Police chief 'would be entirely surprised' if sergeant is charged

When alleged victim is asked about bruising around eye, "that's when you get five different stories," chief says
Cary Ashby
May 2, 2013

Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light said Tuesday he would be surprised if one of his sergeants is charged in connection with his girlfriend, a local corrections officer, having a black eye.

"From what I see, I would be entirely surprised if he's charged with anything," said Light, who stressed there are "too many twists and turns" to the case.

The sergeant, who isn't being named because he hasn't been charged, has declined to comment. Light has prohibited the suspect from having any contact with his girlfriend or her daughter until the case is resolved.

"He certainly didn't put his hands or fists on her," Light said.

Light explained why the officer remains on active duty. He said he didn't want to pull the suspect off the street when his accuser apparently provided "five different stories" when she was interviewed.

"It's hard to take it seriously when there are so many stories about a black eye," Light said.

Also, the chief said he is waiting to get all the information from the Huron County Sheriff's Office about the interview with the girlfriend until he and Capt. Mike Conney sit down with the suspect.

The woman returned from sick leave April 16 after being off work at the Huron County Jail for about a week.

Chief Deputy Ted Patrick has said Lt. Chris Stanfield, the woman's supervisor, asked her if her sick leave was related to having a black eye. Detective Kayla Zander was present and took notes on the interview.

"When he (Stanfield) asked her about the black eye, she said she was assaulted by (the Norwalk officer)," Patrick said.

Light and Conney went to the sheriff's office April 16 and discussed the matter with Patrick, Stanfield and Sheriff Dane Howard.

"They informed us of the (allegations) and the investigation," Light said.

He and Conney received the written report April 23, but they're still waiting to receive the audio/video recording of the interview. Light said only he, Conney and Norwalk Law Director Stuart O'Hara have seen the report and they won't talk to the suspect until they have the audio/video component of Stanfield's interview.

"For us to do an internal investigation, we have to have all the information," Light said. "Anytime something like this happens, we will do that."

Conney, a non-union officer, will be overseeing Norwalk's pending internal investigation.

Deputy John Vogel uncovered the abuse allegations when he responded to an unruly juvenile complaint at the corrections officer's home April 13. Patrick has referred to the complaint as "a disturbance call" related an unruly juvenile complaint. He said the deputy noticed the woman had a black eye that "appeared to be a week old."

"The other eye looked like it was about to turn black," he said.

The woman had a "bruised (and) swollen right eye," according to Vogel's report, which is listed as a domestic violence complaint. The report states the woman accused her boyfriend, a "former co-habitant," of hitting her right eye with a "full 20-ounce bottle of Diet Coke during a domestic dispute" when they were returning from an unspecified trip.

"She didn't want to comment on it. ... The daughter stepped up and she said (her mother) got hit by a Norwalk officer she's dating," Patrick said.

Upon returning from the call, Vogel reported what he saw and heard to his commanding officers.

Light said deputies determined the woman received one of the black eyes from a family member.

"That family member was removed from her house. It's not our employee," he said.

When Stanfield asked the woman about the "faint, yellow bruising" around her eye, "that's when you get five different stories," Light said.

"It's my understanding she never made a complaint about this," the chief added.

The woman reported "wrecking her car" -- a story she reportedly added after her previous explanations for her injury, Light said.

"That came out later," he said.

Richland County Sheriff's Capt. Eric Bosko opened an investigation Friday because the suspected incident involving one of the black eyes happened in his jurisdiction.

"We've done the interviews. We're in the initial stages," said Bosko, who has declined to say what's left do with his investigation.

Once the probe is completed, Bosko will forward his findings to the Mansfield law director for review and the consideration of charges.

"I've already been in touch with (prosecutors)," Bosko said Sunday.

Light said he's skeptical about the allegations because the woman never made an abuse complaint against his sergeant.

"I'm not going to go after the employee with all that," he said.

"I want to hear the whole context of the interview," Light said. "You can't pick things out of there."

The chief also doesn't want to take any action against the sergeant because of the ongoing Richland County investigation.

"We don't want to compromise their investigation," Light said.

When asked if the officer could be fired, Light said it would depend if there was a conviction. He also said he would be making a decision on the suspect's fate once he has all the information from both sheriff's offices and Conney's internal investigation.

"The mayor has the final say," Light said.

Comments

truthbetold77

Go figure.. Huron county is so Corrupt.

csnighthawk

Please truthbetold, examples of Huron County corruption please.
At least 5 examples will do.

HBK

I would love to give you the examples, but everytime I go to do it the "power that be" start removing posts because they don't want the "typical" citizen (and voter) to know they real truth. Couldn't agree with you more Truthnetold!!!

truthbetold77

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

HBK

Yes, I could not believe that!!! Could you imagine what the Sheriff's Dept. put that family thru? I'm not sure, but I don't even think he made him publicly apologize to the people that he about killed. Very, very sad. I have never heard, was the innocent people Harris about killed recover okay? All this worthless paper would print was about the irresponsible dept condition, never the victims.

jas

Some people like to deny it but psychological studies have consistently shown that cops and criminals have the same psychological make up. Google it and see for yourself if you don't believe me.

