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Thursday, November 18, 2010

[TX] Repeated domestic allegations and suspensions yet San Antonio Police Lt. Lee Rakun's RANK keeps rising.

Is Lee Rakun the problem or SAPD? Police chief's blame the union.

Fix it.


FROM BELOW:
In most private sector jobs, if you were suspended 17 times by your employer, you would be out of a job.... the latest one just last month, which accused Rakun, by then a SAPD lieutenant, of lying to investigators, disobeying orders and failing to report a domestic violence incident this year... [An earlier] case against Rakun was sound, Kendall County Attorney Don Allee said, but was dismissed, in part, so not to jeopardize Rakun's career. "Any time you try to do a favor for anyone it comes back to bite you," Allee said... Repeatedly, Rakun's life outside work caused him professional trouble, documents show. Of his 14 suspensions, nine were related to his personal life... What can't be denied, according to the statements, is that Rakun lied to investigators when first asked about the fight in the truck. He said Sanchez fell off a moving all-terrain vehicle, his statement said. The next day he returned to volunteer a different account...

EXCERPTS, COMMENTS, AND AN ARTICLE CONCERNING THE CAREER OF SAN ANTONIO POLICE LT. LEE RAKUN:

KENDALL TO PURSUE CASE AGAINST S.A. POLICE OFFICER; [METRO EDITION]
San Antonio Express-News
Zeke MacCormack
Jan 12, 2005
[Excerpts] A domestic violence complaint lodged against San Antonio Police Sgt. Lee Rakun last month was referred Monday for prosecution by the Kendall County attorney's office... Rakun, a San Antonio cop for 12 years, said he had witnesses who would rebut reports that his wife, Evelyn, had redness and swelling on her face after summoning Kendall County deputies to the home Dec. 5 [2004]... Kendall County Chief Deputy Matt King said deputies answering the 10:42 p.m. call from the Saddleview Drive home reported seeing redness and swelling on Evelyn Rakun's left cheek, and redness on the left eye and upper arm of their daughter. "(Lee) Rakun told them he'd tried to discipline the daughter and was being too rough when the mother intervened," King said. King said the deputies noted that Lee Rakun smelled of alcohol and told the officers, "I'm going to bust you for official oppression"...

KENDALL TO PURSUE CASE AGAINST S.A. POLICE OFFICER
San Antonio Express
Zeke MacCormack
01/12/2005
[Excerpts] A domestic violence complaint lodged against San Antonio Police Sgt. Lee Rakun last month was referred Monday for prosecution by the Kendall County attorney's office, officials said. Rakun, who's been placed on administrative duties pending resolution of the case, denied the charge...

JUST TO SHOW HE WAS BACK AT WORK, WITH NO LOSS TO RANK:

MAN SHOT IN TROUBLED E. SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD
News Roundup; [METRO Edition]
San Antonio Express-News
Sep 23, 2005. pg. 02.B
[Excerpt] ...To my understanding in the past two or three weeks there's been two or three shootings in this subdivision," said SAPD Sgt. Lee Ray Rakun. "Some are gang-related, some are drug-related"...

S.A. COP ARRESTED ON KENDALL WARRANT
San Antonio Express-News
Oct 29, 2005
[Excerpts] A San Antonio police sergeant facing suspension for misconduct was arrested Friday on a Kendall County warrant accusing him of harassment. Sgt. Lee Rakun, a patrol supervisor, was taken into custody ... "It's a warrant for harassment but it does not involve a family member. It stems from an incident in February," said Ernie Lobello, an investigator with the Kendall County Sheriff Department. Rakun, suspended earlier this year over a domestic violence complaint involving his wife, was about to begin another suspension. "Tuesday he was going to begin serving a 30-day suspension stemming from the same thing Kendall County is charging him criminally," said San Antonio police spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino...

OFFICER SUES KENDALL OVER HIS 2004 ARREST
San Antonio Express News
Zeke MacCormack
01/09/2007
[Excerpts] A San Antonio police officer who claims Kendall County authorities wrecked his marriage by wrongly arresting him on a domestic violence charge in 2004 is seeking $2.73 million in a lawsuit against the county. Sgt. Lee Rakun complains of malicious prosecution, false arrest, false imprisonment, defamation and more in his pleading in U.S. District Court. "I was wronged and my family was destroyed as a result of their actions"... Rakun's suit says officers overlooked evidence he'd been struck and bitten in "a marital quibble," and that his wife "was impeccably unblemished." Evelyn Rakun later filed an affidavit for non-prosecution and the case was dismissed under a pretrial intervention agreement signed June 21, 2005. Records show the couple divorced by mutual agreement Aug. 29, 2005. The case against Rakun was sound, Kendall County Attorney Don Allee said Monday, but was dismissed, in part, so not to jeopardize Rakun's career. "Any time you try to do a favor for anyone it comes back to bite you," Allee said. Records show Rakun denied guilt, but agreed to undergo six months of counseling in Bexar County as a condition of the charge being dropped. He said Tuesday that he never took the counseling because the specified program doesn't exist. Asked about sending Rakun to an anger management course that apparently didn't exist, Allee's staff provided an e-mail dated June 14, 2005, showing the specific program was suggested by Rakun's former attorney...

