Officer Romon Johnson, Detroit Police Department: Threatened wife; fired shots at wife; and was charged with felony bigamy.
1. Original charge: Allegations to the Detroit PD that Officer Johnson threatened wife #2
2. Original Charge: Allegations to the Detroit PD that Officer Johnson fired shots at wife #2 [January 31, 2005]
3. Original charge: felony bigamy [warrant issued out of Louisiana in April 2005]
DETROIT POLICE OFFICER ROMON JOHNSON: Felonious assault and felony firearm [April 27, 2007]
BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS
Minutes of the Regular Board of Police Commissioners Meeting
Thursday, April 21, 2005
The regular meeting of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners was held on Thursday, April 21, at 3:00 p.m., at Police Headquarters, 1300 Beaubien, Detroit, Michigan 48226.
4. SECRETARY’S REPORT – EXEC. DIR. GOSS
SUSPENSIONS Exec. Dir. Goss read the following:
On April 21, 2005, Police Officer Romon Johnson, Badge 979, assigned to the Tenth Precinct, was suspended without pay by Chief of Police Ella M. Bully-Cummings.
On February 1, 2005, the Internal Affairs Section was notified of an allegation of misconduct on the part of Officer Johnson. More specifically, the complaint alleged that Officer Johnson is currently married to two (2) women and that he has threatened one of the women with physical harm.
As a result, the Internal Affairs Section initiated an investigation, which revealed the following:
On February 15, 2005, the Internal Affairs Section received a certified copy of a State of Louisiana Certificate of Marriage indicating that on October 20, 2004, Officer Johnson married wife number two (2) in the City of Lake
Minutes of the Regular BPC Meeting Thursday, April 21, 2005 Page 8 Charles, County of Calcasieu, Louisiana. A judge performed the marriage ceremony.
On February 16, 2005, the Internal Affairs Section received a certified copy of a State of Ohio Marriage Record indicating that on October 30, 1998, Officer Johnson married wife number one (1) in Lucas County, Ohio. A Reverend performed the marriage ceremony.
The complaint also alleged that wife number two (2) has received numerous threats including an incident that occurred on January 31, 2005, wherein shots were fired at her. On April 7, 2005, the Parish of Calcasieu, Louisiana Prosecutor's Office issued felony warrant #371453, charging Officer Johnson with Bigamy. In Louisiana, Bigamy is punishable as a felony with five (5) years in prison, with or without hard labor, and/or a one thousand dollar ($1,000.00) fine. An arraignment date is currently pending.
Based on the above circumstances, it is recommended that Officer Johnson be charged with, but not limited to the following violation of the Detroit Police Department Rules and Regulations:
CHARGE: THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CODE OF ETHICS; THIS BEING IN VIOLATION OF THE DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT MANUAL, SERIES 100, DIRECTIVE 102.3-5.7, CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN OFFICER, COMMAND 3.
Unless contravened by this Commission, the above suspension without pay will stand.
Atty. Goldpaugh stated with this being a felony, I am not going to present arguments at this time.
Comm. Holley asked the conduct is contrary to the law enforcement code of ethics, what did he violate in the Manual? Did he violate the shame piece?
Chairperson Blackwell stated for breaking the law, he was married to two women.
Comm. Holley stated okay, I just want to make sure that is in the code.
Chairperson Blackwell asked do you mean marrying two women or breaking the law?
Minutes of the Regular BPC Meeting Thursday, April 21, 2005 Page 9
Comm. Holley stated marrying two women.
Chairperson Blackwell stated I don’t think that they specifically say that.
Comm. Holley stated there is a thing here about shooting at someone and then also the marriage thing. I am not familiar with all of these series of directives. He asked Exec. Dir. Goss are these charges for both violations? He asked do you understand what I am asking Mr. Chairman?
Chairperson Blackwell stated yes, I do. What you are saying is that you are talking about specific charges that went against the code and the directives of the procedures. The fact that he had been charged with a felony that issue alone is something that generally is an issue that the Chief makes a suspension. Protocol wise, Mr. Goldpaugh has never challenged a felony charge. Anything that breaks the law gets that kind of charge no matter what it is. The only thing is when you say that someone is currently married to two women; I would just ask the police is that possible.
Exec. Dir. Goss stated it is possible.
Comm. Holley stated yes, it is possible.
Atty. Goldpaugh stated it is not possible to be legally married, that’s what creates the crime of bigamy, which is alleged down in Louisiana.
Comm. Holley stated I just want to make sure that the law that we are charging him with is with the bigamy and with the shooting, that’s what I want to make sure that we have in here.
Chairperson Blackwell stated we’re not charging him.
Comm. Holley stated I mean not us charging him, but I am asking the Chief has he been charged.
Atty. Goldpaugh stated he has not been charged with any allegations with respect to the shooting. The only charge against him at this point in time, is a bigamy warrant that was issued out of the state of Louisiana, which he is going down to address.
Comm. Holley stated I am concerned that we charged him with one thing and not two.
Chairperson Blackwell stated we are not charging him; the Chief suspended him based on his conduct.
Minutes of the Regular BPC Meeting Thursday, April 21, 2005 Page 10
the shooting because it is in the complaint.
Atty. Ninowski stated the petition that was submitted by the Department that was just read into the record is based on allegations. The allegations include, the felony charge of bigamy and the conduct related to that, as well as the allegation that wife number two (2) was shot at. The recommended charge of conduct unbecoming an officer, that you are referencing, is the recommendation based on that allegation. When the charges are actually drafted by Discipline, it will incorporate everything into the charges. She asked does that answer your question?
Comm. Holley stated yes, it really does. I just want to make sure that both charges are included because you can only be punished for what you are charged for if you are guilty. So, if you are only being charged for bigamy and not the other…but if you are charged and found guilty of both, then you pay the penalty.
Chairperson Blackwell stated I think that we are saying something different. Most of these cases come up whether you are charged or not. The Chief reserves the right based on conduct unbecoming an officer to suspend without pay, that’s all that is in front of us. Whether or not they are convicted or not is a separate issue.
Comm. Holley asked this suspension is based upon, not just bigamy, but bigamy and the shooting? But, what I am hearing you say is that it is based upon the bigamy only.
Atty. Ninowski stated no, it is based on conduct. The conduct is set forth in that petition.
Atty. Goldpaugh stated it should be noted in the petition that there is no allegation made that Officer Johnson is the one who fired at wife number two (2), only that she claimed or somebody claimed that she was fired upon down in Louisiana.
Chairperson Blackwell stated for example, it could have been by wife number one (1).
Atty. Goldpaugh stated it could have been by her husband number one (1) for all we know, we don’t know who it was. But the only charge against him in Louisiana was the felony.
Atty. Ninowski stated the Department’s petition incorporates all of the conduct and that includes the allegation of shooting and the bigamy charge and the conduct associated with that bigamy charge.
Minutes of the Regular BPC Meeting Thursday, April 21, 2005 Page 11
There were no contraventions to the above suspension without pay.
[MI POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED PERPETRATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW ENFORCEMENT MURDER SUICIDE]