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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lawsuit documents provide insight into police traffic ticket scandal

February 19, 2013, 1:57 p.m. Updated February 19, 2013, 3:18 p.m.

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City officials have remained mum about an internal investigation of two Lawrence police officers accused of fixing traffic tickets in exchange for Kansas University athletic tickets. But recently filed court documents help fill in some blanks.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday by former Lawrence Police Sgt. Mike Monroe provided extensive details into the investigation that led to Monroe's firing and the "involuntary" resignation of former Sgt. Matt Sarna about a year ago.

Included in the lawsuit are documents and letters to Monroe from Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib, as well as grievance documents from Monroe.

City Manager David Corliss said Tuesday that the city will not comment on legal or personnel matters.

According to the documents, the internal investigation by the Lawrence Police Department revealed:

• Monroe fixed two to three traffic tickets for former KU Athletic's employee Rodney Jones at Sarna's request. Monroe and Sarna both then received athletics tickets from Jones.

• In 2008, Monroe intervened during a traffic stop, telling an officer that he supervised not to issue a ticket to Jones.

• On 10 to 15 occasions, Monroe fixed traffic tickets for family or friends, in violation of departmental policy.

• Monroe also had fixed traffic tickets for another KU Athletics employee, and received athletics tickets from that employee.

• In a Feb. 13, 2012, letter from Khatib, Monroe was demoted from a sergeant to the patrol division. Monroe was later fired.

Information about Monroe and Sarna's actions had been forwarded to the FBI and the Douglas County District Attorney's Office, but no charges were filed.

In several responses from Monroe to Khatib and city officials, Monroe says:

• He fixed two to three traffic tickets for Jones, at Sarna's request, over a period of five to six years. However, he said he didn't know Sarna was receiving athletic tickets in direct exchange for fixing the tickets.

• He received athletics tickets from Sarna, but not Jones.

• He became uncomfortable with Sarna's relationship with Jones, but did not report his concerns to supervisors.

• The allegations against Sarna were investigated by the department in 2010, but no action was taken.

• While he fixed traffic tickets for a KU employee, the action was not in exchange for KU tickets.

Comments

ksgardener 1 year, 5 months ago

Sure seems to be a lot of poor drivers with tickets that need fixen.

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thefisherman 1 year, 5 months ago

Agreed. I've been in Lawrence 8 years and haven't been pulled over once.

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