of whom are friends of Klonowski and political supporters of the mayor.

Incredibly, they urged people to sympathize with Klonowski, while making no reference to the victim.

Councilwoman Pat Ganzberger courageously condemned Klonowski's violent conduct and the mayor's lenient treatment of him. Many in attendance agreed with Ganzberger.

My husband Jim and I have lived in Southgate for more than 50 years and have never seen anything like this before.

Jim has served as the city treasurer for 27 years, is a World War II veteran and is a former police and fire commissioner.

We do not condone Klonowski's conduct, nor do we support the mayor's decision to bring him back.

And our sympathies go out to the victim, not to Klonowski.

Just how much support does the mayor have for putting this officer back on the force, against the wishes of the chief of police? Nobody I have spoken to supports the mayor.

Klonowski had his day in court; next it is the mayor's turn.

This being an election year, the voters soon will have the opportunity to judge the mayor's conduct.

I have faith that the "people's jury" will render a just and proper verdict.
Annabelle Gray
Southgate


Police union: Cop is not a criminal
To the Editor: Regarding the matter involving Southgate police Officer Brian Klonowski and Gina Falconer in Romulus:

Klonowski, who resides in Southgate, was attending a birthday party in Romulus. Falconer was in attendance at this party.

The chain of events of what happened at this party is all a matter of public record.

The incident was adjudicated before Judge Brian Oakley in 34th District Court and Klonowski has had his day in court.

As a result, Klonowski was ordered to comply with a number of provisions ordered by the court.

Once the verdict on this incident had been determined, the union and Southgate police administration met a number of times, finally negotiating a discipline for Klonowski, which was accepted by both Klonowski and the Southgate police.

Klonowski is serving this discipline in conjunction with his court-ordered sanctions. Southgate Mayor Dennis David has recently amended this discipline.

The issue that the 28th District Court was in need of a technician and Klonowski was in need of interim employment appears to be a fit.

His knowledge of and experience with the local court system at 28th District Court would make for a short intern period.

Klonowski has a right to earn a living. Additionally, this is not Klonowski's only job.

The remarks by Police Chief Larry Hall in the media have not been subjective and are grossly inappropriate for a public official.

Certainly, as a resident of Southgate, Hall has a right to his opinion, but as the chief of police he should rely on unbiased fact, not personal opinion.

Klonowski is not a criminal. He is a man who made a mistake and has quietly complied with those sanctions set forth by the 34th District Court and departmental discipline.

The comments of Hall are totally unprofessional and unwarranted.

This union supports the responsible manner in which Klonowski has faced this difficult time in his life and has responded to those sanctions set forth by the 34th District Court and the Southgate Police Department.
John Viviano
Police Officers
Labor Council

Men in blue act as above the law
To the Editor: Regarding the mini suspension of Southgate police Officer Brian Klonowski:

After seeing pictures of the woman he brutally beat, I'll make sure I do all in my power not to drive through the city of Southgate.

As a female, I would be terrified to be stopped by this obvious bully. No excuses. He is a police officer and he should have been fired for his behavior.

Mayor Dennis David has shown us all that policemen are definitely above the law by reinstating him. That's disgusting.
Diane Bruno
Riverview

Mayor seems too friendly to officer
To the Editor: It must be nice to have the mayor of your city go to bat for you when you're convicted of a crime, especially if you're a police officer and it happens in the same city you're charged with enforcing the law.

That apparently is what happened in the case of Southgate police Officer Brian Klonowski.

After pleading no contest to aggravated assault last summer in the brutal beating of a woman in Romulus, Klonowski was sentenced by a district court to fines, court costs and 18 months probation.

Then, appropriately, Southgate Police Chief Larry Hall suspended him from the police force for a year.

Now, Southgate Mayor Dennis David has ordered (Klonowski) to be reinstated to the force a full nine months before the completion of his departmental suspension.

David claims that he ordered the suspension reduced because the police chief had previously offered Klonowski a 90-day suspension.

