Saturday, October 30, 2004

Officer Steve Martinez - Muskegon PD

Muskegon Police Officer Steve Martinez was arrested and charged for misdemeanor domestic violence. Martinez was dismissed from the Muskegon PD, after an internal investigation into the assault. Muskegon's Director of Public Safety, Tony Kleibecker stated, "This type of behavior will not be tolerated...By engaging in this misconduct, he has forfeited the privilege of serving our community as a police officer."












Cop charged in assault fired from city position
Thursday, November 11, 2004
By Lisa Medendorp
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
http://www.mlive.com/news/muchronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1100191519192560.xml

A 32-year-old Muskegon police officer who entered a not guilty plea last week to a domestic violence charge was fired Wednesday.

Steve Martinez, who had nine years on the force, was "terminated" after Director of Public Safety Tony Kleibecker said he reviewed his department's internal affairs report.

Martinez was arraigned Nov. 2 in 60th District Court on the misdemeanor assault charge. He is charged with assaulting his girlfriend on Oct. 30 at the apartment they shared at 750 W. Grand Avenue and had been suspended without pay since the incident.

Kleibecker said earlier that the department's internal investigation of the incident was separate from the criminal case. The internal affairs report was turned over to Kleibecker Nov. 4.

"This type of behavior will not be tolerated," Kleibecker said. "By engaging in this misconduct, he has forfeited the privilege of serving our community as a police officer."

Kleibecker also said Martinez has not had any disciplinary action taken against him during the 41/2 years Kleibecker has headed the police department.

Officer Michael Addicott, local president of the Police Officers Labor Council, said a grievance will be filed by the union on Martinez's termination within the next 12 days. "We will file the grievance with the understanding that any possible arbitration has to be after the criminal matter is resolved," he said.

Kleibecker said there was no need to wait for the court case to conclude before taking action agaist Martinez because of the information that was uncovered during the internal investigation. He declined to discuss specifics of what the internal investigation found.

"For the internal review, I have to take into consideration the facts that we've put together through our investigation, look at the totality of the circumstances and make a decision based upon that," Kleibecker said. "For me, there's not a legal requirement of a certain level of proof necessary."

Addicott said Martinez denies the allegations and wants to continue to be a Muskegon police officer. "In the grievance, the request will be for his return to the position of police officer, that he receive any money lost and all benefits, and that the matter be expunged from his personnel file."

Martinez was fired following a hearing Wednesday morning, during which his attorney, David Shafer, was present. Shafer said he was aware of alleged reasons for Martinez's termination, and that he found it "embarrassing that the chief law enforcement officer for the city of Muskegon sits as the judge, jury and executioner on a case that's never been decided in a court of law."

Shafer, who has represented other Muskegon officers who were disciplined by the department, added: "It's no secret that morale is at an all-time low among the road patrol officers."

The attorney said the current administration at the department was "either on a house-cleaning mission or has very little concern for the rights of officers."

Shafer said one of the main reasons for Martinez's termination was because department officials believed he was dishonest in answering questions as to whether somebody leaked information to him from a department report prior to his statement to internal affairs.

"This is not true," Shafer said. "I've been involved in a number of cases both representing police officers and pursuing officers for misconduct. In this particular case, the (internal) investigation and termination occurred much more swiftly than in any of those cases," Shafer said.

Martinez remains free on $300 bond.













Officer pleads not guilty to domestic violence
Thursday, November 04, 2004
By Lisa Medendorp
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
http://www.mlive.com/news/muchronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1099586799290400.xml

A Muskegon police officer who was arrested for domestic violence last weekend appeared for 60th District Court arraignment Tuesday.

Steve Martinez, 32, was suspended without pay following his arrest Saturday and posted a $300 surety bond after being taken to the Ottawa County Jail.

Martinez was given an arraignment date of Nov. 15 on the misdemeanor charge, but attorney David Shafer had his client appear Tuesday before visiting Judge Richard J. Pasarela. The officer entered a not guilty plea.

Martinez, who works an overnight shift, is accused of assaulting his girlfriend -- hitting her with his fists and kicking her -- after returning home from socializing at the Marine Tap Room, according to a Michigan State Police report.

