Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 2:26 p.m.
The Fraternal Order of Police have asked the Fort Lauderdale Police Department to reconsider its decision in May to fire reserve officer John Wezkiewicz following an internal affairs investigation into his treatment of a suspect being booked at police headquarters.
"We certainly think he should be reinstated," says FOP President Jack Lokiensky, who recently viewed this video footage
posted yesterday on the Juice.
The internal affairs investigation of Wezkiewicz found that the reserve officer was wrong to place a paper bag over the head of the suspect, Gerald Feldhaus, even if Feldhaus was trying to spit at the cops, as some officers claimed.
"I guess there were other things that were available to him," says Lokeinsky, making a reference to protective hoods that are recommended in instances when an inmate is spitting. "But to me, there was no intent [by Wezkiewicz] to hurt anybody."
Based on what Lokeinsky called Wezkiewicz's "impeccable 20-year career," which included one incident in which he shot a suspect who was pointing a gun at a cop, the department should have sought a lighter penalty, says Lokeinsky: "Some discipline may have been necessary, but not termination."
Investigators also ruled that Wezkiewicz erred by not immediately filing a report describing his reaction to Feldhaus' resisting police orders.
As a reserve officer, Wezkiewicz opted out of the union, meaning that FOP will not file a formal grievance on his behalf. Lokeinsky says he has yet to hear back from the city about his request for Wezkiewicz's reinstatement.