AGAIN, OFFICER FIGHTS TO KEEP JOB
San Antonio Express-News
By Michelle Mondo
10/10/2010

One year after first hitting the streets as a San Antonio police officer, Lee Rakun received his first disciplinary suspension.

It was a dubious beginning to a 17-year career riddled with 13 more suspensions, the latest one just last month, which accused Rakun, by then an SAPD lieutenant, of lying to investigators, disobeying orders and failing to report a domestic violence incident this year.

Police Chief William McManus dismissed Rakun on Sept. 9 with an indefinite suspension in the latest case.

But as Rakun, 41, did with most of his previous suspensions, he is fighting back, saying he was the one wronged by his ex-girlfriend and predicting that the case will fall apart in arbitration.

“It's very frustrating for me to sit here with no job, my kids aren't getting insurance, all because of an angry girlfriend,” Rakun said.

He conceded his past has been tarnished with disciplinary problems, but he called this recent case a “soap opera” scripted by a woman he has dated on and off since meeting her in the SAPD records office in 2005.

The relationship resulted in Rakun's indefinite suspension in January 2006, which was later reduced to a 20-day suspension.

Ben Sifuentes, Rakun's attorney, said he believes his client is being punished because of his past record. Sifuentes is familiar with that record, having worked with Rakun on numerous appeals.

But while he and Rakun both insist the past shouldn't be used against him, details of those previous suspensions, contained in hundreds of pages of documents, reveal a tumultuous relationship with the department, a pattern of bad decisions and bullying, and an uncanny ability to deflect responsibility.

He said, she said

If he hadn't gotten back together with Norma Sanchez, he wouldn't be in this mess, Rakun said.

The process that resulted in his firing was set in motion by a 911 call Sanchez made on May 17 for a disturbance at Rakun's apartment.

A hysterical Sanchez, 42, told dispatchers she was afraid for her safety and Rakun's. She said he had locked himself in the bathroom. When officers arrived, she told them Rakun had threatened to kill himself.

Rakun told the officers he did lock himself in the bathroom but only because Sanchez was irate that he wanted to break up with her. She was the aggressor — he never threatened to hurt her or himself but needed to avoid a fight, he said.

Officers sorted through both stories and the evidence bolstered Rakun's account, according to documents. Sanchez appeared intoxicated, was hard to understand and jumped from present to past issues, accusing Rakun of abusing her for years but evading questions about what had occurred moments before.

When asked if Rakun had injured her that night, Sanchez said no, the report said. The officers looked for signs of abuse — a bruise, a scratch. They found nothing.

Sanchez refused to leave. Rakun left and stayed with friends.

Department policy required an internal affairs investigation. And that probe unraveled the career Rakun had put back together after a March 2006 agreement settled five suspensions issued that year and in 2005.

Repeatedly, Rakun's life outside work caused him professional trouble, documents show. Of his 14 suspensions, nine were related to his personal life.

Two of them were temporary and not considered a disciplinary action — they were in place because of two misdemeanor criminal charges against him in Kendall County, records show.

In January 2005, Kendall County officials filed an assault case against Rakun. He was accused of striking two females at his house the previous month. Both alleged victims later said he didn't hurt them.

In relation to that case, he received a “contemplative” indefinite suspension from the department for being disrespectful to a deputy who responded to the assault call, the records show. It was reduced to a 10-day suspension.

The second criminal case that year came after a man reported Rakun made “abusive, threatening” telephone calls. Rakun said he made the calls to protect a family member. For that, he received a 30-day suspension, the records show.

Rakun was not convicted of a crime in either case. When the charges were dropped, the temporary suspensions were lifted.

Also in 2005, his wife's divorce attorney was exposed to Rakun's profanity-laced anger in three telephone messages. The attorney turned the recordings over to SAPD that March, records show.

“You are unethical and you are a Nazi (expletive),” the message said, according to records. “Thank you very much and have a nice day.”

In a written response, Rakun once expressed regret about the messages — but also called them “well-deserved” and referred to the attorney as “blood-sucking” and “pompous, overexalted, self-important, unethical, evil and utterly annoying.”

A simple “no” would have sufficed for one question on the Internal Affairs response form, but Rakun wrote, “Allow me to expound anyways. (The lawyer) is only a tiny wart on my buttocks at this time compared to everything else I have going on.”

For that, Rakun received a five-day suspension — bartered down from 10 — documents show.

In a recent interview, Rakun said he has moved on, and so should everyone else.

“That's all old stuff,” he said, adding that the current accusations “should be judged by the merits of the situation.”

The strife between Rakun and Sanchez, however, isn't new. The direct order Rakun was accused of disobeying in the most recent dismissal was issued on June 13, 2005.

The direct order

Assistant Chief Jerry Pittman ordered Rakun in writing to stay away from Sanchez less than two months after the two started dating — and eight days after Rakun filed his first police report against her, records show.

Rakun reported Sanchez vandalized his truck in a jealous fit. She went to Internal Affairs and said he bruised her arm but then admitted it didn't happen, according to the documents.