In a published report, Hall calls that claim "absolute garbage."

To add further insult to the crime, Klonowski was allowed to work as a technician in Southgate's 28th District Court while on probation.

The questions here are obvious:

What business does the mayor have in the internal affairs of the Police Department in an affair such as this?

How was Klonowski able to secure employment at the city's district court while on probation?

What connection does David have with Klonowski?

Is Klonowski friends with the mayor's kids? Did they grow up down the street from each other? Are Klonowski's parents friends with the mayor?

Did Klonowski contribute to the mayor's election campaign? Did he work for the campaign?

Did Klonowski play sports at the mayor's alma mater?

Does Klonowski shine the mayor's shoes?

The mayor defended Klonowski, calling him "a good officer." How does he know that unless he knows Klonowski well? I certainly doubt Klonowski was ever part of any security detail assigned to the mayor of Southgate.

Whatever the answers, it doesn't change the fact that David's actions are an insult and an affront to crime victims everywhere, as well as to the police chief and other Southgate police officers.

Of the crime victim's injuries, all David could say was: "She got a beating, and I am sorry it happened, but we all have to move forward."

This is outrageous. At the very least, a move to recall David should be initiated, and Klonowski should be made to serve his year suspension, if not an outright termination.
Brian Lucas
Plymouth


What if the victim was your relative?
To the Editor: I just cannot believe that Southgate Mayor Dennis David would reinstate police Officer Brian Klonowski with the Southgate Police Department.

Maybe if it was the mayor's daughter or his niece who was the one taking the beating, he would not be so quick to give Klonowski his job back.

It is pretty sad when a police officer can just sit on someone and punch them numerous times in the eye, and it takes four people to pull him off, and all he gets is one-year (suspension). Then, after serving only three months, he gets his job back.

What kind of world are we living in when we let police officers go around beating people up for no good reason and get away with it?

It is just sickening. Police officers, if anyone, should know better.

David can state all he wants that his reinstating Klonowski has nothing to do with them being friends or Klonowski politically supporting him, but I, for one, do not believe it for a minute.

It is real nice to know that there is a martial arts black belt who likes to beat up women serving on the Southgate police force.

Thank you very much, mayor, for giving him his job back.

Maybe next time it will be one of your relatives who takes the beating from Klonowski.

Maybe Southgate residents should rethink their choice of candidates when the next election comes up.
Michele Cloutier
Lincoln Park













Support shown for mayor's action
Published: Sunday, January 16, 2005
By Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/01/16/localnews/20050116-archive8.txt

SOUTHGATE — There was a strong show of support at Wednesday's City Council meeting for the decision to return a suspended police officer to the force.

Most who made comments to the council said Mayor Dennis David's reduction of Officer Brian Klonowski's suspension was the right call.

Klonowski, 32, returned to work this week after his suspension from the Police Department for an assault was reduced from a year to 90 days.

Police Chief Larry Hall opposed the mayor's action, saying that the decision will make it harder to punish any wrongdoing in the future.

But resident Theresa Grzechowski said the fact that Klonowski is complying with all other legal stipulations should count for something.

"If he's fulfilling every requirement by law, at what point will that be accepted?" she said.

"Is he never going to be forgiven and allowed to move on?"

Officer David Davis said his fellow cop deserves a chance to move on with his life.

"I've known him longer than anyone in the department," Davis said. "I feel he's getting a raw deal."No one is taking Klonowski's side except the mayor, he added.

"He's never gone looking for a fight because he knows what he can do," Davis said.

Klonowski is a kick boxer trained in martial arts.

Several council members said they have heard negative comments from the public about the decision.

Councilwoman Patricia Ganzberger said it was the biggest stir she'd seen during her time on the council.

"I apologize to the people because of the embarrassment," she said. "The council had nothing to do with the call."

Council President John Graziani said the incident shouldn't detract from the city.

"I still think we have a great city and an excellent Police Department," Graziani said.

The decision rested with the mayor, who has done a fine job overall leading the city, he added.

