FBI Hears Brownsville, PA Police Issues

From The Herald-Standard Newspaper of Uniontown, PA, June 3, 2013

The FBI has confirmed it has received a request for an investigation into the borough police department but would not say whether an investigation is taking place.

Kelly Kochamba, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Pittsburgh, said the agency couldn’t comment further.

Borough Councilman John Hosler said he filed a request with the FBI last month, calling for an investigation of the police department. Pornography also was found on one of the borough computers, he said.

Council approved the request for an investigation last month during its meeting, with Councilman Ross Swords Jr., public safety committee chairman, voting against it. Council members Charlie Perkins and Tracy Sheehan Zivkovich were absent from the meeting.

In recent months, residents have voiced complaints at council meetings, expressing their disapproval of police department operations.

Since February, Albert DeSalvo has attended every council meeting, demanding answers as to why he said he was “brutally attacked” by an officer after making a sarcastic remark during an investigation.

Angela Perkins addressed council in April, explaining that she was upset with the way her son was treated during the time of his arrest. Although she warned the officer that her son is prone to seizures, she said the officer hit her son’s head off the wall three times. Choke marks also were found on his neck following the alleged altercation, she said.

In addition to those who were directly affected by the alleged incidents, residents such as Tyrone Smith encouraged council to take the complaints more seriously and refer to previous council meeting minutes that lists the complaints.

More than 30 complaints have been filed in the last two months from people who wish to speak to the FBI, Hosler said

Disciplinary action, however, can’t be taken if proper procedure isn’t followed, according to council President Jack Lawver. Residents need to prepare a written complaint to provide to police Chief Stan Jablonsky, who would turn it over to the mayor. From there, the police committee would review it before council addresses it, Lawver said.

As of Wednesday, Lawver said only six written complaints have been filed about the police department since 2010. The most recent complaint was filed within the last month.

“That is all spelled out in the union contract,” he said. “Nothing has been followed. When you are dealing with a bargaining agreement, you can’t bypass and step or you’re wasting your time.”

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