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Saturday, April 24, 2010

[PA] Accused, promoted, accused again, charged, fired, "not guilty" Sgt. Hlavac wants his gun and badge back

...Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he stands by the firing of former city police Sgt. Eugene Hlavac, even though Mr. Hlavac was found not guilty of assaulting his former girlfriend and partially dislocating her jaw... Police Chief Nate Harper stands by his decision to fire Hlavac for violating police policy and procedures... Dan O'Hara, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, said he expects Hlavac to be reinstated with back pay...


Text messages follow December incident
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By Paula Reed Ward
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Within a few hours of striking his ex-girlfriend so hard that her jaw was partially dislocated, Eugene Hlavac sent the woman a text message telling her he was "worried sick" about her and that he still cared for her, the woman testified. Mr. Hlavac, a former sergeant with the Pittsburgh police who lost his job following the Dec. 18 incident, claims that he struck Lauren Maughan in self-defense. His nonjury trial before Allegheny County Judge Thomas E. Flaherty began on Monday. Mr. Hlavac, 43, of Greenfield, is charged with simple assault... According to Ms. Maughan, the first witness called to testify... She got out of the vehicle and said, "I'm tired of the way you talk to me. I'm tired of the way you treat me," she said. Then, Ms. Maughan continued, Mr. Hlavac, who was in his police uniform, slapped her across the left side of her face. "It was so hard I felt like my eardrums had exploded and my throat collapsed together," she said. "It was excruciating pain." The two then scuffled in the street, and when she grabbed her cell phone, he took it from her. "He said, 'You're not doing this to me. You're not going to ruin my life.'" They went into his home to talk. He told her if she said anything, it would ruin their lives. Later, when Ms. Maughan went to the hospital, she told emergency workers she fell down the steps. While she was there, Mr. Hlavac arrived, insisting that he see her, Ms. Maughan said. A series of text messages ensued... At 6:40, she wrote back, "It's over with. Lie to whoever, not me. You don't care, but I still care enough to cover your mess." But then five hours later -- and around the time she first approached police to make a report -- she sent this: "Gene, I love you and always will! I never thought there would be a time when I completely lost you. I'm sorry. I don't want you to hurt me anymore." He responded, "I don't want anyone hurt"... [Full article here]

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Jeremy Boren
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
[Excerpts] A former Pittsburgh police sergeant hit his ex-girlfriend in the face during an argument, but it was in self-defense and not an unprovoked attack, his lawyer and a witness said yesterday at the start of his assault trial... Carol Murphy, a neighbor, testified she saw the fight. "I saw her run up and just start beating on (Hlavac)," Murphy said. "She was in a rage, beating ... he put his arms up, and he pushed." Maughan said she only grabbed Hlavac's collar after he struck her. She denied starting the physical altercation. Doctors repaired Maughan's jaw, but she said she still experiences pain. At Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, where Maughan sought treatment, she said she and Hlavac lied when they told doctors she hurt her jaw as a result of falling down a set of stairs. A physician's assistant testified that Hlavac, who followed Maughan to the hospital, said Maughan was "clumsy" and fell down the stairs in the past. Maughan said she lied about her injuries initially because she was frightened of Hlavac. While in the emergency room, she said Hlavac handed her $200 in cash, which she said was awkward given the circumstances... The investigation into Hlavac's conduct prompted Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in January to propose a domestic abuse policy that would prohibit the city from hiring anyone with a history of domestic abuse and require supervisors to be trained to spot signs of domestic violence among the city's 3,300 employees... [Full article here]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By Jim McKinnon
April 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm
[Excerpts] A former Pittsburgh police sergeant today was found not guilty of domestic abuse in connection with an altercation with his former girlfriend in December. Common Pleas Judge Thomas E. Flaherty ruled that Eugene Hlavac is not guilty of simple assault in the incident that left Lauren Maughan, with whom he has a son, with a partially dislocated jaw... Mr. Hlavac testified that she was injured when he turned to defend himself. After the scuffle, the couple went inside Mr. Hlavac's residence, and they were conversing calmly when she pointed out the pain in her jaw, Mr. Hlavac said. Both he and Ms Maughan said that the violence went no farther after she was struck on the left side of her face...  [Full article here]