Klonowski pleaded no contest to hitting a woman at a birthday party in Romulus last April.

He is serving 18 months' probation through 34th District Court in Romulus.

He paid court fines, served 30 days on a work program, 60 days on a tether program and underwent anger-management and alcohol counseling.







Chief says suspension should stay
Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2005
By Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/01/12/police/20050112-archive0.txt

SOUTHGATE -- The decision to reduce a suspension for a police officer convicted of assault is making waves in the community.

Officer Brian Klonowski, who was three months into a one-year suspension for punching a woman at a party in April, returned to duty Monday. He was off duty at the time of the incident.

Mayor Dennis David decided last Wednesday to reduce the suspension to 90 days.

The mayor said he made the decision after learning that a 90-day suspension originally had been offered to Klonowski.

But Police Chief Larry Hall said there was no such offer.

"That is absolutely untrue," Hall said.

The shortened suspension is meeting with public outcry and Hall said the decision will make it harder to punish any wrongdoing in the future.

He said he's been besieged with calls and e-mails since the decision was announced.

"Even though it was off duty, he still represents this city," Hall said. "My initial reaction was that he should be terminated."

But city administrators disagreed, saying that people should have some sympathy for the officer, too.

Klonowski, a kick boxer trained in martial arts, was suspended without pay from the Police Department in October.

He pleaded no contest to assaulting Gina Falconer of Dearborn Heights at a birthday party in Romulus.Falconer, who met Klonowski for the first time the night of the brawl, said he was harassing her at the party and she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle.

According to Klonowski's attorney, Michael Rataj, he was defending himself after Falconer began swinging the bottle at him.

Klonowski is serving 18 months' probation for the conviction through 34th District Court in Romulus.

He also must pay court fines and costs, serve 30 days on the court's work program, 60 days on a tether program and complete anger- management and alcohol counseling.

                   







OURS
The News- Herald
Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2005
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/01/12/opinions/20050112-archive.txt

Suspension
Reduced penalty sends wrong message

Southgate police Officer Brian Klonowski was scheduled to return to work Monday after a one-year suspension from the force, due to an assault conviction, was reduced to 90 days by the mayor's office. In a position where a solid public image means everything, the reduction of the suspension is nothing less than stunning.

Klonowski, 32, found himself in plenty of trouble after he was arrested at a party in Romulus during off-duty hours. According to police reports, he kept harassing a woman at the party and she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle, although she did not have the bottle in her hand at the time. Instead, he picked her up, threw her down and punched her several times, breaking her nose and a bone above her eye.

He eventually pleaded no contest to the assault charge and was sentenced to 18 months probation among other penalties.

After negotiations among city administrators, Police Chief Larry Hall, Klonowski and the Police Officers Labor Council, the officer was suspended for one year, until Oct. 10. Hall wanted him fired at time, but that effort died for lack of support.

In overruling the one-year suspension agreement and reducing it, Mayor Dennis David -- a former police officer -- contended that Hall originally had offered a 90-day suspension, but then reneged on the deal.

Hall said he was "astonished" with David's reduction of the suspension and contends that he never offered a 90-day suspension. He wanted Klonowski fired, and even refused to sign the suspension agreement for that reason.

Given the response that the reduction in the suspension has received thus far, the mayor has a tough sell. The response coming into this newspaper's offices has been overwhelmingly against the reduction.

It can't help public perceptions of the matter that while Klonowski was serving his suspension from the Southgate Police Department, the 28th District Court's probation department hired him. The court is in Southgate, and it appears that two branches of government were not working for the common good of the public.

Mayor David said that if anyone has "a beef" with his decision, it lies with his office. However, what the mayor isn't taking into account is that his actions affect a wide variety of departments, and, worse yet, could set precedent in future disciplinary actions by future mayors and chiefs.

After assaulting the woman at the party, Klonowski was fortunate to still have a job as a police officer. A reduction in his suspension from one year to 90 days makes no sense.