Pittman's order has actually gotten Rakun fired twice. Because Rakun and Sanchez were dating again by August 2005, he was indefinitely suspended. Rakun asked for arbitration but the dismissal was dropped in the March 2006 settlement agreement.

City officials did not respond to a request for comment about the settlement, which was signed before McManus was hired.

It did save the city time and money on arbitration hearings — Rakun was appealing several suspensions — and it required him to drop a federal lawsuit and take whatever position SAPD assigned.

Sifuentes said his client has been a model employee since then with no work-related complaints.

The issue again is Rakun's personal life. In recent interviews, the couple released a torrent of accusations about each other — as they have with police. Rakun has filed more than a dozen police reports against Sanchez. A court granted him a temporary restraining order against her in 2009 but he withdrew it.

Sanchez voiced accusations of abuse similar to those she has made in the past, all of which Rakun denies.

Rakun, however, was not dismissed over anything criminal or violent.

The city's position is that Pittman's order was never rescinded, even with the settlement, so in seeing Sanchez, Rakun was disobeying it. Sifuentes disagrees.

Internal Affairs investigators also accused Rakun of failing to report a crime, but the reasoning was unclear because some of the suspension file was redacted under public information exemptions. The suspension notice also said that on June 11 “Rakun was untruthful when he claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Norma Sanchez on May 5.” A May 5 police report was completely redacted.

Reached by phone, Sanchez said she didn't want to talk about details but said she stood by her allegations of abuse.“There's a pattern and I told him I'm not going to tolerate it anymore,” she said.

The reports raise questions about some of her allegations. In a May 27 interview, a sergeant noted Sanchez appeared to have a bruise near her right eye. Sanchez said it was from Rakun hitting her on April 18, in his truck.Yet all the officers responding to the May 17 disturbance call said she had no bruises at that time.

What can't be denied, according to the statements, is that Rakun lied to investigators when first asked about the fight in the truck. He said Sanchez fell off a moving all-terrain vehicle, his statement said. The next day he returned to volunteer a different account.

The two were in his pickup when Sanchez started accusing him of sleeping with other women, hitting him and grabbing for the steering wheel, he told investigators. Rakun said he pushed back, striking her with his elbow.

In explaining the lie, Rakun pointed to his own past. He said after the Kendall County assault case he was scared no one would accept his side of the story.

“I wish I could do this all over again correctly,” he told investigators. “But I cannot.”


INTERNET COMMENTS:

...The comments about him murdering someone are not true, either. The death of the individual was a tragedy and was testified to as such by the medical examiner. It was also proven that Lee was at home in Kendall county at the time of the death. What needs to be focused on are the current allegations...

...Acussing someone of murder is pretty ridicolus especially to be doing on an online website. And if you were so scared why didnt you do this years ago when you two were together you have no evidence. Also its quite clear "dadaous" or how ever that non sense is spelt that it is you typing Norma sachez...


...This guy sounds like my ex-son in law. Always getting into 'situations", having the Union get him out of it & blaming someone else for everything that has gone wrong in his life...


...Sounds like Officer Rakun is getting what I believe is called "KARMA"...


...Way too much drama, he is a drain on the department's resources...
i'm not one to judge, but where i work at, three strikes and your out. gone, bye-bye...

...This is so offensive, there are so many cops who are honorable and try to do the right thing, and this guy is just a head case...

...The PO's responding to the family disturbance should be investigated by IA for derilection of duty: "Did someone call for police? Oh, but your boyfriend is 5-O. Forgetaboutit! What bruises?? I don't see any bruises, naw... she's chaning her story, she's going from past to present tense, don't belive her, BACK THE BLUE!!" I wonder how many other cops there are with over a dozen charges and just as many internal clemencies?? Who is the current record holder?...


...What people need to understand is that this has more to do with civil service protection, which is a COMPONENT of the collective bargaining agreement...

...SAPD has a history of having a hard time firing cops. For some reason our "city leaders" allow them to have all these protection under their collective bargaining contract. If these jokers worked anywhere else they would have been fired after the second infraction...

OFFICER APPEALS HIS 17TH SUSPENSION
San Antonio Employment Law Blog
by Tom Crane
October 12, 2010
[Excerpts] In most private sector jobs, if you were suspended 17 times by your employer, you would be out of a job. But, Officer Lee Rakun is still appealing his latest suspension from the San Antonio Police Department... The advantage of [Collective Bargaining AgreementS] is that they typically require some form of "good cause" for termination. An employee can only be fired for good cause. Without a CBA, the rest of us are subject to Texas' "at will" employment. "At will" employment means the employer can terminate anyone for any reason (other than discrimination and a few other exceptions). The employee handbook so many of us have at our jobs say an employee will be fired for certain infractions. But, employee handbooks are not binding and they are often violated by the employer...
[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement state lethal suicidal repeated hx teflon]

3 comments:

  1. Where are the references to the comments? Where is the comment made by this "Norma Sanchez"?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please let me know where to find the original allegation accusing Lee of murder. All I can find are the responses. This is very important, please inform me, thank you.

    ReplyDelete

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