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Police to probe response



Published: Tue, March 25, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The chief said that he has not received any citizen complaints.

& lt;a href=mailto:sinkovich@vindy.com & gt;By PEGGY SINKOVICH & lt;/a & gt;

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- In the midst of requests for federal agencies to investigate allegations of police misconduct, the chief says he has ordered a captain to begin an internal investigation.

Capt. Tim Bowers has been assigned to investigate the handling of a crowd of teenagers that spilled onto North Park Avenue early March 15 after a birthday party ended at the Comfort Inn downtown.

Police Chief John Mandopoulos, however, said Bowers is not being asked to investigate due to the allegations of police misconduct.

"Depending on what he finds, individual officers can file slander suits against organizations, businesses, and individuals," Mandopoulos said. "There are two television stations that the police union's attorneys are looking into. I think we should get an attorney from out of town to handle it."

Blames the media

The chief said he has not received any citizen complaints.

"The media wanted to make an issue of this," the chief said.

Police reports indicate there were many fights and yelling when officers arrived. Police arrested seven juveniles and one adult.

Allegations of police misconduct began rolling in to the mayor's office March 17. The Warren-Trumbull Urban League officials said they, too, have received numerous complaints and have requested that the U.S. Justice Department do an internal investigation.

Atty. Maridee Costanzo, who represents one of the people arrested, has sent a letter to the FBI also asking for an investigation.

Justice Department and FBI officials could not be reached to comment.

"This is the first I have heard of an internal investigation," Angelo said. "I've never heard of a police department taking on the media."

Video patrol

The Urban League is also starting a citizens video patrol to record activities of the city police in an effort to prevent or document cases of police abuse.

Thomas S. Conley, president and CEO of the Urban League, said he decided to start the video patrol after he received several calls on allegations of police brutality.

Conley said a 15-year-old girl told him she was slammed into a cruiser by an officer, and city officials said they were told that an officer hit a 19-year-old who was on the ground and handcuffed.

& lt;a href=mailto:sinkovich@vindy.com & gt;sinkovich@vindy.com & lt;/a & gt;




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