Mayor reduces cop's 1-year penalty
Published: Sunday, January 09, 2005
By Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2005/01/09/localnews/20050109-archive15.txt

SOUTHGATE — A police officer suspended for his conviction in an assault case will be back on the force tomorrow.

Officer Brian Klonowski was serving a one-year suspension for punching a woman at a party, but Mayor Dennis David decided Wednesday to reduce that punishment to 90 days.

That puts Klonowski back to work on the afternoon shift tomorrow. He would have remained off the force until Oct. 10 under the one-year suspension.

David said he made the call after investigating the matter further and finding that Klonowski originally was offered a 90-day suspension.

"He was willing to accept that, but when he came back, the chief said either a year or termination so they accepted that begrudgingly," David said.

The matter originally was settled through negotiations with city administrators, Police Chief Larry Hall, Klonowski and his union, the Police Officers Labor Council.

While David said he doesn't condone the officer's actions, he believes the adjustment is fair.

"I feel that if an offer is put on the table, then it's a genuine offer and not subject to be rescinded," he said.

Hall said Thursday that he was extremely disappointed with the decision.

"To me, this is nothing short of astonishing," he said. "This represents an affront to the female victim and creates the perception that misconduct is tolerated in the Southgate Police Department."

It also sets a "dangerous precedent" for future situations, according to the chief.

"We are the people entrusted to enforce laws and maintain order," he said.

Hall said the city should adhere to the Sept. 22 agreement signed by Klonowski, David and the police union.

David, a former police officer with the city, said the decision rests squarely on his shoulders.

"If any citizens have a beef with anybody, it lies with me," David said.

The 32-year-old Klonowski was suspended without pay in October after he was convicted of assaulting Gina Falconer at a party in Romulus.

According to police, Klonowski harassed the Dearborn Heights woman at the party.

When she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle, he punched her in the face. She suffered a broken nose and a broken bone above her eye.

Klonowski pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to 18 months' probation by 34th District Judge Brian Oakley on Aug. 5.

He also must pay court fines and costs, serve 30 days on the court's work program, 60 days on a tether program and complete anger- management and alcohol counseling.

Falconer, 24, said she was at a loss for words upon hearing of the 90-day suspension.

"You always hear that cops look out for their own," she said. "I guess it's true.

"This is a shock for the citizens of Southgate because they're the ones paying for it."

Questions arose late last month over Klonowski's employment as a drug screener for the probation department of 28th District Court.

Some city officials said the situation wasn't proper, but court officials defended the action, saying that Klonowski's case had nothing to do with that court.

Klonowski's attorney, Michael Rataj, said the decision to reduce his suspension was warranted.

"The mayor did the right thing," Rataj said. "Brian should be put back to work. He's paid his debt to society."

He said the original 90-day suspension offer shouldn't have been withdrawn.

"It was all set in stone and then the chief decided to pull it off the table," Rataj said.

He maintains that Klonowski was defending himself during the altercation.

"You've got a right to defend yourself if you're about to get hit with a beer bottle," Rataj said.

"There was a lot about the case that didn't come out and it should've went to trial."

But Klonowski is making an effort to put the incident behind him, his attorney said.

This isn't the first time in the city's history that a mayor has used his authority to supersede that of the Police Department.

In the early 1980s, former Mayor William Brainard and Police Chief Robert Perrin were at odds.

Brainard overruled a nonpersonnel decision made by Perrin at the time.

Perrin, who now serves on the city's Police and Fire Civil Service Commission, said he doesn't agree with this latest decision.

He points to an opinion from a former city attorney that says the mayor only is considered the chief law enforcement official during an emergency.

"If they are putting the guy back on (the force), that is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of," Perrin said.

"It's nothing but a reflection on the good cops of the department."












