Mayor Dick Miller is disputing a claim from an attorney for suspended police officer Michael Breen.
Elmer Robert Keach III said Breen is being targeted over an anonymous sexual harassment complaint filed against former Chief Joseph Redmond. Keach denied his client filed the original complaint and only said it was another employee at the police department who did. But Keach said Breen's fiancee, Caitlyn Wenzel, a former intern at the police department, was a witness to the alleged sexual harassment.
During a media conference on the steps of City Hall on Monday, Keach said his client "is being used as a punching bag."
But Miller said the disciplinary charges against Breen are not a retaliatory step by Redmond.
"These allegations are false. In fact, Chief Redmond did not recommend the administrative charges before or after his retirement. The administrative charges were preferred by me, as mayor, with the advice and concurrence of the city's attorneys and Common Council," Miller said in a media release Thursday. "They were based solely on the circumstances surrounding, and subsequent investigation of, the incident on January 28. As has been previously stated, Chief Redmond served the department with distinction for over 30 years, and retired from it in good standing."
Breen had sent an e-mail to all eight aldermen and the mayor suggesting his suspension was because of an anonymous sexual harassment complaint earlier this year against Redmond.
That complaint, investigated by city Personnel Director Kathy Wolverton, was judged by the city to be unfounded, and no action was taken against Redmond.
Redmond announced his retirement March 7 in the midst of the investigation into the incident. Breen is on paid administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing. He also faces possible criminal charges.
Keach denies his client used excessive force against Bradford Shanks, 39, during the Jan. 28 traffic stop. Shanks told The Daily Star he fled on foot away from the traffic stop to find a sergeant at the nearby police station. Breen punched him in the head while he was on the ground and in a headlock, after he reached into his pocket to prevent money from falling out, according to Shanks.
Miller had declined to comment after Keach's media conference Monday.