Cop in squad car theft had suspensions, reprimands

2013-05-13T22:45:00Z 2013-05-13T22:54:04Z Cop in squad car theft had suspensions, reprimandsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
May 13, 2013 10:45 pm  • 

LYNWOOD | A police officer facing possible dismissal for an incident in which his squad car was stolen had his professional record scrutinized Monday.

Officials recited his personnel file during the village’s Police and Fire Board meeting — detailing the various suspensions and reprimands during his seven years with the Police Department.

Joe Marigliano had previously been found professionally responsible for an incident Dec. 11 in which a criminal suspect he was chasing on foot managed to double-back, get into Marigliano's squad car and drive away with it.

The Police and Fire Board was deciding what punishment should be issued, with Police Chief Michael Mears saying he believes Marigliano should be fired.

“It’s not specifically because of the squad car being stolen,” Mears said to the police board. “It’s his continued ineptitude. I thought to myself about whether I would want this officer coming to my home during an emergency, and the only conclusion I could come to is ‘Absolutely not!’”

During the hearing, the board heard of the several suspensions of between one and three days that Marigliano had received throughout the years. Incidents included refusing to arrest a man who had a warrant for domestic abuse, and Marigliano’s dog biting an Oak Lawn police officer who tried to cite him for not purchasing pet tags.

Several written reprimands also were read publicly, including one for an incident where Marigliano’s report made it seem as though a man hurt himself while intoxicated – when it was later learned the man was robbed.

“Is this lazy policework? Or is it just a lack of empathy for the citizens of Lynwood,” Mears said.

The board hoped to resolve Marigliano’s case Monday, although the case went late into the evening — in part due to the officer’s attorney, Christopher Cooper, arriving for the hearing about 90 minutes after it was set to begin.

Cooper tried attacking Mears’ credibility, pointing out anything that occurred prior to Mears becoming police chief in 2011 was only known to Mears through the reports written by former Police Chief Russell Pearson.

Cooper also claimed Marigliano was really being disciplined for being involved with the Fraternal Order of Police — a claim Mears’ attorney, James Guisinger, said is “completely false.”

Cooper was not pleased with the way the proceedings were conducted. At one point, he accused Guisinger and police board attorney Timothy Lapp of working “in tandem” to prosecute his client.

Cooper has said he would sue Lynwood if Marigliano is fired.

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