Shafer, after noting that "in our great country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty," added: "We believe that after a reasonable trier of fact hears all the evidence, Mr. Martinez will be acquitted."

Although the 22-year-old woman contacted Muskegon police after the alleged assault, the investigation was turned over to state police to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

The state police report said the woman had obvious injuries, including an abrasion to the right side of her face, a swollen lip and a swollen eye. The same report also said Martinez had a chin laceration and abrasions on the underside of his right forearm.

Tony Kleibecker, Muskegon's director of public safety, said he hopes to have the department's internal investigation completed by the end of the week, and a decision about the officer's status could be made next week. Shafer said Martinez has a nine-year history with the Muskegon Police Department.

"He's well thought of by fellow officers, he's committed to serving the public, and he sincerely hopes that after the criminal case is behind him, he will be able to continue to serve the public."

The assault allegedly occurred early Saturday afternoon at the apartment Martinez shared with his girlfriend at 750 W. Grand. The state police report said the two had been dating since late July, but that he had just moved in with her the day before the incident.

The state police report said Martinez called his girlfriend from the Marine Tap Room, 1983 Lakeshore, wanting her to join him. She told the state police trooper who interviewed her that he wanted her to drive him home. She went into the bar and was introduced to a relative of the officer's as well as Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington, who owns the bar. She allegedly left the bar because of Martinez's behavior toward her, and they wound up driving home separately.

Kleibecker said earlier that the two argued and the argument became physical. She alleged in the state police report that he punched her in the face and kicked her, pulling out her false hair braids as well.

The state police report said she was able to get away from him and ran out of the house to get help.

Another tenant in the apartment building told police about hearing a commotion in the apartment shared by Martinez and the woman. Martinez chose not to make a statement to investigating officers. He remains free on bond.

A condition of the bond that he have no contact with the victim was dropped at her request, court records show.

During an interview with state police, the woman said she had been"scared," and "thought she was going to die." But she also said she did not want Martinez to lose his job according to the report.

A pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 16 before Magistrate John Wiewiora. Conviction on an assault and battery/domestic violence charge carries a possible sentence of 93 days in the county jail.














Police officer arrested on an assault charge
Monday, November 01, 2004
By Lisa Medendorp
THE MUSKEGON CHRONICLE
http://www.mlive.com/news/muchronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1099334861162780.xml

A Muskegon police officer was arrested for domestic violence Saturday when his live-in girlfriend called 911 following an alleged assault.

Officer Steve Martinez, 32, was lodged in the Ottawa County Jail and later bonded out. A warrant charging the nine-year veteran with domestic assault with issued Sunday, according to the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office.

Arraignment on the misdemeanor charge is expected later this month. No date was available this morning.

Tony Kleibecker, Muskegon's director of public safety, said the officer has been suspended without pay pending the results of an internal investigation. That investigation is expected to conclude later this week.

The woman, who lives with Martinez in the 700 block of West Grand Avenue, called Central Dispatch between 1-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Kleibecker said. "She said she had been assaulted and the person who assaulted her was one of our officers," he said.

She was advised to come to the Muskegon Police Department. Once there, the decision was made to call the Michigan State Police in to handle the investigation, Kleibecker said. He said the woman had physical injuries, but she did not require medical treatment.

State police this morning said the woman had facial injuries.

Kleibecker said the two argued and the argument became physical. He said the officer did not have any apparent injuries.

After state police took a taped statement, "we went to the residence and arrested him for domestic violence," Kleibecker said. He said the officer's service weapons also were confiscated.

The internal investigation will run separately, but parallel to any criminal investigation, Kleibecker said.



[MI POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED PERPETRATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW ENFORCEMENT MURDER SUICIDE]

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Deputy Benjamin Valley - Osceola SD










On the weekend of October 16th, an "alleged incident" occured between Osceola County Sheriff Deputy Benjamin Valley and his girlfriend.....











The weekend of October 23rd, Deputy Valley's girlfriend did not want to see him, due to the "incident" that had occured the previous weekend. Deputy Valley was arrested on October 25th, after he was caught watching his girlfriend's house. Valley was charged with felony stalking; possession of a firearm with unlawful intent and felony firearm. 










