Saturday, October 22, 2005

Palm Beach chief helps reporter get gotcha interview.

Media: By help I mean telling an officer to stop the guy for anything to give the reporter time to get there. That builds trust in the force.

BOCA RATON — Police Chief Andrew Scott, already under fire for releasing a wealthy friend from custody, in August ordered a traffic stop on a city resident so a Miami TV news reporter could interview him, according to a memo written by the sergeant who reluctantly followed the command. Scott ordered two assistant chiefs to have an officer help WPLG-Channel 10 reporter Julie Summers get an interview with a contractor who had been dodging her attempts to speak with him, according to the memo obtained by The Palm Beach Post. ....On Friday, Kelly confirmed he wrote the memo and had discussed its content with Deputy City Manager George Brown. Kelly said he could not comment on the traffic stop because "it's under investigation." In his memo, Kelly wrote, "Being a new sergeant on probation... I said I would do it. It wasn't right, but I would do it if this is what the chief wanted done." At around 11 a.m., on Aug. 30, Kelly parked his unmarked police car near a stop sign at Forest Hill Lane, the memo notes. Summers and her cameraman were in an unmarked car nearby. When contractor Henk Schiffer drove away in a blue Cadillac, Summers called Kelly's cellphone and told him the contractor was driving east on Forest Hill Lane, the memo says. Kelly stopped Schiffer when the car rolled through a stop sign. "While I was on my stop, Ms. Somers (sic) with cameraman in tow, swooped in and started drilling Schiffer with questions," Kelly wrote. "I quickly wrote out a traffic warning ticket for the violation and left." When Kelly returned to the police department, Scott called him into his office and thanked him, the memo says. ....Dave Skrabec, president of the city's police union, said the executive board learned about the incident on Oct. 11 and brought it to the deputy city manager's attention the following morning. "The Fraternal Order of Police membership feels that it was improper and unprofessional and most likely violated several department policies, in addition to possibly infringing upon someone's civil rights," Skrabec said Friday.

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