Monday, March 9, 2009
A federal judge today chastised police Supt. Jody Weis for "sending the wrong message" when he refused at first to turn over the names of officers who have at least five citizen complaints filed against them since 2000.
On Friday, Weis relented, following the judge's order and giving the names to lawyers representing a woman in an excessive-force case against the city.
That was enough to get U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman to drop a contempt finding against Weis.
But the judge wasn't happy that Weis had delayed turning over the list. He ordered the city to pay the legal expenses of the plaintiffs' attorneys.
“No one is above the law,” Gettleman said.
He cited a 1928 Supreme Court decision that said: “If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law. It invites every man to become a law unto himself. It invites anarchy.”
Weis apologized to Gettleman, saying his original decision to defy the court order was one of the "most difficult decisions I have made in my life."
"I just wanted to apologize if I offended the court in any way," said Weis, who was flanked by city attorneys.
In his original decision to refuse the court's order, Weis had written that handing over the roughly 2,500 names would "compromise officers' performance, threaten safety, reduce morale and improperly impugn many officers' otherwise well-deserved good reputations."
Go figure. I don't think this could reduce morale any lower than it is.This list should have never come out in the first place.