JUST IN - Troopers put on administrative leave; Patrol in process of firing them

Gov. Ted Strickland has requested the state Highway Patrol fire two Sandusky post troopers engaged in a prank involving a costume that resembled a Ku Klux Klan outfit. A report released Tuesday afternoon says Troopers Craig Franklin and Eric Wlodarsky were placed on "administrative leave pending the disciplinary process for termination.' The move comes after patrol superintendent Col. Richard Collins and Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Henry Guzman met with the governor to discuss the Jan. 20 incident.
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010

Gov. Ted Strickland has requested the state Highway Patrol fire two Sandusky post troopers engaged in a prank involving a costume that resembled a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

A report released Tuesday afternoon says Troopers Craig Franklin and Eric Wlodarsky were placed on “administrative leave pending the disciplinary process for termination.” The move comes after patrol superintendent Col. Richard Collins and Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Henry Guzman met with the governor to discuss the Jan. 20 incident.

“The Ohio State Highway Patrol does not tolerate inappropriate behavior,” Collins said in a prepared statement. “After further review, and upon recommendation of the governor, we have commenced termination proceedings for the trooper and (former) sergeant involved in these reprehensible actions.”

Wlodarsky used a cell phone camera to snap a photo of Franklin wearing KKK-like garb while both were on duty at the Sandusky post one day before Martin Luther King Day. Wlodarsky then forwarded the photo to Sgt. Jason Demuth of the Norwalk post. Demuth forwarded the photo to a Toledo post dispatcher.

On Tuesday, Strickland told the Associate Press the troopers’ behavior could not be tolerated.

Guzman initially recommended Franklin and Wlodarsky be fired. However, a union contract provision allowed them to keep their jobs if they maintained a clean record for two years.

All three troopers were required to attend a diversity awareness class. Wlodarsky was demoted April 3 from sergeant at the Sandusky post to trooper. The patrol transferred him to the Norwalk post the next day.

Franklin received a five-day unpaid suspension. Demuth has served a one-day unpaid suspension for failing to report the Jan. 20 incident to a supervisor.

Lt. Jim Bryan, the Norwalk post commander, referred questions about the state’s current action to a patrol spokesman. He said he wasn’t aware that the move would affect Demuth’s future.

“As far as I know, the investigation is concluded and his penalty has been determined and I’m not aware of any changes to it,” Bryan said.

Bryan, during an April 14 interview, said: “It's just very disappointing. We hold ourselves to a much higher standard.”

Demuth started at the Norwalk post Feb. 9, 2005 as a sergeant. He was a trooper at the Sandusky post from April 1999 — after graduating from the academy — until his promotion.

Lt. Gregory Greggila, the Sandusky post commander, also referred questions to a patrol spokesman.

“I had nothing to do with it,” he said about the process. “I can’t make any comment on it all.”

Wlodarsky told an investigator there was no malicious intent behind the picture.

“I hold nothing against any race,” he said last week.

An audio recording from the investigation indicates Wlodarsky was counseled for a November 2006 incident while he was a Mansfield assistant post commander. Another trooper said Wlodarsky failed to respond for back-up on a traffic stop of a car carrying a group of black males — and instead delivered Cleveland Browns tickets to an off-duty trooper.

Franklin earlier apologized and said he was embarrassed about the KKK prank.

Comments

babyboomer

How can we ever become one America when we have this kind of BS going on, and with law enforcement officers no less? I guess a bad one slips by now and then. He should be more than embarassed by what he did, he should be ashamed as well as the rest of the officers who passed along the picture and laughed. We'll see who gets the last laugh come election time. Go Barack Obama!! A vote for Barack is a vote for a badly needed change in this country!

Dave Rimmer, Li...

I obviously do not know these officers and I certainly do not condone racism in any form and I would also say that this behaviour, especially from a police officer is innapropriate. However couldnt this case seen in a different light.I have always thought that the kkk in their white pointy hoods look a right bunch of pillocks and indeed they are but were not the officers portraying this aspect, ie taking the p*ss out of the stupid looking b*stards in the clan.....I dont know, but it is another way of seeing the officers prank. So which was it, condoning the kkk and racism or taking the p*ss out of them

just plain disgusted

That's nice they do something so stupid in Sandusky so the answer is send them to Norwalk let them be our problem. It's better they fire them then us have to worry about what they will do next.

Watchdog One

Every person in Ohio union or not should be outraged by the blatant violation of these troopers rights. These men were subjected to the Patrol's hearing process admitted they were wrong, were honest and truthful and took their medicine.

Now, comes Governor Strickland playing politics and bending to the pressure of the NAACP. How many bites at the apple does Strickland want to destroy their lives and their families?
Strickland's political appointments are entrusted with the day to day operations of the Patrol and he should stand by their decision.