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Jeremy Boren
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
[Excerpts] An Allegheny County judge Tuesday acquitted a former Pittsburgh police sergeant of an assault charge. Eugene Hlavac, 43, slumped in his courtroom chair, and a supporter seated behind him clapped when Common Pleas Judge Thomas Flaherty announced the verdict that ended a two-day, non-jury trail. "I've asserted that I always have been an innocent man. I am an innocent man," Hlavac said outside the courtroom. "I can't understand how there's any way I will ever, ever regain my reputation, in spite of the fact that I'm completely innocent"... Flaherty said a woman who witnessed a fight between Hlavac and his ex-girlfriend Lauren Maughan, 22, outside Hlavac's Squirrel Hill home gave "unbiased and credible" testimony that Maughan appeared to be the aggressor and that Hlavac was defending himself when he hit her in the face. "It casts a real doubt on Mr. Hlavac's guilt in this matter," Flaherty said. Maughan declined to comment... Hlavac testified he was defending himself when he hit Maughan. He said she came up behind him while he was trying to get into his car and pounded him on the back. He was not injured. "All my client did was raise his arms in self-defense and extended them and made contact with the lower left chin of Ms. Maughan," said Phillip DiLucente, Hlavac's criminal defense attorney... Hlavac said he plans to try to get his job back and to seek equal custody of the couple's son. The city fired Hlavac in January following his arrest for slapping Maughan. He has been permitted only supervised visits with his son since the incident. "Our next step is to exhaust all administrative remedies so that he is not the poster child of the police department of how you lose your job because of some alleged incident," DiLucente said. [Full article here]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By Joe Smydo
April 21, 2010
[Excerpts] Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl this morning said he stands by the firing of former city police Sgt. Eugene Hlavac, even though Mr. Hlavac was found not guilty Tuesday of assaulting his former girlfriend -- and partially dislocating her jaw -- while in uniform. Mr. Hlavac was fired after the December incident under the city's "zero-tolerance" policy for domestic violence by police officers. Mr. Ravenstahl today said he'd fight any effort by Mr. Hlavac to regain his job, noting the city's burden of proof in arbitration is lower than a prosecutor's burden in a criminal case. "We think we have a strong case. We think our decision was the proper one, and we intend to vigorously pursue that through the arbitration process," he said. The verdict doesn't mean no wrong was done or that there won't be consequences, Mr. Ravenstahl said... [Full article here]

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Jeremy Boren
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Last updated: 1:00 pm
[Excerpts] Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today said a former police sergeant fired following his arrest on charges he slapped the mother of his child doesn't deserve to be rehired even though an Allegheny County judge acquitted him yesterday of assault. Moments after the judge announced the verdict, former Sgt. Eugene Hlavac, 43, of Squirrel Hill said he would try to get his job back... "Hlavac should not be working with the city, and we will continue to take that course of action," said Joanna Doven, Ravenstahl's spokeswoman. Phillip DiLucente, Hlavac's attorney, criticized the mayor's handling of the case and said his client will fight for his job. "I think this is a political hot potato," DiLucente said. "I truly believe in my heart that this administration does not know how to deal with the policy of domestic allegations, not domestic abuse. They don't know how to deal with domestic allegations so that they're not infringing on a person's employment rights"... The matter of Hlavac's job will likely go before an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator would rule on whether Hlavac should be reinstated and could determine whether he received back pay. Police Chief Nate Harper stands by his decision to fire Hlavac for violating police policy and procedures, said his spokeswoman Diane Richard. The firing was not based on the crime with which Hlavac was charged, she said. [Full article here]

By Jeremy Boren
Thursday, April 22, 2010
[Excerpts] Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said yesterday that he won't rehire a police sergeant he fired because of domestic violence accusations unless an independent arbitrator forces him to do it... "Hlavac should not be working with the city, and we will continue to take that course of action," said Joanna Doven, Ravenstahl's spokeswoman... Dan O'Hara, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, said he expects Hlavac to be reinstated with back pay. Based on his annual salary, Hlavac has not received 14 weeks of pay, or about $18,000. "He's going to win because he did not get convicted of a criminal defense and there is no reason to fire him," O'Hara said. "It's going to be more wasted tax dollars when the arbitrator rules in his favor." [Full article here]