Part-time deputy arrested
Cadillac News
Oct 28, 2004
http://www.cadillacnews.com/articles/2004/10/28/news/news04.txt

BIG RAPIDS - A 22-year-old part-time Osceola County Sheriff's Department deputy was arrested on charges of felony stalking, possession of a firearm with unlawful intent and felony firearm.

Benjamin Wayne Valley of Tustin was arrested Monday by Big Rapids Department of Public Safety after Valley was reportedly watching his ex-girlfriend's apartment on Morrison Street.

According to a Big Rapids press release, Valley traveled to Big Rapids to contact his ex-girlfriend. However, she did not want to see him due to an alleged incident that occurred the weekend before.

The incident is still under investigation and Valley will be removed from the department's roster.


[MI POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED PERPETRATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW ENFORCEMENT MURDER SUICIDE]

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Deputy Benjamin Valley - Osceola SD










On the weekend of October 16th, an "alleged incident" occured between Osceola County Sheriff Deputy Benjamin Valley and his girlfriend.....











The weekend of October 23rd, Deputy Valley's girlfriend did not want to see him, due to the "incident" that had occured the previous weekend. Deputy Valley was arrested on October 25th, after he was caught watching his girlfriend's house. Valley was charged with felony stalking; possession of a firearm with unlawful intent and felony firearm. 










Part-time deputy arrested
Cadillac News
Oct 28, 2004
http://www.cadillacnews.com/articles/2004/10/28/news/news04.txt

BIG RAPIDS - A 22-year-old part-time Osceola County Sheriff's Department deputy was arrested on charges of felony stalking, possession of a firearm with unlawful intent and felony firearm.

Benjamin Wayne Valley of Tustin was arrested Monday by Big Rapids Department of Public Safety after Valley was reportedly watching his ex-girlfriend's apartment on Morrison Street.

According to a Big Rapids press release, Valley traveled to Big Rapids to contact his ex-girlfriend. However, she did not want to see him due to an alleged incident that occurred the weekend before.

The incident is still under investigation and Valley will be removed from the department's roster.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Officer Antonio Barber - Flint PD

IN 2004, OFFICER ANTONIO WAS FIRED FROM THE FLINT POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR TAKING A VIDEO GAME DURING A DRUG RAID.....



....IN JULY 2008, BARBER HELD HIS GIRLFRIEND AND HER 2 SONS AT GUNPOINT DURING A DOMESTIC. BARBER RELEASED HIS HOSTAGES, AND THEN KILLED HIMSELF. BARBER'S FATHER BLAMES THE FLINT PD FIRING OF ANTONIO BARBER FOR THE JULY 2008 DEADLY DOMESTIC....

Former Flint Police Officer Antonio Barber commits sucide:
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2008/07/officer-antonio-barber-flint-police.html







Standoff ends, former police officer found dead
Police say investigation is ongoing
Friday, July 25, 2008 12:18 PM
ABC12 News
http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=6286601#bodyText

MUNDY TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -- (07/25/08)--What started as a normal day for dozens of residents at Maple Park Terrace apartments ended with a forced lockdown as police tried to negotiate with a possible barricaded gunman.

The situation started around 3 Thursday afternoon at the Maple Park Terrace apartment complex in Genesee County, just off of West Maple Avenue in Mundy Township.

Four buildings within the complex were evacuated.

It came to an end after 11 last night, when officers found the man inside dead.

Terry Barber has identified the man as his son, former Flint Police Officer Antonio Barber, 39.

"They did let me go over there and try to talk him out, but I felt it was too late then. He wouldn't, he wouldn't pick up the phone, but I did talk to him earlier, and he did call me several times on my cell phone, but I didn't have my phone. The officer had my phone," Barber said.

"The team went inside, checked, and found the suspect deceased. There were no shots fired by any of the officers on the scene," said Mundy Township Police Chief James Petres.

Police say the situation began as a domestic disturbance, and Barber was apparently holding his girlfriend and her two sons hostage inside the apartment.

At some point in the afternoon, the hostages were let go, unharmed.

Barber's father says his son loved being a police officer. He was let go from the department after being accused of stealing a video game during a drug raid.

The criminal charges were dropped, but Barber never rejoined the police department.

