John Kovach Jr., a police officer in Ohio was sacked after he pulled over his daughter’s boyfriend, Makai Coleman, 18, with her in the car. John temporarily arrested Makai without reason and tells him that he is taking him to the jail. In the meantime John’s daughter, Katlyn Kovach, 18, was in the back seat of Coleman’s car.
When Coleman asks John Kovach why he is going to jail, he responds: ‘Have a seat in my car. We’ll make sh** up as we go”. The whole episode was captured in John Kovach’s car’s dash camera which has picked up the full exchange of their conversation.
Coleman agreed and takes a seat in the back of Kovach’s car and in the meantime the officer begins speaking with Gloria Morales, who has come out of her nearby home because two of her children are also in Coleman’s car.
The officer, who has been with the department since 1992, says Morales that his daughter’s computer is in her house and he wants to examine her home. Firstly Morales approves but then he threatens her and tells her that he’s going to give her daughter who was also in Coleman’s car, a $300 ticket for not wearing a seat belt.
The mother then says him to go and get a permit if he wants to check her house. Up to now it seems he did not see his own daughter in the backseat of Coleman’s car. He releases his daughter’s boyfriend of at least three months from his cruiser and then pushes his own daughter into the backseat of the cop car.
Katlyn initiates shouting at him and said why he is pushing her. She starts crying and said that he can’t detain her for any cause and then her boyfriend opposes her dad and said why he is putting her in the car when she did nothing.
The officer then claims to Coleman that his daughter was suicidal that previous Friday. But the daughter said that she was not and Coleman also replies that he is not protecting her and she is an adult and she can do whatever she wants.
According to an in-house examination into the instance which was only part of the purpose Kovach was dismissed from the Lorain Police Department, Katlyn’s father said he believed his daughter was going to kill herself because his ex-wife warned him she and Coleman were involved in sexual conduct in her home.
The ex-wife told Kovach she had then told Coleman to leave and he threatened her.
Afterwards he spoke with his daughter on the phone and she told her father that if she can’t be with Coleman then she wants to be there anymore, which he took to be a suicidal warning.
The examination’s report also said that Coleman and Coleman’s mother had told investigators that the officer had called him, bullying to take out warrants against him and that he would go to his Army recruiter to stop Coleman’s enlistment.
During the incident, Kovach was found to have overlooked a call from dispatch about a road rage instance. According to the investigation, he also used police resources to track his daughter’s computer through her IP address.
Furthermore, the officer told the investigators that he didn’t believe Coleman was a decent person as he was detained for marijuana possession and that his daughter was staying with Coleman against her parents’ wishes.
An interoffice document says that since the chief of police can only discipline staffs by suspension to a level of three days, the board feels strongly that the matter should be moved to the level of Safety Service Director for disciplinary action. The documents further says that this is due to the very grave nature of the violations, which rise to the level of gross misbehaviour, place the Police Department in a position of accountability and could result in discipline up to and including termination.
Police Chief Cel Rivera said that Kovach’s actions were an abuse of police authority and a serious departure from appropriate protocol and they are contrary to the mission, values and policies of the Lorain Police Department.
Safety-Service Director Dan Given said the incident has been referred to County Prosecutor Dennis Will for evaluation. Given added that these actions are not acceptable for members of their Police Department and they felt it justified instant sacking.
He was officially and immediately terminated, a decision he is appealing with assistance from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.
Officer Kovach is looking forward to presenting his side of the story to a neutral arbitrator when the arbitration is scheduled.
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