No Protection for Police Whistle Blowers, Ct’d . . .

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Rogers, Minnesota police officers Mike Miller and Mike Hayen are under investigation after an incident last July in which Hayen allegedly used potentially deadly force against a motorcyclist who was fleeing as Miller was pursuing him for speeding. A witness reported seeing Hayen pull his squad car into the road at the last minute to block the motorcyclist as he was riding at a high rate of speed, causing the motorcyclist to crash. The witness says he attempted to report what he saw but neither Hayen nor Miller took a statement from him or ever called him back. Their report doesn’t mention Hayen moving his car into the motorcyclist’s path, or the presence of the witness.

We know all of this because a month later, the witness casually mentioned the incident to Sgt. Joleen Pitts at a police department open house. Alarmed, Pitts relayed the story to Rogers Police Chief Jeff Luther. Luther interviewed the witness, then opened an investigation into Hayen and Miller. In January, Luther testified at a closed city council meeting, where he argued that Hayen and Miller should be fired. Hayen was put on administrative leave, but the city took no further action.

Against Hayen or Miller, that is. A month later, the city did put Luther and Pitts on administrative leave, for “undisclosed reasons”.

The city’s actions floored Diane Karnitz, a Brooklyn Park detective who has known Luther and Pitts for much of their careers.

“There’s nobody that has more integrity than either of them as far as I’m concerned,” she said. Others in law enforcement who know them “are just shaking their heads and knowing that this is an injustice, and amazed that something like that can happen in 2011.”

The previous Rogers City Council recruited Luther in late 2008 after he left a long unblemished BCA career, said Mike Murphy, operations supervisor at North Memorial Ambulance who has known Luther for 35 years.

“They were looking for a chief that would break away from small-town, good-old-boy, pat-on-the-back philosophy of the past” and run the department more professionally, he said.

Pitts has a 20-year career with a “spotless disciplinary history,” said her attorney, Chris Wachtler. She worked on Champlin’s force before joining the Rogers department in 2005. Last year she received a meritorious award for successfully dealing with a suicidal person without any use of force.

Three former City Council members who hired Luther say charges against him and Pitts are “trumped up” and retaliation for “doing the right thing” in investigating Hayen and Miller…

Here’s the kicker: Miller is godfather to the daughter of Rogers Mayor Jason Grimm.

Oh wait. Hang on a sec. That’s not the kicker. Here’s the kicker: While Luther is on suspension, Miller has been named acting police chief.

More on the appalling lack of protection for police whistle blowers here.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

24 Responses to “No Protection for Police Whistle Blowers, Ct’d . . .”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    move along…

  2. #2 |  Kristen | 

    You mean “while Luther is on suspension…”, no? Because Luther was the erstwhile Chief, not Pitts.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    here’s a petition for their reinstatement….

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/reinstate-chief-luther-and-sergeant-pitts/

  4. #4 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I’m sure that Luther and Pitts are just a couple bad apples who slipped through the integrity screening process. Most of the other cops are probably free from any job-affecting compulsions to be truthful or ethical.

  5. #5 |  Highway | 

    See, there aren’t many bad apples on the police force. They’re on the city council…

  6. #6 |  Mario | 

    One man’s whistle blower, is another cop’s “rat bastard.” Ah, the Blue Code of Silence. It only gets better when people with political connections are involved.

    Shouldn’t there be a federal investigation?

  7. #7 |  perlhaqr | 

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  8. #8 |  WillyTee | 

    Back in the early 80’s I got arrested for DUI, the state patrol officer received a call and put me in the front seat and proceeded to join a chase of a motorcycle at speeds reaching over 100 miles per hour, he told me to buckle up if I was worried. The bike exited the freeway and several squads come at him from all directions, a Saint Paul police car right in front of us intentionally rammed the bike from behind. I complained to the officer and started yell to the biker that i was a witness,this got me threatened with a ride down to the river. None of what happened ever made the news of came to light in court.
    I am glad to see that times have changed and at least this things sometimes see the light of day.

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    All and all, I’d rather have this guy as chief of police: http://tinyurl.com/4o7dvzb (SFW)

    At least he has some morality.

  10. #10 |  SusanK | 

    Why would the union protect whistleblowers when the union exists to protect “bad apples”?
    Perhaps this is something that “civilian review boards” would be beneficial for.

  11. #11 |  Random Guy on the Internet | 

    OT:

    I wonder how they’ll be able to spin this one as another casualty in the “war on cops”:

    http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/timeline-surrounding-li-cop-s-slaying-1.2757022

    Also, does anyone here believe that if a civilian killed somebody for carrying a rifle at his side, it would be dismissed as an “unfortunate accident”?

  12. #12 |  EH | 

    here’s a useless petition for their reinstatement….

    FTFY.

  13. #13 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Boyd: Why use tinyurl? It only obscures the target. While you may think you have an unimpeachable reputation wherever you roam, hiding the link target does not follow safe internet practices.

  14. #14 |  Tyro | 

    Holy crap. If this was in a movie I wouldn’t believe it. How can this degree of blatant injustice happen in the West? I’m still shocked by this blog.

  15. #15 |  SamK | 

    Randomguy, Newsday.com is behind a paywall for me. This link worked.
    http://ten8.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/on-long-island-fatal-shooting-of-officer-is-a-case-of-mistaken-identity/

  16. #16 |  J.S. | 

    But, but.. the police are the only ones who can protect us! They should always be trusted!

  17. #17 |  varmintito | 

    This is infuriating. It is obstruction of justice by those sworn to uphold the law. It violates multiple felony statutes. There should be prison time

  18. #18 |  Mannie | 

    Remember, the worst thing a policeman can do, is to try to enforce the law.

  19. #19 |  john smith | 

    I happen to know Captain Mike Miller And I can tell you he is an upstanding officer who has an exemplary record. Captain Miller was hand selected to attend the fbi training accademy in Quantico Virginia In 2008. Less than 2 percent are even asked and a backround check is required to attend.
    Captain Mike Miller has been with the Rogers Police Department for over ten years. Mike has been an integral part of the community since 1993. He actually lives in Rogers unlike most of the other officers. Mike has selflessly dedicated himself to bettering the community by participating in Local events and Living In Rogers knows quite a few people and The Mayor was his friend long before he became Mayor. A Police captain is required to maintain the department by filling in as acting chief while the chief is absent for whatever reason.
    I for one take my hat off to this dedicated officer.
    The Sad thing here is uninformed ignorant people like you writing these terrible things about remarkable and dedicated public servants.

  20. #20 |  CyniCAl | 

    This is a test.

  21. #21 |  Ian | 

    john smith = Captain Mike Miller
    Seriously?

    If there’s nothing to hide, you should welcome an investigation.

  22. #22 |  john smith | 

    Ian
    Couldnt agree with you more!

  23. #23 |  john smith | 

    Ian = Jeff Luther
    Seriously?

  24. #24 |  john smith | 

    Wow!! The turds are a FLYIN!
    Say what you want But Ian I say BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply