The PFC Deliberates Complaint Filed Against Chief Koval

Posted February 13th, 2017 @ 9:50 AM by
Guest post from Amelia & Nathan Royko Maurer.

Stairwells, landings, this gate, that door, a vestibule and vending machine.  These are the words with which Chief Koval’s attorney wished to distract the Police and Fire Commission while he argued for leniency in their response to the Chief’s verbal assault on Sharon Irwin.  Yes, instead of focusing on the Chief’s own rules that he broke when he chose not once but twice to disparage a US veteran and grandmother with derogatory epithets, his attorney urged us to consider the positives within his employment record and objected to any mention of the rapidly accumulating incidents of his problematic behavior since becoming chief, behavior that has had a cascading effect on his employees who also have not offered authentic apologies of any kind.
Yes, according to Chief Koval’s very own policies that he sets for the Madison Police Department, a chief of police should be able to handle far worse things than tough questions without yelling, pounding tables, hazing public speakers or calling them derogatory names.  It’s really that simple.  The rules are the rules, there are no exceptions, they are his rules and he has broken them repeatedly since his very first Central District community meeting as Chief when he screamed at a research scientist for pointing out statistical facts he didn’t like. Does his allergy to the facts sound like any other Chief we may know?
According to Sharon Irwin and Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, the victims of Chief Koval’s behavior at issue in the complaint, they went down the stairs from outside of the Madison City Council chambers to get a soda. It is agreed upon by all parties to the complaint that somewhere among all the stairs and doors and vending machines Madison Chief of Police Michael Koval twice called Irwin, who he was aware was a disabled army veteran with PTSD, a raging lunatic in response to probing questions he didn’t like.
Following that incident and recorded in a video of a now notorious June 7th Madison City Council meeting, Chief Koval demonstratively attempted to leave council chambers, after which council member Mark Clear called out the disruption but asked him to stay.  The Chief returned to his seat only to then, without any further provocation, make disparaging jokes within earshot of a city employee about Irwin while she gave her public testimony.  According to this witness, Chief Koval did so to aldermanic candidate Steve Fitzsimmons.  Koval further exceeded the bounds of his own policies and chamber decorum during Irwin’s testimony, pounding the table because he thought she should be cut off because she had exceeded her time-limit.  It goes almost without saying that it is not his job to tell our city’s elected officials how run their chamber, there are no exceptions to this.
Sharon Irwin is a grieving grandmother looking for answers to her grandson’s death at the hands of a Madison police officer.  Chief Koval’s behavior is both toxic and contagious in that it has led to officers following his dishonorable lead in unleashing on the public in various online forums for the verboten act of requesting changes to any police behavior, whatsoever.
Chief Koval blames his “feet of clay” and Irwin’s insistent questioning for these repeated indiscretions claiming, “he’s only a simple man”.  However, a few feet above the foundation of his humanity rests an arsenal around his waist, and some feet higher pinned to his collar 4 stars symbolizing his responsibility for leading a government sanctioned paramilitary of over 500 armed officers charged with “shepherding” Madison civilians with dignity, respect, without discrimination, and yes, “like a Champion!”
To repeatedly call someone suffering mental illness a derogatory name in reference to her known disability, and then to disrupt her testimony because he thinks it should end, and then to make fun of her behind her back is not a mistake. It is a character flaw this city can ill afford to condone in its chief or officers, at least, not according to the rules of Chief Michael Koval.  This isn’t a stray occurrence but several intentional acts conducted by a person who has admitted publicly, since his first outburst as Chief at a Central District Community meeting, that his unbridled passion is a problem. There have been many more since.
Chief Koval’s in-person and on-line outbursts demonstrate impulsivity with a sense of entitled impunity.  Sadly, this attitude reflects poorly on the officers who are mature enough to handle the job, care enough to follow the rules, admit when they are wrong, welcome improvement and wear the badge with integrity and honor. If we don’t hold the Chief to his own policies, they stop being real and so will any hope for accountability.

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