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Archive for Friday, August 3, 2012

Saga continues

A former Lawrence police officer’s decision to fight his dismissal feeds continuing questions about whether police involvement in the KU ticket scandal was properly handled.

August 3, 2012

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The fallout from the Kansas University basketball ticket scandal continues to hang over the city almost as oppressively as this summer’s temperatures.

The public is just as much the loser in the ticket ordeal as local lawns are in the run of 100-degree days.

Next up: a threatened lawsuit against the city by one of two former police officers dismissed in the side-scandal in which traffic violations disappeared in some form of exchange for KU basketball tickets. In the wider scandal, a conspiracy to steal and sell basketball tickets sent seven KU Athletics employees to prison. One of those is the individual who provided tickets to police officers and had traffic citations fixed in return. Ultimately, two officers were dismissed over violations of the city’s gratuity policy, although many in the public continue to believe the circumstances involved something as serious as bribery.

Former Police Sgt. Michael Monroe now is saying he’s going to court to protest his firing. His dismissal was upheld by the city manager, who overruled a city employee grievance review board determination that Monroe should be reinstated with a demotion.

The city continues basically to stand mute. Now, instead of relying on “personnel issues,” the decision not to release substantive information in the case is attributed to “pending litigation.” That stance might be tolerable in some situations, but this involves the city’s police department, and Lawrence residents need to have confidence in the officers on the street, the organization and its leadership, and the governing body behind it.

The continued lack of a clear presentation of what happened, who knew and did what, and why matters were handled as they (apparently) were continues to cause public skepticism that the issue was identified properly, that the investigation was fair and complete, and that the discipline was reasonable. And that the story is over.

One next step in this saga is for the city manager’s decision to be forwarded to the city commission, which can only determine whether a policy change should be made.

It’s time for a complete revelation. Perhaps the commission discussion could provide that. Unfortunately, it seems we may instead get whatever partial information comes eventually from a lawsuit that will dredge up the topic and renew public speculation and concern.

Comments

smitty 2 years, 6 months ago

Just how were officers in the process of issuing tickets worked into the bribery scam by this ongoing LPD conspiracy to fore go the ticket for a bribery. What directive did/do the officers in Khatib's traffic unit have to arrange the ticket fix while in the process of issuing the ticket? Khatib was head of the traffic unit at the time. Both the ticket fixing as a traffic unit and over looking the internal investigation falls on Khatib.

Khatib was quoted as saying this was simply police culture and professional courtesy when the story first came out as "city workers suspended/investigated." Then it became the predictable...policy was not followed but no laws were broken.

Monroe is complicit with this bribery scam as is every officer who maintains the blue wall of silence. What a sham that Monroe couldn't muster his morality before he was thrown to the wolfs. But now that some money can be made off of the bribery scam and his firing the citizens of Lawrence stand a chance of some inside corruption being exposed......

Corruption in the LPD......Monroe and Sarna were involved with the YH investigation.

Bladerunner 2 years, 5 months ago

Love the Yellow House plug at the end but you forgot to bring up the Sevier case.

nativeson 2 years, 5 months ago

"The city continues basically to stand mute. Now, instead of relying on “personnel issues,” the decision not to release substantive information in the case is attributed to “pending litigation.” That stance might be tolerable in some situations, but this involves the city’s police department, and Lawrence residents need to have confidence in the officers on the street, the organization and its leadership, and the governing body behind it."

This paragraph is exactly the reason that the City has its hands tied regarding disclosure. Whether you are the police department, utilities, solid waste or the park/rec department the rules of disclosure regarding employee/employer relations is the same.

I agree with the sentiment that the LPD has not become transparent as discussed under Police Chief Khatib. It remains very closed, and this is not an acceptable position for a department that has so much power over citizens. With delegated power comes responsibility. I hope that this incident will prod our leaders into creating a meaningful process of review regarding police department activites that will provide more understanding for citizens.

woodscolt 2 years, 5 months ago

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I would have to think the officer knows something the rest of us don't or otherwise he should just let this embarrassment fade away. If he is guilty than why continue to drag his name through the media looking like a chump. If the city has mishandled this situation than put them on the spot and make them accountable.

Thomas Bryce 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree. There is more to this than they are letting on. Monroe and Sarna got caught. Who did not?More transparency Please. The Motto is "To Serve and Protect" after all.

somebodynew 2 years, 5 months ago

To me, this is just a self-serving editorial used to stir up comments on this topic. The Editor(s) know (or at should know) that the City's hands are tied by the pending lawsuit AND the laws governing employer/employee relations. The Editors know the City cannot make any in-depth comments about any of this, especially now that a lawsuit is definately coming. And I agree with nativeson, in that the City would have the same response if it involved any member of the City.

I also (shudder) agree with wilbur - - if the LJWorld had any investigative reporters left, they would dig into this and run an expose' on this whole thing. But it seems like LJW has let all the investigative people go numerous years ago. They used to be really good at 'stirring ....', but not anymore. Just print what is spoonfed to them.

Alex Parker 2 years, 5 months ago

Smitty, All of our coverage of this issue can be found here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/sports/ku/ticket_investigation/

If you have examples of stories you claim are missing, I will be happy to find the links for you; no stories have been removed.

Ellipses in quotes are commonly used to indicate a continuation of a quote or a thought, not as a means of censorship.

As for your claims that headlines have changed, the headlines in print often differ from those online because of our implementation of search engine optimization. So a headline online might contain more words or descriptive phrases than is allowable in print, due to space concerns.

Alex Parker Digital Editor

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

If the KU employees who provided the tickets were charged and in jail, why aren't the officers who accepted them?

thebigspoon 2 years, 5 months ago

He has a family member and their spouse who are attorneys in Kansas City. I am sure they are advising him as what to do ? I doubt that he is going into this without some help ?

equalaccessprivacy 2 years, 5 months ago

Police officers follow a code of silence. It's hardly because they are such heroic, upstanding people who want to protect and serve their fellow citizens either. They intimately understand the criminal mind; in fact, the only thing that separates them from those they arrest is a badge and a uniform. The state hires them to do its criminal dirty work. For example, the conflict-of-interest KU cops take the cake for being in the back pocket of the General Counsel and Hack HR personnel up on that notorious hill where I lost my last scrap of faith in humanity. I've never witnessed such a poor excuse for professional, good-faith conduct in my life. I was the object of despicable HR crimes, and yet that dishonest Zeke lied about even taking down the report. It was never even logged.Talk about whitewashers!

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