Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Officer Brian Klonowski - Appointed Police Chief Despite OIDV Conviction in 2004 - Southgate PD


Southgate Michigan thought when they selected Officer Brian Klonowski as their new police chief, that Klonowski's  OIDV assault of Gina Falconer didn't matter to anyone ... And, they also underestimated the power of OIDV survivors to become Gina's voice






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.























Officer Brian Klonowski is a perfect example of why OIDV is different than DV:

A police department would never hire someone who committed a DV assault such as the assault that was committed against Gina Falconer [2004].

So if we don't hire people with DV convictions, to be police officers - then why is it when a police officer commits a crime of OIDV, that he is allowed to not only keep his job, but is promoted to the position of Police Chief?











New Southgate police chief's own police record concerns some citizens
FOX 2 Detroit
By: Josh Landon
POSTED:AUG 21 2016 07:08PM EDT
UPDATED:AUG 21 2016 07:08PM EDT



SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WJBK) - Some Southgate residents are concerned after a new police chief with his own police record was appointed on Wednesday night – and they’re trying to put a stop to it.

"I'm calling for his resignation," said Tom Bagwell, a congressional candidate. "At a minimum, he should not be the chief."

Bagwell said he’s upset the City of Southgate appointed Brian Klonowski on Wednesday as the new police chief.

Klonowski was convicted of a 2004 assault when he was an officer for beating a woman he met at a party after she turned down his advances. He served 18 months of probation but did not serve any jail time.

Bagwell said this puts the public's trust in the police department at risk.

"With somebody with this kind of violent history, is he going to do the right thing?" Bagwell said. "Is he going to make the right decisions? It also reflects badly on the down river community and the local politicians to put somebody like this in a position of leadership."

Others who live down river share the same concerns.

"That kind of violent crime, the Supreme Court just ruled, can make you ineligible to carry a gun," said another resident. "This guy carries a gun, and in a few days he's going to be leading a lot of police officers who carry guns."

Klonowski was suspended from the police department for a year, but was brought back a few months later.

The new chief said he is a different person.

"I understand the unfortunate circumstances -- the embarrassing situation, and it was 12 years ago," Klonowski said. "I dealt with that on three levels -- criminally, civilly and departmentally -- and have attempted to put that behind me and attempted to increase my professionalism."

City officials said Klonowski came in first among other candidates in a written and oral exam.

The mayor and city council approved his new contract and said he's the best man for the job.

"Nobody condones what he did but everybody says that what he did, he paid the price for, and he has learned from it," said John Zech, city administrator. "He's apologized for it. He's gone forward and shown that it was something that happened one time and has never happened again."

Klonowski said as police chief, his door will be open to anyone who walks to talk.

"I have no problem speaking with citizens and giving them a chance to get to know me and trust me," he said. "I know I have some reputation to rebuild still and I will be glad to do that."

Bagwell said most police offers do a good job, and when they don't act appropriately, citizens have to call them out.

"There's a hesitation to call out the bad stuff that happens, or to call out officers that have a history of violence," he said. "When you have the lives of the public at hand, you need to be trusted. The public needs to trust they're going to do the right thing."

Some citizens are petitioning with a goal of collecting 1,000 signatures.












Southgate's new police chief has a checkered past
Published: Saturday, August 20, 2016
The News Herald
By Dave Herndon
dherndon@heritage.com


