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Proviso Probe

Thursday, January 05, 2006

PO-PO, FPR covers Harder hearing [FP]

I posted about last week's hearing on Forest Park Police Department firing of Sgt. Dan Harder, but I arrived late. Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) has more details.
Since brutality allegations began to arise in the hearings, village officials have repeatedly stated that all allegations of misconduct by police officers are investigated, but have declined to discuss the specifics of past investigations.

[Police Chief James] Ryan was also questioned regarding the earlier testimony from officers who admitted to being scared of Murphy, specifically Michael Harrison, who said he carried a gun while off duty in part due to his fear of Murphy.

"I’ve talked to him at length several times, and I don’t believe he was truly afraid of physical harm by Murphy," said Ryan.

I thought it was precious when Ryan described Harrison as "confused" about what he said or meant.

But Forest Park Review really tees-off in the editorial.
[FPPD attorney Patrick Lucansky's opening argument]seemed a strange way to introduce his case—basically an admission that the board would not have much in the way of evidence to work with, and was instead being asked to make a ruling based on who it felt was more trustworthy.

With each charge against Harder being shredded, one by one, the board has nothing left upon which to base a ruling other than a guess as to who is telling the truth.

So with these charges out the window, all that’s really left is the question of whether Harder lied to Ryan during a conversation regarding his whereabouts while out sick.

Nobody was there to hear what Harder actually said, the conversation was not recorded, and Ryan, who says he is positive that his recollection of the conversation the following morning was verbatim, has not produced any notes. Essentially, as Lucansky predicted, after all the time and money spent, it’s just Ryan’s word against Harder’s.

But even if Harder did lie, is this really a fireable offense? Maybe in a squeaky-clean police department, but with officers testifying that they carry guns while off duty in part due fear of physical harm by their co-workers, it’s safe to say the department has bigger issues to take care of. And if a single lie is really worth firing someone over, the department is sure going to have a lot of firing to do considering the hours of contradictory testimony heard during the hearing. Everyone can’t be telling the truth.

BTW, today's hearing on the termination of Dan Harder was cancelled because... he was sick.


  • Here's my theory on Harder's hemoroids.

    They get worse when he's stressed out.

    Perhaps Fridays were particularly stressful for that period of five weeks when he missed three Fridays.

    As one observer said, if the collective bargaining agreement allows 80 days per year, it seems like they want you to take mental health days.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 4:19 PM, January 05, 2006  

  • Carl, I am sure glad you are out there keeping an eye on things, I don't know how you find the energy. My questions are, how did the cops get so many sick days to begin with and why is it such a big deal that Sgt. Harder is using them? Also, how much money has Forest Park spent trying to fire a long term employee for seemingly nothing? Whats the real story here?

    By Blogger WhosWatching, at 12:06 PM, January 09, 2006  

  • Harder's explanation of the Village's motives has evolved some during the process.

    He started by saying he was the victim of retaliation for his role in the sexual harassment complaint against the police department. He now is saying that he is the victim of retaliation for the sexual harassment complaint and raising the issue of police brutality and abuses through the chain of command.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 4:45 PM, January 09, 2006  

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