Barber's father says he blames Flint Mayor Don Williamson for his son's death, adding the mayor wouldn't let him back on the force.

The mayor says that's a lie. He says Barber was offered the same deal as was offered to others to come back to work, but he instead chose arbitration and lost.

He calls Barber's death a tragedy.











Police union asks judge to open probe records
Flint Journal
July 13, 2006:
http://blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/2008/07/flint_journal_files_articles_related_to_antonio_barber.html

FLINT, Michigan - The Flint Police Officers Association is asking a Genesee County Circuit Court judge to order the release of an internal investigation into allegations that police supervisors allowed officers to take home DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes seized in drug raids.

The union claims the city violated the state Freedom of Information Act request when it refused to give it a copy of the investigation report.

Union president Keith Speer believes the city is sitting on the report because it may contain findings that current and former supervisors were involved in the mishandling of evidence.

Former officer Antonio Barber was charged with theft and fired but, so far, no other officers have lost their jobs.

If Barber gets his job back, the union said it will drop the lawsuit."I'm not interested in digging up old skeletons," said Speer.

So far, the city has balked at turning over the report or putting Barber back on the force.

The city fired Barber last year for taking a "Madden 2005" video game that had been seized in a drug raid.

Felony charges against Barber were dropped in May after Genesee County Prosecutor David S. Leyton said undercover Flint cops routinely borrowed video games and movies seized from suspected drug houses.

Leyton said it would have been unfair to single out Barber for the practice.

Acting Flint police Chief Gary Hagler has said he put an end to the practice when he found out about it.

Shortly after Barber's case was dismissed in May, the Flint Police Officers Association filed a FOIA for the report.The city refused, citing a provision in the law that exempts ongoing investigations.

The union contends the end of Barber's criminal case should have brought the matter to a close and filed its lawsuit late last month.

The union wants Genesee County Circuit Judge Judith A. Fullerton to order the city to release the report and pay damages.

City Attorney Trachelle Young referred questions on the lawsuit to assistant attorney Lorne Carignan, who could not be reached for comment.

Speer said the union wants to make sure Barber was not treated differently than other officers who were under investigation.

"If they only (fired) Antonio, why was he singled out?" said Speer.

The union is taking Barber's firing to arbitration, and Speer said the internal investigation could help him get his job back.

The city is expected to file a response to the lawsuit this month.Journal staff writer Robert Snell contributed to this report.








Ex-cop won't be charged with larceny
Flint Journal
May 18, 2006
http://blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/2008/07/flint_journal_files_articles_related_to_antonio_barber.html

Undercover Flint police officers routinely would take video games and movies seized from suspected drug houses, and a former cop charged with larceny shouldn't be singled out for the practice, said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.
Leyton dismissed charges against Antonio P. Barber after determining the officer was "borrowing" a video game, not stealing it.

Now cleared of felony charges, Barber believes he should be returned to the force, his attorney says."My belief is he expects to be put back on duty," said attorney Dennis R. Lazar.

Lazar said Barber deserves back pay for the 19 months following his wrongful firing.

Leyton said he dismissed the charges against Barber, 37, of Flint, after reviewing internal affairs documents from the Flint Police Department.

"We discovered that a number of Flint police officers had borrowed DVDs (taken during raids on suspected drug houses and other places) for personal use," Leyton said.

"It would be a miscarriage of justice for Antonio Barber to be singled out for prosecution."Leyton said after reviewing the case, he discovered it was an accepted practice for undercover cops to keep video games, movies on VHS tapes or DVDs "for personal use.""I believe that's improper," he said - but not criminal.

"I've been assured by (acting) Flint Police Chief Gary Hagler that this practice has stopped."

Hagler said he became aware that some seized videos were used by police, but he established a new policy prohibiting the personal use of any seized items.

Barber was charged with two counts of larceny from a building, 4-year felonies.

During an earlier hearing, police witnesses said Barber admitted taking a "Madden 2005" game disc after an October 2004 raid at a Damon Street drug house.

Leyton said charges were brought against Barber by former Prosecutor Arthur A. Busch, but as it went through the legal system, "I began asking questions."

Barber, a seven-year veteran at the time he was fired, is working through the Flint Police Officers Association to get his job back.