Martial arts expert who beat woman savagely is back on the police force
Chief angered by officer's return
BY JOEL THURTELL
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
January 8, 2005
http://www.freep.com/cgi-bin/forms/printerfriendly.pl

If Brian Klonowski wants to put on the uniform and badge of a Southgate cop Monday afternoon, Chief Larry Hall can't stop him. But Hall says he's angry that Mayor Dennis David ordered the 32-year-old officer's return to the force Wednesday, nine months shy of the year's suspension Hall ordered after Klonowski pleaded no contest last summer to a charge of aggravated assault in the beating of a woman in Romulus.

Klonowski, a kick boxer and martial arts expert, answered the charge July 22 in 34th District Court in Romulus. Judge Brian Oakley sentenced Klonowski to $2,000 in fines and costs, 30 days in a work program, 60 days on an electronic tether and 18 months of probation. For purposes of sentencing, a no-contest plea is treated like a guilty plea. "It's really sickening -- it's unbelievable," Hall said Thursday. "It creates the perception that misconduct is tolerated in the Southgate Police Department."

Klonowski's reinstatement is an affront to the woman he beat at a birthday party April 25, Hall said. Klonowski attacked 24-year-old Gina Falconer of Dearborn Heights, fracturing her right cheek and causing a hemorrhage to her right eye requiring stitches, Hall said.

Hall said that, according to information he received from Romulus police, Klonowski had been drinking April 25 at a birthday party in Romulus and attacked 24-year-old Gina Falconer of Dearborn Heights. "He beat her bad," Hall said. "Her eye was laid wide open. Now, they have him taking urine samples." Klonowski is a kick boxer and a martial arts expert, Hall said.

Hall said Klonowski didn't know Falconer but bothered her throughout the party, regaling her with tales of his fighting prowess. Falconer was scared and told Klonowski several times to stop bothering her, finally threatening to hit him with a beer bottle, Hall said. Klonowski hit her several times. "Then he left the scene of the crime," Hall said.

David confirmed Friday that he changed Klonowski's 1-year suspension to 90 days, which will expire Monday, when Klonowski can again put on his holster and gun as a member of the 40-person department. Klonowski could not be reached Friday for comment.

Last month, Hall expressed outrage when he learned that Klonowski was working at the 28th District Court in Southgate as a technician testing urine samples of people on probation for drug and alcohol offenses. At the time, Hall remarked, "How about one criminal overseeing others?" And at the same time, David defended Klonowski as "a good officer." David said he reduced Klonowski's probation to 90 days because Hall had offered the shorter period during bargaining with Klonowski over his punishment. "Credibility is No. 1, and if the chief puts an offer on the table that is 90 days, he should be prepared to stand by that," David said.

"That's utter, absolute garbage," Hall said. During the negotiations, he said, he threatened to fire Klonowski but never offered a 90-day suspension. David said he had nothing to do with Klonowski's hiring at the court. As to Klonowski serving while on probation, David said other officers have worn the Southgate badge while serving court-ordered probation. "We've had other officers commit crimes, but not assaultive crimes, and they have been given a minimum of a year off," Hall said.

Of Falconer's injuries, David said, "She got a beating, and I am sorry it happened, but we all have to move forward." Hall said he's perplexed, disappointed and angry. "What does that tell people out there who've had an encounter with the police?" Hall said. "It's almost like something you'd see in a bad television series and, after half an hour, you'd say, 'Thank God this is not real.' But this is real."














Southgate Cop Reinstated After Beating Woman
Mayor Defends Police Officer
POSTED: 8:14 pm EST January 7, 2005
UPDATED: 9:31 pm EST January 7, 2005
http://216.109.125.130/search/cacheei=UTF8&p=Officer+Brian+Klonowski+Southgate+Michigan&fr=srch_more&u=www.clickondetroit.com/news/4063781/detail.html&w=officer+officers+brian+klonowski+southgate+michigan&d=fKrg1LXiP-fT&icp=1&.intl=us

A Southgate police officer will return to work on Monday after serving only three months of a one-year suspension for beating a 24-year-old woman, Local 4 reported.

Officer Brian Klonowski, 32, was placed on probation and suspended from the force for one year after he pleaded no contest to an assault charge in October.

