(A still image of the survelliance video on the day in question. None of the parties involved appear in this image.)
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano has said he will appoint Acting Police Chief Patrick McMahon to the position of permanent Police Chief for the Common Council's reconsideration.
The decision comes amidst accounts of the potential candidate's alleged "incendiary personality," and "bullying actions" reported to the Middletown Eye.
When asked about these allegations, the Acting Chief has categorically denied each one.
One of these allegations concerns an incident that happened in the Police Headquarters' lobby in July. When asked about the incident, Acting Chief McMahon's explanation contained distinctly different details from those provided by several sources. McMahon said that the account presented to the Eye unfairly represented the actual event. He also said that he had surveillance video of the incident, and would be happy to provide a viewing to the Eye.
The Story on the Street
In essence, with some slight difference in detail each time the story was conveyed, the allegation is that a juvenile female went to the Police Station to visit a boyfriend who had been arrested in a drug and warrant sweep (Operation Expanded Shield). When she was denied the visit, she asked to file a complaint, and she claims she was confronted by an angry and belligerent policeman (later identified as McMahon), who bullied her, shouted at her and taunted her with the complaint form. She claimed, according to accounts, that McMahon lifted the chair she was sitting in and threw it against the wall, and then had her arrested.
According to McMahon, the juvenile did arrive at the front desk to see her jailed boyfriend, a man in his mid-thirties who had been picked up in the sweep (Operation Expanded Shield). McMahon said the juvenile demanded that the front desk officer admit her to lockup, and when denied, she immediately became abusive, cursing and crying.
The Acting Chief who was with his staff on break from the sweep, heard the shouting in the lobby and emerged to see what was happening. According to him, he came out to the lobby, spoke to the juvenile and told her that she could not see her boyfriend because she was not family, a clergy member nor legal representation. He claims she continued to curse and shout at him, and demanded to file a complaint. He retrieved a complaint form and brought it to her, he said, to explain it. McMahon said she tried to snatch it from his hand. He pulled it away and sat down to explain to her how to fill it out.
He says she continued to be abusive, and left the premises. The chief stayed in the lobby speaking with a man whose nephew had also been arrested in the sweep. While they were talking, the juvenile returned and McMahon says she continued to be abusive, cursing and crying as she sat on a waiting room bench. The chief approached her, and said he told her to leave, and when she refused, he grabbed the corner of the bench, slid it across the floor, in an arc, so it was facing the exit and, he said, he told her again that she had to leave. According to the Acting Chief, when she continued to refuse, and continued to shout and curse, the chief approached the man he had been speaking with in the lobby to ask if the juvenile's behavior was disturbing the man. The man said it was, and the Acting Chief called a female officer who came into the lobby, cuffed the juvenile and arrested her for breach of peace.
I viewed the video, and because it has no audio track, I could not confirm the words exchanged between McMahon and the juvenile. However, it appeared that McMahon did not taunt the juvenile with the complaint form. It's also clear that he moved the bench, sliding it counterclockwise to face the door. It was not lifted from the ground, nor slammed to the wall or floor. McMahon's body language did not appear particularly aggressive, though a part of the action was off camera. The juvenile appeared agitated throughout. There was no visual indication that the Acting Chief touched the juvenile until the female officer needed some assistance in having her cuffed.
Reports are that the breach of peace charge issued in the arrest was thrown out of court.
The juvenile has not, so far, filed a complaint against anyone on the police force, including the Acting Chief.