Hagler said no decision has been made yet regarding Barber's job status.Barber has been working at a Dort Highway restaurant and attending Mott Community College since his firing, Lazar said.










Charges latest blow to cops' image
From Flint Journal
Oct. 4, 2005:
http://blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/2008/07/flint_journal_files_articles_related_to_antonio_barber.html

FLINT, Michigan - Two Flint police officers accused of stealing money and drugs are the latest but not the first to tarnish the department's reputation.

In recent years, Flint officers have been accused of soliciting sex on the job, stealing a video game and beating a handcuffed man. They represent a small but all-too-visible part of the police force.

Flint Journal extras
Policing the police Recent incidents involving Flint police officers:

• LAWRENCE E. THOMAS: Put on 2 years' probation in December after pleading no contest to charges he packaged marijuana at his home and sold $100 worth to an informant. Also acquitted of assaulting a boy who threw a snowball at his car while off-duty, but the city paid $30,000 to the family of two boys involved in the incident.

• JEFF HAZZARD: Resigned earlier this year. The city paid $175,000 in settlements related to an incident in which men accused Hazzard and other officers of brutalizing suspects.

• TONY M. JONES: Sentenced to federal prison last year after pleading guilty to gambling conspiracy in a case that included allegations he used his job to protect illegal card and dice games. He was fired by the department.

• ANTONIO BARBER: An undercover narcotics officer, he was fired last year for allegedly stealing a Madden 2005 video game during a raid on a house.

• SCOTT BAKER: In August, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge for allegedly propositioning two women for sex while on duty in November 2003. If he stays out of trouble, the case will be dismissed in February, leaving his criminal record clean. As part of the deal, he resigned and will not seek reinstatement.

• JOHN M. SMITH: Pleaded guilty in September 2003 to disorderly behavior and assault and battery for striking his girlfriend and another woman with a wooden table leg during an argument. He was fired.

• OFFICERS CHRIS MARK AND RODNEY COOPER: Fired for allegedly violating department rules. But both were returned to the force through arbitration.

"I know the police department is a damn mess," Council President Johnnie Coleman said.

Fired by the department Monday were Officers Joseph T. Lechota, 29, of Flushing and Patrick M. Majestic, 36, of Swartz Creek. The two are accused of drug delivery, evidence tampering and misconduct in office and face pretrial hearings on the criminal charges this week in Flint District Court.

The pair are the latest in a series of Flint officers to resign or be fired for alleged misconduct over the past several years, although at least two of the fired officers regained their jobs through arbitration.

Some say police officers deal every day with the underbelly of society - and temptation.

"Police officers are virtually always bombarded throughout their career with big ethical issues," said Bruce Benson, a former deputy chief in Flint who now is a criminal justice associate professor at Michigan State University.

Still, Benson said his own research in Flint proves most officers have the best intentions. "The people in those jobs are there because they want to make a difference," he said.

Officers - current and former - bristle at the implication that the problems are anything but isolated incidents.

"It's tragic because I know these guys (in Flint). They are good officers, doing good work," said Brian Morley, an officer in Flint for four years and now a criminal defense attorney. "It's unfair. It's tough on the rest of them."

So, what makes a cop go bad?"I don't know. I wish I did," Benson said.

Every case is different, but a report to Congress in 1998 said profit, power and a sense of vigilante justice come into play in drug-related police corruption. Age and level of education also can be factors, it said.

Coleman said the recent arrests show how the department lacks leadership. He said he doesn't think Deputy Chief Gary Hagler is a bad leader, but said he lacks the organizational skills needed and hasn't been able to earn the respect of the entire department.

Hagler could not be reached for comment.

But Hagler released a statement saying Majestic is married to his niece.

"I want the public to know that I immediately removed myself from the internally initiated investigation," Hagler said in the release. "The federal authorities were immediately asked to participate in this investigation."

Coleman also said that while it shouldn't be an excuse for the officers' alleged crimes, the department is hurt by offering low wages and no raises in the past seven years. He said the city should give officers a raise before the issue goes into binding arbitration."

I hope the city doesn't win," he said. "I hope the city has to pay the officers."












Cop fired for allegedly stealing game during raid
Flint Journal
Oct. 14, 2004:
http://blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/2008/07/flint_journal_files_articles_related_to_antonio_barber.html

FLINT, Michigan - The temptation of the popular "Madden 2005" video game has cost an undercover narcotics officer his job.

A Flint police officer was fired Wednesday and now faces criminal charges after he allegedly stole the game during a drug raid last week.

But a union leader said the officer, Antonio Barber, denies he stole the game."

Officer Barber vehemently denies this, " said Keith Speer, president of the Flint Police Officers Association. "He believes he may have been set up."

Speer, however, said he expects to see more complaints or allegations of misconduct against other special operations officers in the future. But the problems start at the top, Speer said, and he's concerned that individual officers might be singled out unfairly. "I've got officers coming out of the woodwork who worked down in special operations and say, 'Let me tell you a story about this and that.' If we're going to clean house, let's clean the whole house."

Barber was fired Wednesday, the same day he was arraigned on larceny charges in Flint District Court.

Flint Police Chief Gary Hagler said the seven-year officer allegedly took the game during an Oct. 5 raid on a home on Damon Street.

"His activity was apparent to sergeants on scene," Hagler said.

The city's internal affairs and detective bureau were immediately called in, and the officer was booked on theft charges that night, Hagler said.

Barber had not been back to duty since the investigation began, Hagler said.

Speer said the union has shown good faith by dropping grievances over several discharges that were justifiable. The union went to arbitration five times this summer and won all of them, he said.







Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Officer Brian Klonowski - Suspended - Southgate PD







Officer Brian Klonowski - Conviction for OIDV [2004]:
04252004 - Officer Brian Klonowski - Southgate PD - Arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault - Assaulted Gina Falconer - Klonowski yanked Gina out of her chair; threw Gina to the ground; restrained Gina by sitting on top of her; punched Gina in the face. It took FOUR people to pull Officer Klonowski off of Gina - who suffered a hemorrhage to her eye, a broken nose, and a broken bone abover her eye.


08082004 - Officer Brain Klonowski - Sentenced - Southgate PD - Klonowski pleaded no-contenst to an assault charge. Klonowski was placed on probation for 18 months


10132004 - Officer Brian Klonowski - Suspended from Southgate PD for 1 year. HOWEVER, in December 2004, it was discovered that since Officer Klonowski arrest for assault, he had been working in the 28th District Court.















On April 24, 2004, Officer Brian 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.









On August 5, 2004, Officer Brian Klonowski pleaded no-contest to an assault charge. Klonowski was placed on probation for eighteen months.

On October 13, 2004, following his conviction, Officer Brian Klonowski was suspended from the police department for a year. 
















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.









Friday, October 1, 2004

Officer David Gronin - Southgate PD

Also See:

Officer David Gronin convicted of domestic violence

    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."











Officer reinstated to job
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2003
By Andrea Blum, The News-Herald
http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2003/11/12/localnews/20031112-archive5.txt

SOUTHGATE -- A former police officer is back on the force.

David Grondin resumed his duties as a police officer after winning an arbitration dispute with the city.

He was fired from the department March 27 after working there for three years.

Grondin was let go for insubordination stemming from several department issues, in addition to a domestic assault involving his ex-wife and another man, police said.

The union asked to take the matter to arbitration. The three-day hearing wrapped up Friday, with Grondin getting his job back on a probationary period.

"It was a negotiated settlement between the union and the city," Police Chief Larry Hall said. "He has been reassigned to a shift and is returning to work."

Grondin maintained that he was fired unfairly and fought to return to his job.

"I'm happy to be back and to be given a second chance," he said.

The settlement reinstates Grondin without any back pay or back benefits. It also places him on probation for another year.

"With the grievant wanting to come back to work in the city, it was decided that a year off without pay was a significant sanction," City Attorney Wallace Long said.

"The city is agreeing to go forward on this trial basis with him being on probation."

Arbitrator Mario Chiesa helped the two sides negotiate.

"Discussions ranged all over the place as to what had occurred," Long added.

"It's fair to say that after a long and healthy airing of all the issues surrounding his conduct, both parties thought it was in the best interest to resolve it in this fashion."