Much has changed in the past 12 years for Southgate police Officer Brian Klonowski since he was sentenced in 2004 for beating a woman he met at a party.
On Wednesday night, he was appointed as the city’s new police chief. He will be sworn in later this month.
Klonowski did not respond to several attempts by The News-Herald to reach him for this report. He did speak with WJBK-TV on Wednesday after the meeting at which he was appointed chief.
"My door as a chief will be open," he said in that TV interview. "I have no problem speaking with citizens and giving them the chance to get to know me and trust me. I know I have some reputation to rebuild still, and I will be glad to do that."
The vote to appoint him was unanimous, and several City Council members spoke highly of his years of service to the city.
In a letter announcing the appointment of Klonowski, Mayor Joseph Kuspa said the 21-year veteran of the police force is an “accomplished professional.”
The charge Klonowski was convicted of was a misdemeanor. He pleaded no contest, which is treated as a guilty plea without the admission of guilt in court.
He paid court fines, served 30 days on a work program, 60 days on a tether program and underwent anger management and alcohol counseling.
He met the victim, Gina Falconer, at a birthday party in Romulus that night in 2004.
Falconer said Klonowski was harassing her at the party and she threatened to hit him with a beer bottle.
Falconer suffered a broken nose and a broken bone above her eye as a result of the altercation with Klonowski. Attorney Michael Rataj said his client, Klonowski, was defending himself after Falconer began swinging the bottle at him.
As a result of the assault, Klonowski also was suspended from the Police Department for a year without pay. He served three months of that suspension before being allowed to return to active duty. While the case was in the court system, he was put on desk duty, but remained an officer.
"I understand the unfortunate circumstances and embarrassing situation," Klonowski told the TV station. "It was 12 years ago. I dealt with that on three levels -- criminally, civilly and departmentally -- and have attempted to put that behind me and have attempted to increase my professionalism."
Former Southgate Police Chief Larry Hall was outspoken at the time of the incident. He said he believed Klonowski should have been fired.
"To me, this is nothing short of astonishing," Hall said in 2004. "This represents an affront to the female victim and creates the perception that misconduct is tolerated in the Southgate Police Department. We are the people entrusted to enforce laws and maintain order.”
At the time of Klonowski’s reinstatement, Falconer said she was at a loss for words.
"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."
She could not be reached for comment Wednesday after he was promoted.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Councilman Bill Colovos said Klonowski went to law school while working as a police officer and became a licensed attorney.
“He has served the city well,” Colovos said during the meeting.
Councilwoman Karen George, while not objecting to the appointment, said the council approves only the financial portion of the contract. Per the city charter, the mayor had authority to appoint the chief.
Kuspa told The News-Herald that under state Public Act 78 all of the candidates for chief go through independent testing. Whichever candidate scores the highest on the test has to be offered the position.
“There is a process in place that has to be gone through,” Kuspa said. “The testing is done outside of the city.”
Kuspa said that while the crime was egregious, Klonowski served the sentence imposed by the court and has been an upstanding officer during Kuspa’s seven years as mayor.
“I can’t judge him on the actions taken by a mayor and Police Department before my tenure,” Kuspa said. “I can only judge him since I’ve been with the city.”
Kuspa said that in recent years Klonowski has risen through the ranks of the department, and has been tested at every step. He said it is of note that there wasn’t any public outcry each time Klonowski was promoted.
“No one is condoning his actions,” Kuspa said. “At some point that becomes history and you have to judge a person based on who they are now.”
Other than the incident in 2004, Klonowski has a spotless record, and has had no formal complaints filed against him as an officer, according to the city.
“He’s been an exemplary police officer,” Kuspa said.
As police chief, Klonowski will be paid $92,151 per year.
Also at the council meeting, current Police Chief Jeffery Smith was appointed as the city’s new public safety director to replace Thomas Coombs, who is retiring.

Smith will be paid $98,601 per year.





