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.
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.