The city's mayor, Dennis David, reinstated Klonowski without restrictions on Friday.

Southgate Police Chief Larry Hall was furious with David's decision, the station reported.

"This is not some love tap. This is not some shoving match. This is a martial artist, black belt, who just beat the hell out of a girl," Hall said.

The assault occurred at a birthday party at a bar last April. The victim, Gina Falconer, who was tending bar that night, said Klonowski attacked her after she refused his advances toward her.

"He yanked me out of my chair by my shirt, threw me on the ground, sat on me and started punching me, not once, not twice, three times in the eye," Falconer said. "It took four people to get him off me."

Falconer said a local journalist informed her Friday of Klonowski's reinstatement.

"He's going to be a cop? They're going to give him a gun? He's got a mental problem," Falconer said.

David told Local 4 that people should have some sympathy for the police officer.

"No one has taken his side at all on this issue aside from myself and I'd just like to see someone put themselves in his shoes for once while they're addressing this issue," David said.

David admitted that he and Klonowski once served together on the Southgate police force and that Klonowski is a friend and political supporter, the station reported. But the mayor said his decision was not based on politics.

"His side of the story is that she swung a beer bottle at him and he responded," David said. "I think he'll come back a better man for it. He beat this girl up. He's sorry that he did it."

Klonowski is scheduled to return to work as a police officer Monday afternoon.












Letters to the Editor
Suspended officer should be jobless
PUBLISHED: January 5, 2005
http://www.thenewsherald.com/stories/010505/opi_20050105012.shtml

To the Editor:
The Dec. 22 story, "Suspended officer working in court," describes how Southgate Officer Brian Klonowski beat a woman during a party and then fled the scene.

On Aug. 5, 34th District Judge Brian Oakley sentenced Klonowski to $2,000 in fines and court costs, 30 days in a work program, 60 days on a tether program and 18 months probation.

Subsequently, the Southgate police chief suspended Klonowski for one year without pay.

The very next day, Klonowski was given a court-appointed job by Maria Nevalo, magistrate of the 28th District Court in Southgate. The story goes on to indicate how the police chief was not even consulted prior to the court hiring Klonowski.

If the woman who Klonowski beat had been a relative of Nevalo, would Nevalo still have hired him?

The bottom line is that this simply does not pass any sort of rational litmus test.

If I had a vote in this matter, Nevalo would not be in office.

Jeffrey Push
Riverview











Suspended officer working in court
By Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
December 22, 2004
http://www.thenewsherald.com/stories/122204/loc_20041222006.shtml

SOUTHGATE — A police officer serving a year's suspension from the department now has a new job at 28th District Court.

Officer Brian Klonowski, 32, who was suspended without pay in October for being convicted in an assault case, has been working in the court's drug screening department for several months.

Klonowski was arrested April 25 for punching Gina Falconer of Dearborn Heights while off duty at a party in Romulus.

According to police, Klonowski had been bothering Falconer at the party and attacked her after she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle.

He pleaded no contest to an assault charge and was sentenced to 18 months probation by 34th District Judge Brian Oakley on Aug. 5.

Klonowski also must serve 30 days on the court's work program, 60 days on a tether program and complete anger-management and alcohol counseling.

In addition, he is responsible for $2,000 in fines and court costs.

Police Chief Larry Hall said he was shocked when he learned of Klonowski's new job last week.

"You betray the public trust when you break the law, and you have to earn that back," Hall said. "One of the typical ways to do that is to be punished."

Hall said he doesn't believe it is appropriate for Klonowski to be screening people for alcohol and drug use when he was found to be drinking at the party. "It sends a mixed message as to what we try to do with officers who've done wrong," Hall said.

Court Administrator Maria Nevalo hired Klonowski in November and said the incident in Romulus had nothing to do with the decision. "This was not even a case that went through this court," Nevalo said.

She said having Klonowski working as a drug screener has benefited the court.

"It's been a hugely positive thing," she said. "He's gotten a good reception from the defendants."