New pick for Southgate police chief draws controversy
The Detroit News 
August 18, 2016 - 8:16 p.m. EDT 
Southgate officials have named a new police chief but the appointment is drawing controversy.
Brian Klonowski, a lieutenant who currently heads the Police Department’s detective bureau, was picked by Mayor Joseph Kuspa for the top cop job, Southgate administrator John Zech said. The City Council approved the recommendation Wednesday.
Klonowski, however, has a past conviction for assault.
In 2004, Klonowski was charged with punching a Romulus woman in the face, breaking her nose and fracturing her chin. He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of assault and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, The Detroit News reported.
The police officer also was ordered to pay court fines and costs, serve 30 days on the court’s work program and 60 days on a tether in addition to completing anger management and alcohol counseling.
As a result of his conviction, the Southgate Police Department suspended him for a year. But Klonowski was back on the job earlier than expected when then-Mayor Dennis David reduced his suspension to 90 days.
Since then, Klonowski has risen through the ranks to become a sergeant and lieutenant, as well as attended law school, Zech said.
“His record has been excellent,” he said. “He’s taken his law training and incorporated that into his work. ... He did all of the things the court called for him to do and picked up his life.”
Klonowski could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday night.
At the City Council meeting, members heard a reciting of a letter from the mayor that called Klonowski “an accomplished professional with 21 years of service to the city.” None of the council members raised objections to his promotion, according to a taped recording.
Reached for comment late Thursday, John Graziani, City Council president, said “all procedures were followed properly” regarding the move but referred further questions to other Southgate officials.
Some residents have complained to the city about the promotion, expressing concern about Klonowski’s charge, Zech said. But the administrator added that Klonowski ranked first in candidate testing by an outside agency. He also noted that the new chief has been an “exemplary officer” who handled numerous cases, including ones involving domestic violence.
While the assault was a “serious mistake,” Zech said, since then “he’s proved to the people of Southgate — the mayor in particular — that this was a one-time thing. He’s lived his life both on-duty and off-duty in such a way that there’s been nothing in the record that makes the mayor or myself ... think that this (promotion) shouldn’t occur."







New Southgate police chief was convicted of assault in 2004
POSTED:AUG 17 2016 10:29PM EDT
UPDATED:AUG 17 2016 10:29PM EDT
Hannah Saunders
FOX 2 Detroit
http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/193177115-story









SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WJBK) - Southgate has appointed a new police chief but concerns are being raised about the officer in line for the job.

An assault in his past has some questioning the promotion of Brian Klonowski.

The last time Klonowski was in the news, he was convicted of severely beating a woman at a party.

It's an issue he says was so far in the past, it's no longer relevant.

This is the face of the woman Brian Klonowski beat in 2004. They had just met at a party when she says, she turned down his advances. Then she says the officer yanked her into the ground from a chair, punching her until her eye hemorrhaged and her nose and her cheekbone broke.

He was convicted with assault after pleading no contest, he was suspended without pay from the Southgate Police Department for one year. Although the city brought him back to work after only three months.

He says he's changed.

"I understand the unfortunate circumstances and embarrassing situation," he said. "It was 12 years ago. I dealt with that on three levels - criminally, civilly and departmentally and have attempted to put that behind me and have attempted to increase my professionalism."

The lieutenant was appointed chief by the mayor and city council Wednesday night. He will start after a swearing in ceremony August 27. He says in the past years he's attended law school, risen in the ranks, and he is ready for his new role.


"I believe every incident that can be negative and embarrassing, you reflect upon it," Klonowski said. "And use that to improve parts about yourself."

City officials say of the several internal candidates, Klonowski came in first in a third-party written and oral exam. The mayor and city council members approved his new contract and say he's the best man for the job.

"Nobody condones what he did, but everybody says what he did, he paid the price for," said John Zech, city administrator. "He's learned from it, he's apologized for it, he's gone forward and shown that it was something that happened one time and never happened again."

For anyone who has any doubt, Klonowski says, he's willing to talk with them.

"My door as a chief will be open," he said. "I have no problem speaking with citizens and giving them the chance to get to know me and trust me. I know I have some reputation to rebuild still, and I will be glad to do that."

At the time he served 18 months probation but no jail time.

The victim who was beaten by the newly appointed chief, along with her family, say they are sickened by this decision. This woman says she's moved on, and did not want to go on camera  out of fear of any further police harassment.

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