The city and three of its police officers settled their differences Monday rather than proceed with a scheduled termination hearing.Two of the former officers -Paul Bouchard and Mary Kay O'Neil - retired without facing any disciplinary action. A third involved with a botched confession, Sgt. Joseph Centanni, will return to work after serving a brief suspension. He will make the same pay and remain as a sergeant but agreed not to work as a detective. O'Neil was 11 days shy of the 20-year pension benchmark before she and the two others were placed on unpaid suspension, stopping her pension clock. She will, however, be allowed to retire with 20 years of service. Bouchard resigned last month with 32 years on the force and he will get his longevity allowance and accrued vacation time.
Now, maybe we've been chewing too much qat, but all this seems in stark contrast to just a few weeks ago. You remember, Harry and his posse in front of the television cameras, in their buffalo stance, extolling their commitment to civil liberties. They were going to terminate these officers! Which would mean no pensions etc. Which would mean....actual punishment. What the hell happened?
Since there was no televised press conference (Harry always opens with a press conference and then, after f****g things-up, ignores the press ) following the settlement, this is a victory for the cops. Which, of course, is fine. We've always thought the fact that O'Neil was charged was absurd. As for Centanni? This quote from his lawyer, E. Stewart Jones sounds prophetic:
Centanni's criminal attorney, E. Stewart Jones, called his client a political "scapegoat" and recommends they gear up for a fight. Thus far there have been no criminal charges filed."The investigation I know of and am familiar with will not support his termination," Jones said. "This is a politically expedient exercise by City Hall and it is not fair to the police department or the police officers."
What the hell happened?
If Centanni and/or O'Neil did something wrong, why weren't they punished? If they did not deserve punishment (real punishment) why were they charged?
If someone screwed up, who?
Why has the city made confidentiality part of the settlement?
The Record's Jim Franco has followed this story from the beginning and has some interesting thoughts.
Harry, Mitchell & Co. know how to put on a Dog-and-Pony Show. They just don't know how to put out.
Utube-gate, the Corporal - Captain fiasco, the behavior in contract negotiations and now this. The administration owes the fine men and women of our Police Department an apology. Also, authorizing the use of European-type sirens in the radio cars would be a nice gesture: the ones that go, "EEEE! AH! EEE! AH! Those sirens are cool.