The troopers will surely get their jobs back when this goes to arbitration and wiil cost us taxpayers huge anounts in awards--all in the name of politics.

David Deerest.

I urge everyone to do what it says under the picture...
BUY PHOTO.
That's the silliest thing I've ever read, Beavis.

LBJim

I would buy that photo, what its condoning isn't funny, but the paper with holes cut in it is lol.

swiss family

to "meatloaf" i want to tell you that i am not outraged that this appears to be a political ploy..
i am glad and appreciative that the governor has stepped in, to make sure that the State patrol maintains the respect, and class that they have always seemed to have..
i think that it was set up in an inappropriate way, that the State Patrol investigates their own misconduct!! isn't that like the wolves watching the hen house??i don't believe that they can pass judgement on themselves, or their fellow officers, and do it fairly..and i am glad, and proud, that the Governor has reinstated respectability, and order in a system, that has obviously lost some of it's control

babyboomer

These men may be having a "bit of fun" but they crossed a line that they never should've crossed as they are representatives of law enforcement. The KKK uniform is offensive to African Americans as the swastika is to Jews. It is a reminder of a bunch of senseless murders and genocide that took place that are hurtful.

For e.g. back when I was in college,these students were teacher wannabes and they were telling me what they do for a good time which was they go down to Columbus and wait outside the gay bars and beat them up and steal their wallets when they come out. I told these 2 men, I woulnd't go around bragging about that if I were you, what if that was someone's brother,uncle or father you did that to. These guys were gonna be school teachers and I thought to myself I would hate for one of these guys to be one of my children's teachers, especially if my child were gay. These patrolmen,same point are supposed to uphold the law and treat everyone the same. I would be very afraid, if I were a black person to have one of these men arrest me or one of my children, they might treat them worse because they are black. Absolutely these men need to be taken off the force! I'm white and I am offended by it and don't think it's a bit funny because of what it represents which is needless human suffering.

Dave Rimmer, Li...

OK Swiss and BabyBoomer you have answered my question.
You believe it was a racist act. Should that be the case they should not only be sacked but prosecuted for racism.
The kkk are no better than Adolf Hitlers Third Reich, at least the Third Reich did not hide themselves behind stupid pointy hoods, looking like the bunch of pillocks and cowards that they are. Instead of Bush (with the blessing of Tony Blair) invading Iraq, the huge amounts of money should have gone to wiping out these pathetic, racist, idiots that call themselves the kkk

babyboomer

Ypu bring up a good point djrimmer, maybe we ought to start prosecuting these racists. Inspired by Wesley Snipes tax evasion sentence to the maximum as they are making him an example that you can't run from the IRS.
I believe that when you have a job that involves serving the public,it carries a certain amount of weight of a moral obligation with it such as cops,teachers,social workers, etc. should uphold. Prosecuted? No. Be held accountable for their actions,absolutely, and if that means being demoted and taking a cut in pay or sacked, so be it. Blacks and Jews are taxpayers and contribute to their salaries. They deserve protection as well as anyone else. Even poor white people get similar treatment. It's a different kind, it discriminates because of class.
Bush has done irreversible damage to this country. It was not a well thought out plan, obviously. Here we are, 7 years later, thousands of soldiers dead (no disrespect intended) and still no Bin Laden caught. We wanted justice after 911 and when Bush sent troops into Afghanistan to seek him out, we felt we were getting payback. Why then did we abandon getting Bin Laden and take a sharp turn into Iraq? Hey, aren't we going in the wrong direction? Now we are in this big mess of losing hope of ever getting out of there. Look at how he handled Hurricane Katrina. All Bush has managed to do is turn leadership over to corporate America who could care less if a worker doesn't have enough money to pay for gas to get to work, make his house payment, pay for food to feed his family. What are they gonna do when people have to start rationalizing and stop buying?

David Deerest.

Last time I checked, the KKK wasn't trying to drive any planes into buildings, crippling our economy.

Dave Rimmer, Li...

Maybe not Dave but havnt they killed and maimed American citizens just because they were black or is my assesment to simplistic.

David Deerest.

But one is about religion, one is about color.

concernedWKMNres

CHERADES!! THE ANSWER WAS....MOST SOUGHT AFTER CRIMINALS IN US HISTORY? It was in poor taste, but I highly doubt if this Officer meant anything harmful to anyone of any race. (( Lets face it though folks, KKK are every where. IN every town, every neighborhood.))

