Skip to comments.Police chief ordered ambush, memo says (Boca Raton, FL. You know, Palm Beach County)
Posted on 10/22/2005 7:15:36 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s
Saturday, October 22, 2005
BOCA RATON Police Chief Andrew Scott, already under fire for releasing a wealthy friend from custody, in August ordered a traffic stop on a city resident so a Miami TV news reporter could interview him, according to a memo written by the sergeant who reluctantly followed the command.
Scott ordered two assistant chiefs to have an officer help WPLG-Channel 10 reporter Julie Summers get an interview with a contractor who had been dodging her attempts to speak with him, according to the memo obtained by The Palm Beach Post.
Sgt. Jeff Kelly was asked to follow the contractor, conduct a traffic stop if any driving violations occurred, and then Summers could "ambush him to do her story," the memo says.
On Friday, Kelly confirmed he wrote the memo and had discussed its content with Deputy City Manager George Brown. Kelly said he could not comment on the traffic stop because "it's under investigation."
In his memo, Kelly wrote, "Being a new sergeant on probation... I said I would do it. It wasn't right, but I would do it if this is what the chief wanted done."
At around 11 a.m., on Aug. 30, Kelly parked his unmarked police car near a stop sign at Forest Hill Lane, the memo notes. Summers and her cameraman were in an unmarked car nearby.
When contractor Henk Schiffer drove away in a blue Cadillac, Summers called Kelly's cellphone and told him the contractor was driving east on Forest Hill Lane, the memo says.
Kelly stopped Schiffer when the car rolled through a stop sign.
"While I was on my stop, Ms. Somers (sic) with cameraman in tow, swooped in and started drilling Schiffer with questions," Kelly wrote. "I quickly wrote out a traffic warning ticket for the violation and left."
When Kelly returned to the police department, Scott called him into his office and thanked him, the memo says.
Scott did not return several calls for comment Friday.
City Manager Leif Ahnell said, "We're reviewing it."
Summers reports for Channel 10's "Problem Solvers" segments. She had unsuccessfully tried to reach the contractor several times at work in an attempt to interview him about a faulty sidewalk in the Loggers' Run community west of Boca Raton, Schiffer said when reached at his home Thursday night.
"The whole stop sure had a staged feeling to it," Schiffer said. "I thought it was weird that the cop stopped me and then all of a sudden a TV crew comes running up."
Summers got her interview with Schiffer, who said he's concerned that the way it appeared on TV made it seem as if there was more to the story than a faulty sidewalk.
"Seeing me pulled over with cop cars, it made me look like I was a fugitive," Schiffer said. "What's the chief of police getting involved with the media for?"
Summers did not return calls for comment. The ABC affiliate's Managing Editor Alissa Merlo said she would call back to comment for Channel 10, but did not.
Kelly wasn't the first officer asked to follow the chief's orders, police sources said. An assistant chief had previously asked a captain, lieutenant and undercover sergeant to find someone to do it. Each refused the request, sources said.
Calls to the captain and lieutenant were not returned Friday. The sergeant said he could not comment.
Dave Skrabec, president of the city's police union, said the executive board learned about the incident on Oct. 11 and brought it to the deputy city manager's attention the following morning.
"The Fraternal Order of Police membership feels that it was improper and unprofessional and most likely violated several department policies, in addition to possibly infringing upon someone's civil rights," Skrabec said Friday.
Scott drew criticism from the union last month for going to the police department at 2 a.m. and ordering his officers to release developer Greg Talbott. The 51-year-old Talbott had been arrested shortly before midnight Sept. 23 on charges he battered his wife, a police officer and restaurant manager in a drunken ruckus outside the upscale Luna Pazza eatery on Palmetto Park Road.
The union called for an investigation into Scott's actions, which they said violated a state law that requires anyone who is arrested on domestic battery charges be sent to jail and held there until an appearance before a judge.
Scott has said he released Talbott because of the developer's medical condition. Talbott, a police benefactor and honorary police badge holder, has a pacemaker and has survived five heart attacks.
On Thursday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Scott did not commit a crime when he ordered Talbott's release.
The city manager said Friday that he is reviewing the incident to see if Scott violated any departmental policies.
"We are continuing to review all of the Fraternal Order of Police's allegations," Ahnell said.
Through his attorney, Robert Sweetapple, Talbott has said that officers used excessive force when they took him into custody. Talbott was treated for facial cuts and bruises at Boca Raton Community Hospital before he was taken to the police station. The department is investigating Talbott's allegation of police brutality.
The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office is still deciding whether to file formal charges against Talbott, whose wife, Mimi, has said that her husband never pushed her the night of his arrest.
Kinda makes you wonder doesn't it? Besides the slimey ethics and dubious legality of the chief's actions, I wonder why he worked so hard at making someone do this for the reporterette (where did she get such influence?) Counting the sgt that did it, it says he "asked", or had his assistant ask 4 officers.
This happened in my neighborhood and it is the current subject of conversation all around this small, gossip-ridden community. Everyone, except the chief, finds this little tidbit of politically corrupt entertainment amusing.
No oxygen in the chief's brain due to it all rushing to his groin, evidently.
That, or she has something on him.
Yet another one of America's Finest. :/
You think the PB state attorney will be as enthusiastic and dogged in pursuing this as he has been Rush?
Seen any pictures of the reporterette? Just curious if she is good looking......or are her talents less obvious?
Don't know either
Thats SOP for crooked socialist democrats and their propaganda machine in the media.
Hmmm... Boca Raton, Spanish for Rat Mouth.