In a sixth letter to those embroiled in the latest controversy involving the Troy Police Department, Chief John Tedesco is asking for the city’s Ethics Commission take a peek at what has transpired over the last few months.
He is also asking, in the letter written by his attorney Brian Premo, that the Council subpoena all Internal Affairs records related to the investigation into the chief and I assume what kicked off the latest controversy, the chief’s decision to release the IA findings about an officer accused of using excessive force.
Two things come to mind: I’m not sure if the Ethics Commission even exists any longer and I’d love to see the IA records but I don’t think they are public information.
Anyway, a bit of obligatory background: The Council, at the administration’s request, appointed Anthony Magnetto (pictured right) as police commissioner to appease the Police Benevolent Association; Magnetto rolled back some of the chief’s efforts to make the department more efficient; Tedesco is left out of day-to-day decision; Officer Kyle Jones arrests Frank Fogarty for fighting on Broadway and arrests his wife for resisting arrest; Fogarty files a complaint alleging Jones used excessive force; IA Capt. Terry Buchanan conducts an investigation and finds that Fogarty did use excessive force; Tedesco releases the letter confirming the findings to Fogarty; the PBA files a complaint against Tedesco and he is interviewed by the IA and Deputy Chief Robert McAvoy; Tedesco retains Premo, who goes on an aggressive offensive; the FBI shows up and confiscates a number of IA files.
Things are kind of in flux now, but it sounds like a mess that could easily spin out of more control or it could slide into oblivion. I will address the “spin out of control” scenarios fist:
-Every indication is Magnetto will step down early next year and a sure way to perpetuate the mess is for the city to appoint another police commissioner. Not only will it further infuriate the chief and likely force him to follow through with his threat of a lawsuit but, as Premo pointed out in his letters and I wrote a while back, the police commissioner really has no power.
-Jones, as Premo said indicates is a possibility in his letter, comes forward and tells people that he had no knowledge of the complaint filed against Tedesco but instead it was the PBA.
-The IA investigation into the chief continues and ends with some sort of punishment or reprimand. I routinely talk to people who have been around a lot longer than I and to have underlings investigate the chief rather than the mayor or an independent body is unprecedented.
-The Council does attempt to investigate on their own, forcing the PBA or the administration to dig in its heels. Council President Rodney Wiltshire, appearing on Talk 1300, said he isn’t going to jump into the fray with both feet right off the bat. Rather, he said, he would allow the yet to be named Public Safety Committee to explore the Council’s options first. A wise move, but that was a few days ago. The Council, however, is hardly a cohesive body so you never know.
-The PBA continue to flex its political muscle and mucks everything up.
-The FBI digs conducts a thorough investigation and uncovers who knows what.
Some scenarios that could help put the entire issue to bed:
-Tedesco, while on Talk 1300, indicated he just wants his old job back along with the responsibilities so giving it to him is one way to diffuse the situation. When it comes down to it, the mayor is the chief executive officer, and that means he can tell the chief to do whatever he wants done. If the chief refuses, despite Civil Service protection, the mayor can terminate for insubordination. The position of police commissioner is really a $30,000 unnecessary buffer.
-The chief does not follow through with filing the threatened lawsuit because it could throw a bunch of people under the bus.
-The command staff accepts the fact the chief is the chief and lets him do his job.
-The PBA accepts political defeat and just goes about the businesses of arresting bad guys.
-Jones accepts the IA’s determination and takes whatever punishment is doled out. (Based on some comments there seem to be some confusion about Jones. Yes, the IA letter said the investigation was complete and he did use excessive force but the PBA maintains he had not exhausted all his appeal possibilities so the matter is not yet resolved.)
-The city settles with Fogarty.
My educated guess is a mix of the above scenarios come to fruition and I’m honestly curious on how it all plays out.