Watchdog One

Swiss Family: My point is these troopers fall into Ohio's Collective Barginning LAW. The Governor can not break the law. He cannot step in and retry these men just because he disagrees with the decision of his political appointees. The Troopers Union has a contract with the state of Ohio and it agreed to abide by it. Strickland is wrong and he knows it. He is playing politics. They will get their jobs back because of this with back pay.Strickland can then play hero and say he tried to fired them and satisfy the special interests groups involved. The Taxpayers will get the shaft again.

babyboomer

deerdave, no, one doesn't have to do with the other. Just when I hear or read Bush's name I have to get up on my soapbox!LOL! Don't even get me started on that guy! When djrimmer mentioned Bush, I responded.

wsb

not to make this about bush or anything but babyboomer just made me say this. we have not forgotten about bin laden, he is an excellent hide and seek player so after we found a nation with a horrible dictator with no value towards his subjects life, we decided to lessen our focus on a man who is hiding and therefore can not kill hundreds of people at a time anymore and focus on the man who was still in power and could kill hundreds of people with one simple order. Also, he did everything in his power for hurricane katrina. if you investigate you will find out that there has to be people that ask him to do stuff. first the mayor must ask the governer who must then proceed to president bush. Therefore, had the mayor been on top of things and properly asked for help then the situation would have been handled a lot better. if you dont like bush then take an active role in politics and run for president to make a difference yourself. remember that no matter wat an elected leader does half of the people will think they should do more and half the people think they should do less. What would your reaction be if we wouldnt have done anything ater 9/11?

David Deerest.

I understand that completely. What I'm saying is the KKK is a rasist group against probably any person of color. Not just blacks, but of color. They didn't like Jews either, I remember seeing the "leader" on tv once and they bad mouthed Jews and anybody who wasn't "white". Terrorist didn't care what color you were, what nationality you were, or what your religious beliefs were- they just killed 3,000 of us because we are "Americans".
As far as Katrina- they had PLENTY of warning to get out of Dodge, so to speak. They chose not to go, because most thought, "oh, it won't hit us, they've been saying that for years, it never hits us." The busses still sat there in the same spot where they parked them BEFORE the hurricane hit. Then they blame it on Bush. I say it's their own fault for not heeding the warning and getting the hell out. Most of all I felt bad for the animals, being raised by dumb people with no common sense, getting left there to fend for themselves.

Dave Rimmer, Li...

This story in particular highlights the reason I want to contribute on another countries site. Quite simply knowledge of other communities. I have always abhorred racism and the subject of the kkk came up in this post.
I have tried to understand the beliefs of such a contemptuous organisation and Dave has increased my knowledge and contempt by telling me that he believes that they are totally racist, not just against the black community. That I was not aware of. Certainly, in the UK racists will be actively pursued and prosecuted under British Law. Do you not have a similar law over there?

babyboomer

I have relatives that live in New Orleans. I used to live there. I was just down there last August.
As soon as we were able to get through there to see if everyone was ok, I was told it was nothing but total chaos. They said, the news reporters were able to get in, why couldn't aid get in to help them? We could see what was going on on the television, you mean someone in the Bush administration,or the governor didn't hear about it and mention it to the president? The mayor was screaming over the tv, "We Need Help!" Seeing those people sitting there in the heat with no water. Do you have any idea how hot it gets there in the summertime? In August? It's not like your typical heat like it is up here. It's 10 x worse there, the humidity is bad. And it was like this for how many days? Almost a week!
As for getting the hell out of Dodge, if you know the area, it's just not that simple which is a mistake that they learned from I'm told. There aren't that many routes to take out of New Orleans. The main evacuation route is out of I-10, and all other routes out of there go along the coast. They have been saying for years the evacuation route as it is would trap people if the BIG one ever hit. That's why the Superdome was used. A lot of those people were poor, nowhere to go outside of New Orleans, go where? Stay with whom? Sure, there was a lousy plan but it's what happened after it hit. Those people and children needed water and supplies. The aid should've been there at least the very next day! When I was down there in August, I went to visit my old neighborhood, nothing but shambles and just debris all over the place! I was in shock at what I saw. My aunt said that her husband (my uncle) took what happened real hard, she said he still hasn't recovered from what happened, and I heard stories like that from other people. They thought they were abandoned and nobody cared. What were they supposed to do, wade or swim through that water? That water had God knows what floating in it not to mention rats,red ants, alligators,snakes in it. I just think the Bush administration could've done better at getting aid there quicker than what they did. I was watching the tv during that time and I kept yelling at the tv, where is the national guard? Why isn't anyone helping those people? And I am not alone on this!

wsb

i never said you were alone in those thoughts but when it comes down to it, there has to be a chain of command and although it may seem stupid to most people, it is there for a reason and if the mayor and governor would have handled the situation better then it would have never come to that. Like Dave said there were lots of busses there to evacuate people and they were given a warning to leave. If the national guard was there what did you expect them to do, follow citizens around with personal fans in order to keep them cool? until the water levels went down nothing could be done. the mayor can scream all they want to but until they actually follow the requirements nothing can be done.

rogerthat

Since this has turned to the Katrina disaster: it looks to me like the delay was caused by the Bush administration making sure that the right people profited from the relief effort. Just follow the money.

