Corrupt Cop Rebuked — Citizens Win, Right?
At first I thought Andrew Abramson's article entitled "Police Captain Demoted To Officer After Turning Evidence" was going to be Mr. Fuddlesticks Part II, where police officers' careers were destroyed when they demonstrated their integrity. I was interested to see what evidence he turned.
"Former Police Captain Randy Maale accepted his steep demotion to road patrol officer on Thursday, although police union treasurer Lou Penque said the union has filed a grievance. 'Our opinion is he was disciplined without just cause,' Penque said.
... Maale is believed to be the first captain in the city’s history to be demoted to officer."
Knowing what I do about the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office's Police Benevolent Association [union] (PBA), and seeing their support for him, raised a red flag. The PBA, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw's administration, and State's Attorney Mike McAuliffe are an unholy trinity of bad policing.
The 2004 incident report on PBA president John Kazanjian makes it very clear. The report quotes Kazanjian's friend, shouting (at the officers whose supervisors would not allow them to arrest him), "I am a captain with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, this is my county! You will release that man now!" Don't try this at home, even if you're as drunk as they were. The good old boys do whatever they want without fear of consequences.
From Abramson's article on Cop Talk:
"According to the report, Maale, then a lieutenant, held his 'Annual Maale Memorial Day Party' at his Palm Beach Gardens home on May 30, 2010, sending out invitations from his city computer. He told a sergeant and four officers under him to attend the party, and then signed off that they each worked 11.5 hours that day.
The city found out about the investigation from an anonymous tip, and forwarded the information to the State Attorney’s Office, which launched an official investigation. Maale, Sgt. Frank Distefano and four officers were read their Miranda rights and interrogated. The State Attorney’s Office ultimately didn’t press charges, saying it was unable to prove any intent that a crime was committed." [Emphasis added]
Sure. He accidentally invited subordinates to a mandatory party at his house, then signed their time cards. Honest mistake, happens all the time.
The part that stuck out for me was the "anonymous tip," suggesting that rank and file officers somehow scored a victory over corrupt superiors. I thought the success may have been attributable to the anonymous message board for that county, where officers communicate directly with citizens without fear of retribution. I believe this is the best chance we have of cleaning up law enforcement. I was disappointed to see virtually nothing about it on the board. In other words, it didn't come from below.Continued on the next page