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Originally published February 19, 2013 at 01:57p.m., updated February 19, 2013 at 03:18p.m.

Lawsuit documents provide insight into police traffic ticket scandal

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City officials have remained mum about an internal investigation of two Lawrence police officers accused of fixing traffic tickets in exchange for Kansas University athletic tickets. But recently filed court documents help fill in some blanks.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday by former Lawrence Police Sgt. Mike Monroe provided extensive details into the investigation that led to Monroe's firing and the "involuntary" resignation of former Sgt. Matt Sarna about a year ago.

Included in the lawsuit are documents and letters to Monroe from Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib, as well as grievance documents from Monroe.

City Manager David Corliss said Tuesday that the city will not comment on legal or personnel matters.

According to the documents, the internal investigation by the Lawrence Police Department revealed:

• Monroe fixed two to three traffic tickets for former KU Athletic's employee Rodney Jones at Sarna's request. Monroe and Sarna both then received athletics tickets from Jones.

• In 2008, Monroe intervened during a traffic stop, telling an officer that he supervised not to issue a ticket to Jones.

• On 10 to 15 occasions, Monroe fixed traffic tickets for family or friends, in violation of departmental policy.

• Monroe also had fixed traffic tickets for another KU Athletics employee, and received athletics tickets from that employee.

• In a Feb. 13, 2012, letter from Khatib, Monroe was demoted from a sergeant to the patrol division. Monroe was later fired.

Information about Monroe and Sarna's actions had been forwarded to the FBI and the Douglas County District Attorney's Office, but no charges were filed.

In several responses from Monroe to Khatib and city officials, Monroe says:

• He fixed two to three traffic tickets for Jones, at Sarna's request, over a period of five to six years. However, he said he didn't know Sarna was receiving athletic tickets in direct exchange for fixing the tickets.

• He received athletics tickets from Sarna, but not Jones.

• He became uncomfortable with Sarna's relationship with Jones, but did not report his concerns to supervisors.

• The allegations against Sarna were investigated by the department in 2010, but no action was taken.

• While he fixed traffic tickets for a KU employee, the action was not in exchange for KU tickets.

Comments

jhawkrulz 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm a little cynical. I fix a ticket upon request. A little later in my inbox I have basketball tickets from a separate individual. If that is a sergeant representing the investigations group and he can't put that together, then he probably should have been fired for incompetence.

Additionally, since he specifically prevented a ticket being issued to Jones, that is an indication he knew of the greater scheme.

Ray Winger 1 year, 8 months ago

...or as my Daughter would say to me if she read this..............Duuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhh...Dad...and hang her mouth as if I were the stupidist kid in the 5th grade! You Bulleyed the issue. Lets all pretend we are D&D and .....say....How long was this going on??? or as we would say in my generation....'Get Real!!" These are the issues raised...thanks for mentioning it....I am tired of the apologetic press. (I, and Susan Ford, appreciate the commas)

jgkojak 1 year, 8 months ago

Meh.

On scale of 1 to 10 on wrongs done by the LPD in the past 25 years, this ranks .000001

jhawkrulz 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm assuming you mean 1 being the worse, which I'm surprised you didn't have it as a 2 or something, but I can see where you think this is as henious as it gets..

jgkojak 1 year, 8 months ago

No...10 is the worst... I'm saying the opposite

jhawkrulz 1 year, 8 months ago

So bribing officers isn't that big of a deal to you.

Michael Pannacciulli 1 year, 8 months ago

..and in other news the sky is blue. Water is wet.

Geezer 1 year, 8 months ago

BREAKING NEWS!!!! Tickets can be fixed, if you know the right people. Film at 11.

Micky Baker 1 year, 8 months ago

First, if you fixed the tickets without reporting it to someone within the agency, that is grounds for termination and the lawsuit should not be race based. However, the lawsuit sheds light on an even bigger problem. If this officer followed orders from a superior or superiors, then more heads need to roll.

Just something to think about, lots of athletes are black. Now, there is some explaining by all parties that should be expected by the people of Lawrence including the man filing the lawsuit. You fixed the tickets and you knew it was wrong. They didn't fire you because of your race. They fired you to cover their own rearends. Neither is a good thing. The lawsuit shouldn't be based on race because it's obvious it wasn't for that reason. You should have been fired, but you should also sue because of the others that threw you under the bus because you followed their orders. Don't ever follow an order that is inconsistent with the honor of the place, ie. being a police officer.

Pamela Shanks 1 year, 8 months ago

Can't imagine he was "following an order" as they both were the same rank, sgt.

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