David Deerest.

So, I guess since this article has taken stupid troopers all the way back to Hurricane Katrina then all things evil are Bush's fault. Are you all idiots? Let me answer that with a resounding yes. First of all the troopers need to be dealt with by the law, not the governor. Of course our governor being a Dummycrat has to grandstand, it's in the book. Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi not New Orleans. FEMA responded as timely as possible. New Orleans had a flood caused by Democrats squandering the federal monies given to them to maintain the pumps and levees in which was spent on a river boat and casino. Mississippi was hit much worse and the people dug in and went to work as first responders do and did not hide in a hotel room and cry as the mayor of New Orleans did. Stop begging the feds for help or blaming them for your own short comings. Real Democrats died from the same bullet that killed Kennedy. Blaming Bush for everything just makes you look all the more puny. Tiny minds can cause huge problems.

rogerthat

Deer Dave speaks from experience on the tiny minds thing. Misstating others posts and name calling shows a very weak
debating style. Hang it up, Dave, you can't educate all of us.

babyboomer

First of all Deer Dave,don't call me an idiot.
Second,I may be a Democrat,but I am also a concerned and compassionate Democrat who cares about people that are defenseless and oppressed.I wouldn't be a good little Democrat if I didn't feel that way now would I?It doesn't make me an idiot with a tiny mind though.
You're just p*ssed that Bush didn't turn out to be the hero you thought he was.So sorry he hasn't lived up to your expecatations.Democrats rule this year and you know it and that's what's got you so hateful towards me.Bash my party,that's ok,we can take it.
All things evil going on in this country ARE Bush's fault and I say that with a resounding "YES!!!!!"He had his chance and he scr**ed up!Live with it!
As far as Hurricane Katrina,I know in my heart what happpened.I also know what happepned in Mississippi too as I have relatives on the coast there too whose homes were wiped out and they came and stayed with us thanks to a Red Cross volunteer who personally loaned them her credit card so they could get gas to get out of there because of the price gouging and looting going on.How come the director of FEMA resigned?Because Bush made a poor choice in appointing someone who had no experience.Which is another reason FEMA didn't respond quickly enough!
This story is about racism,how about the fact that most of those people in the ninth ward were poor and black.I believe that racism played a card in those people not getting help fast enough.I heard people's comments up here and referring to those people as being "one less **gger on the face of the earth." Now that's what I call a puny mind!
I have hope for the new generation coming up that they are going to view us all as one people who have to share the earth and live together in peace.One party,the PEACE party,where we share in and solve each other's problems instead of trying to outdo one another. Go Barack Obama!

babyboomer

The river boats and casinos were already there when the Hurricane hit Dave.
Lordy mercy! Dem dere Democrats done spent dat money on dem dere 'po people in Na Awlins!

David Deerest.

THEY SPENT THE MONEY ON BUILDING THE WRONG THINGS. WHY DIDN'T THEY BUILD THE LEVEES UP AND PROTECT THE CITY?? WHY DID THEY BUY THAT YACHT??? Because like any other city, they need to MAKE money. Not too many tourist want to see a levee when they come to New Orleans. They go there to PARTY and have a good time!
Mayor Naggin DID NOT use his head, and instead of standing up and being a MAN when this happened, comforting people when people needed to be reassured, he WHINED and boo-hooed on national television.
I'm done. This isn't worth my time.

David Deerest.

One more thing.IF you read what I said then read what most of you said, the only racist remarks are your own. How do you know that I'm not black? Or worse, a conservative black. You need to go back to school and study not listen. By doing nothing but listening you tend to repeat things you really know nothing about. Good Day.

babyboomer

"or worse, a conservative black?", no way Dave, I've read your posts and you are a dyed in the wool white conservative. Whether you were a conservative or a poor black you would've showed some kind of compassion for those people but I don't see that anywhere in your posts.You're just trying to turn the tables on me to make yourself look good.

babyboomer

"or worse, a conservative black?", no way Dave, I've read your posts and you are a dyed in the wool white conservative. Whether you were a conservative or a poor black you would've showed some kind of compassion for those people but I don't see that anywhere in your posts.You're just trying to turn the tables on me to make yourself look good.
Nobody gets an education by just studying,listening will get you the best education of all.

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