Judge James Kandrevas declined to comment on the matter, citing an unrelated lawsuit he has against Hall.

City Administrator George Mans said the court is responsible for its own hiring practices.

"The city and court are two different entities," Mans said. "He's paying his debt to society by serving probation, but he's also trying to make a living."











Officer suspended after assault
By Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
PUBLISHED: October 13, 2004
http://www.thenewsherald.com/stories/101304/loc_20041013007.shtml

SOUTHGATE — The Police Department will have one less officer for the next year.

Officer Brian Klonowski was suspended for a year after pleading no contest to an assault charge.

He was arrested April 25 for punching a Dearborn Heights woman while off-duty at a party in Romulus.

Gina Falconer suffered a broken nose and a broken bone above her eye.

According to police, Klonowski punched Falconer after she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle.

He has been with the department for eight years and works as a patrolman.

After the incident, he was reassigned to desk duty and required to turn in his badge and gun.

Klonowski, 32, was charged with a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault.

He appeared before Judge Brian Oakley in 34th District Court on Aug. 5 and was sentenced to 18 months probation.

Klonowski also must serve 30 days on the court's work program, 60 days on a tether program and complete anger management and alcohol counseling.

In addition, he is responsible for $2,000 in fines and court costs.

The charge carried a maximum sentence of a year in jail and/or a $500 fine.

As a result, Klonowski also was suspended for a year beginning today without pay from the department.

"He will have no police powers and no authority to carry a handgun," Police Chief Larry Hall said. He added that Klonowski must successfully satisfy all conditions of his probation before being allowed back on the force. "Failure to do so will result in his termination," Hall said.

"I believe in holding police officers to the highest of standards.

"When an officer does something to discredit this department and the city, they are going to be dealt with in a very strict manner."

Upon returning to the force, he will be on probation for another year.

Both the union and Klonowski agreed to the terms of the suspension.












Officer's hearing delayed until June
Published: Sunday, May 23, 2004
Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2004/05/23/police/20040523-archive7.txt

ROMULUS -- A Southgate police officer's day in court was pushed back a little further.

Officer Brian Klonowski is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly hitting a woman while he was off duty at a party.

His pretrial hearing was adjourned May 13 before Judge Brian Oakley in 34th District Court and rescheduled for June 3.

Klonowski, 32, faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated assault, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Romulus police arrested him April 25 after a Dearborn Heights woman said he punched her in the face at the party.

According to police, he allegedly struck the woman after she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle.

No weapons were involved in the incident but police said alcohol did play a role.

Klonowski has been with the department for eight years as a patrolman.

He was reassigned to desk duty until the case is resolved.









Officer held after weekend assault
Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Andrea Blum
The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2004/04/28/localnews/20040428-archive6.txt

SOUTHGATE -- An off-duty police officer was charged Monday with assault for allegedly punching a woman at a weekend party.

Brian Klonowski, 32, faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated assault, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Romulus police arrested him early Sunday after Gina Falconer, 24, of Dearborn Heights said he punched her in the face at the party.

She suffered a broken nose and a broken bone above her eye as a result of the altercation.

She was treated at Heritage Hospital in Taylor and released.

According to police, Klonowski allegedly punched Falconer after she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle.

"He said he acted out of fear that he would be struck by her with the bottle, but that is an issue of great contention by witnesses," Police Chief Larry Hall said.

Klonowski was arraigned Monday before Judge Brian Oakley in 34th District Court and released on a personal bond.

He is due back in court May 13.

Klonowski, who is single, has been with the department for eight years and works as a patrolman.

He has been reassigned to desk duty pending the outcome of the case, according to Hall, and he turned in his badge and gun.

"It's always disappointing when something like this happens," Hall said, "but we have to put the best interests of the community first."

When the case is resolved, Hall will decide on possible further discipline. He added that Klonowski hasn't faced criminal charges before.

No weapons were involved and alcohol was a factor in the incident, police said.