LMPD clears two officers accused of trying to fix speeding ticket
LMPD officer asked prosecutor to “give special consideration to this defendant because her father is a police officer"
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Two Louisville Metro Police officers under investigation for allegedly trying to fix a speeding ticket for the daughter of one of the officers have been cleared by the department of any wrongdoing.
Police Chief Steve Conrad ordered the administrative investigation last summer after a judge nixed a deal in which Assistant County Attorney Matt Welch asked that a speeding ticket against Lt. Bruce Turner’s daughter be dismissed at the recommendation of the citing officer, Ronald Fey.
District Court Judge Stephanie Burke said the dismissal was inappropriate and prosecutors withdrew the proposal. Welch was suspended for two weeks for his involvement by his boss, County Attorney Michael O’Connell.
But police closed their investigation on March 30, dismissing alleged violations against Turner and Fey, according to records obtained by WDRB.
An allegation of conduct unbecoming against Turner was “not sustained,” meaning there was not enough evidence to prove something, according to police guidelines. A charge of abuse of authority against Turner was “unfounded,” meaning the allegation was false.
The lone allegation against Fey of conduct unbecoming was not sustained.
"The investigation was thorough," Conrad wrote in both letters to the officers dismissing the complaints.
Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said the department would not comment on the investigation, saying state law only allows police to release the initiating letter and final disposition in an internal investigation.
WDRB has previously asked for copies of complete administrative investigative files, but police have cited a 1982 Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling denying access to records and documents in police administrative investigations.
Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Attorney's Office, said she could not comment on who was interviewed for the Welch investigation, saying it is a personnel matter.
Judge Burke declined to comment on the result of the investigation.
After Lt. Turner’s daughter was ticketed for driving 25 mph over the limit last June, Fey took her case file from the court where it had been assigned and asked Welch to handle it and “give special consideration to this defendant because her father is a police officer,” according to O’Connell’s disciplinary letter.
When the case was called in front of Burke, the judge “expressed her displeasure” with the recommended dismissal and asked to talk to a supervisor in the county attorney’s office, O’Connell wrote on Aug. 24, 2015.
Prosecutors withdrew the dismissal recommendation and Turner’s daughter, Ashley, pleaded guilty to speeding and agreed to attend state traffic school.
“This new agreement was an appropriate offer for such an offense and a proper disposition of the case,” O’Connell determined.
Welch apologized and acknowledged his conduct embarrassed the office, according to the disciplinary letter.
Besides the suspension, Welch was also reassigned to the civil division.
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