Friday, September 07, 2007

Officer Callahan resigns

Officer Callahan has resigned, "after thinking and soul-searching and conversation with his family." (According to his attorney John Gulash , in the Norwalk Advocate.) Presumably this will also help him prepare for his legal difficulties involving drinking, gunplay and a stranger in a men's room in Newtown in June. In his Advocate story, John Nickerson gives a nice summary of his legal odyssey thus far:

He was suspended for three months in 2002 after he was arrested in Bridgeport and charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

In that incident, the person who called police followed Callahan, who turned down a dead-end street. The person told police that when Callahan stopped at the end of a street, he identified himself as a police officer and pointed a weapon at him, according to Callahan's arrest affidavit in the Newtown bar incident.

More recently, Callahan was fired by [Chief of Police] Rilling in October 2005 after an internal investigation determined that he improperly took a 4-by-4-inch skull fragment from the scene of a fatal 2005 Memorial Day weekend accident.

Callahan reportedly bragged that he wanted to use the skull fragment as an ashtray.

The state Board of Mediation and Arbitration concluded that Callahan's handling of the body part was "negligent" and "offensive."

But the panel supported the police union's contention that the skull fragment was not important evidence in the accident investigation and that Callahan had been disciplined excessively.

Let's suppose that Mr. Callahan is a much maligned man, and that all of the facts that he has ever alleged in every court and legal forum are completely true. Even if this were the case, has it really served society at all to have a policeman with a gun and badge out on the streets against the will of his commanders and fellow citizens? Democracy and due process shouldn't be enemies, should they?