Pittsburgh Post Gazette, PA - 17 hours ago
By Jonathan D. Silver and Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Friday, June 29, 2007
A police sergeant's June 18 promotion came three months after he was sent to anger management training and a supervisor recommended that his contact with the public be minimized. Police leadership yesterday said that now-Sgt. Eugene F. Hlavac completed the tr aining but was never removed from contact with the public and that the measure shouldn't have precluded his promotion... The promotions are "appalling. They're insulting to the citizens of Pittsburgh," said Jeanne Clark, a member of the state board of the National Organization for Women and a Squirrel Hill resident. She was among 150 people at the hearing, including Chief Harper. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl did not attend. "Clearly the police brass has no idea about the impact and the law regarding domestic violence," she said. "It kills women. It kills men"... A police report on a Jan. 3 incident states that Sgt. Raymond Hutton was called to the East Liberty apartment shared by Sgt. Hlavac and Lauren Maughan at 1:40 a.m. Ms. Maughan told Sgt. Hutton that Sgt. Hlavac pulled her hair, hauled her from a bed and grabbed her wrist, according to the report. She was uninjured, but her left wrist and the back of her neck were red. Sgt. Hlavac told Sgt. Hutton that he grabbed her wrist in 
when she hit him while holding a cell phone, and did not grab her hair, just her pillow... Deputy Chief Donaldson said Sgt. Hlavac complied with the order to attend  
of anger management counseling. "We never took him out of contact with the public," Chief Harper said... Mr. Ravenstahl has said that he did not know of the issues involving Sgt. Hlavac and Lt. Rodriguez prior to their promotions.... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence (IPV) abuse law enforcement public safety teflon pennsylvania repeat hx zero tolerance]


    By Mike Cronin and Mike Wereschagin
    Friday, June 22, 2007
    Some women this week questioned the wisdom of promoting three Pittsburgh police officers with allegations of domestic violence or disturbances in their past. "You look to the police force for protection," said Eileen Foley, 26, of Downtown, a financial analyst. "To know they have domestic violence in their background makes me afraid to call them. What if they're on the man's side?" Yvette Portis, 58, of Highland Park, questioned those officers' abilities to handle domestic violence cases objectively... City police responded to Sgt. Eugene Hlavac's home in March after reports of screaming there, said Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson... [Full article here]

  2. Give newly promoted police a chance, deputy chief says
    Pittsburgh Post Gazette, PA
    By Rich Lord
    Friday, June 22, 2007
    THE PUBLIC SHOULD GIVE THREE NEWLY PROMOTED PITTSBURGH POLICE OFFICERS A CHANCE DESPITE THE OFFICERS' HISTORIES OF DOMESTIC ABUSE, Deputy Police Chief Paul Donaldson said yesterday. He also declined to provide information on the prevalence of domestic abuse issues in the bureau as a whole...Fraternal Order of Police President James Malloy said the union supports the officers. "It isn't like they're mashers, running around beating somebody's brains in," he said. "They're not going in to be brain surgeons here. They're going in to be police officers. Just like you, and me, and everybody else, they make mistakes."... [Full article here]

    Domestic Violence by Police Officers: "Zero Tolerance"
    Susan Murphy Milano's Journal
    April 23, 2010

  3. I started off zero-tolerance, then started listening to all the dv community's concerns about it making it harder for victims - but I've come full circle over the years. Clear boundaries would do wonders. Victim safety? Get ninja with it - because I'm thousands of stories into this now and KNOW that badged cops with dv histories kill their intimate partners far too often to think that letting them keep their jobs is an answer.

    Finally (really) knowing they can't game their way out of charges would be more effective.

    I will be amazed however in PA if Hlavac doesn't get his job back. This was the City of Pittsburgh's first try putting their foot down and this not-guilty ruling has really jerked the rug on them. Day one the mayor was saying Hlavac can't come back. Day two he was saying Hlavac can't come back unless the arbitrators send him back.

    If the mayor's moving from certainty to uncertainty within 24 hours is any indication, Hlavac will be rolling in money and omnipotence soon - at a jovial, members-only, police union cigar party...

  4. i would like to say they charge him with simple assualt . this must be the simple charge that these officers are given in domestic violence incidents. my husband who is a police officer for the city of elizabeth , nj. on august 12, 2010, decided to take his service revolver and press it againt my head, and yell that " what was stoping him from blowing out my brains". i try to clean up because it was too much profanity. as i pushed him away, and ran with my daughters to dear life. called 911 and told dispatcher, get the police my husband is crazy, armed and dangerous,he wants to kill us. hurry please. 25 mins later they arrived, he was gone and he destroyed the master bedroom. officer witness the madness this man did. but unfortuneately, make a story short, he was charged and arrest for a simple assault, not atempting to murder his famliy. so i wonder is this charge all domestic violence officers use when charging them. i am just wondering? this is from a survivor of 13 1/2 yrs of tortured and abuse from sick, crazy and dangerous man, that is still on the job. my name is clara colon of NJ. i have nothing to hide , but i do seek justice for aLL CRIMES COMMITTED ON ME.


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