THEORY86

So..if Richland county doesnt find evidence to file charges will they also be corrupt??

mojorising

Conney is fair and just. I, for one, will trust his judgement.

jonutt

A police department, any police department, should never be permitted to police thier own. There is too much room for misconduct. There should be a citizen review board in place to investigate allegations of police misconduct.

I also noticed in yesterday's Reflector that there was a man arrested for slapping his girlfriend. They printed his name.......why not the cop? This stinks of a coverup. Who wants to wager this incident gets swept under the rug?

kURTje

Deep Purple/The Shield.

BlueAngel

@truthbetold............I agree!

2sense

They all are to one degree or another

happyfeet64

Chief Light would be surprised if he's charged? Not as much as we would be! Although, I believe Conney and some of the others are fair,etc. I lost all respect for Chief Light after the comments he made uptown during the vigil for the shootings in Conn. But, yeah, I'm believe the good ol' boy network will win once again!

mike4958

cover up & lies ! anyone else would have their mugshot plastered all over the paper.... makes you wonder what else NPD has to hide ???

four

Wow if this were a baseball game the Chief could never be struck out.The man won't step up to the plate.What about the Mayor? These guys are giving this man(the nameless officer)the benefit no other man would get.

arnmcrmn

How do you guys know what went on?

OHIOHOOSIER76

because if it were a 'typical citizen', he would be in lockup awaiting the formal charges.

Good 2 B Me

100% True. Basically if a call is made for Domestic Violence, an Arrest MUST be made. Of course, the law appears not to apply to the people sworn to uphold it.

HBK

So true

luvblues2

I've had cops tell me many times. If someone calls in or reports a "domestic", one other person HAS to go to jail. It's the law. Guilty or not.

HBK

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

luvblues2

I do know a few cops and have hung out with them and asked about such situations.

Kottage Kat

Perhaps avoiding a lawsuit which would be costly
taking a lesson from the city to the north

Norwalkmomof2

This is absolute BS!! I know a few people who have been arrested on the SPOT for alleged domestic violence! As a matter of fact, they were arrested by the suspect in this case! It's not a hard to figure it out when the suspect has a facebook page! Plus, look at the roster. Figure out which one is dating a correction officer at the jail. Tada! The victim has "5 different stories"? Maybe she was scared because the suspect threatened her! Using his power of being a NP officer against her! I hope for the sake of this town, the truth comes out and a few more good men get taken off the streets! Wheres Mimi now?? Police brutality on duty and off duty! lol

tmann4664

Wow, you people are nuts. Read and comprehend the article ! She supposedely got hit by a officer, then she told 5 different stories. Why would they arrest him ? Dave Light is a great man dedicated to his posisition, Norwalk should be honored to have him. He is a true professional and always has been. you people on here running your traps are probably the ones that has been busted and your sitting around talking smack about a guy that is a great man. Just because you people that are on here writing stuff about officers, are probably the REAL TRASH of the city. If I was in this officers shoes, I would hope to be treated the same way, cause whoever this lady is that is accusing him, apparently has alot of other issues.

OHIOHOOSIER76

I know Chief Light and I have the utmost respect for him, his badge, as well as others wearing a badge.

However, it is FACT that if there is a call placed for a domestic, someone is apprehended. The fact that the police officer in question in this situation has been allowed to continue on without even as much as a reprimand is wrong.

I have never had an issue with law enforcement, local or otherwise. I do not personally know the police officer that was named in other posts that have since been deleted. My only interest in this case/situation is fairness.

Now The Rest of...

I am usually pro law enforcement but I also was taught not to prejudge until all the facts are known, but isn't that what the Chief is doing, very unprofessional...

twinmomma2012

I'm sorry but I still think he had something to do with this COs black eye! much respect for npd officers and are county law enforcement, but 5 dif stories! I can not see her lying about this! why would she say something that could possibly ruining her own career as law enforcement? my question is this after its all over and he isn't charged do we get the names? even tho most of us seem to ae a pretty good idea already! very discriminating to not post the name bc they are law enforcement, the average joe would be tho! since when do you not name those accused??? I've read many articles in the NR of those just accused and ill be right there were their names! oh and follow up article charges dropped! hmmm...

THEORY86

Good GOD woman! You cannot see her lying? 5 Different stories?? That's a LIAR!! She actually looks worse having an "unruly" teen and being in law enforcement and she didnt have a problem calling the cops on her! Wake up!

twinmomma2012

Question out of the 15-20 ppl commenting on this article who do not believe that good ol seth fry is innocent and that he should be suspended pending the outcome why are you coming at me? you say she looks worse having an unruly teen and not being afraid to call on her so why not the cop? maybe bc her teen didn't use a badge or push her weight around or threaten her mother with ruining her career or her life oh and isn't that how it should be handled if you can't control your child you bring in law enforcement to assist you??? have you ever stopped to think maybe just maybe this officer did hit her and now she could be scared bc someone has threatened her or her family to change her story??? "My" opinion is just that my opinion! you have yours and I got mine! just like everyone else who has read and is following this story, your comment isn't going to sway me in another direction!

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