A Prairie Village police officer was allowed to remain on the job for 19 months after division officers have been alerted that he had requested a lady for intercourse after arresting her.
The officer’s actions, together with correspondence displaying how his supervisors have been instructed of the incident, got here to gentle after his Kansas police license was revoked in June partly due to an unrelated home violence investigation.
Legal professional Brandan Davies stated he reported to Prairie Village police in March 2020 that officer Rolando Swaby had arrested his shopper in a DUI case and later despatched textual content messages asking her to satisfy him at a lodge for drinks and intercourse forward of a courtroom listening to in her case. The Star typically doesn’t identify doable victims of sexual harassment or abuse with out their consent.
After speaking with a police sergeant, Davies stated, he thought the officer could be fired.
As a substitute, Swaby was allowed to stay on the drive for greater than a 12 months and a half till he was investigated in an unrelated home violence case in October 2021. He later resigned and misplaced his Kansas police license.
Davies stated the police division had the knowledge to take motion in opposition to Swaby a lot earlier.
“They knew again in March 2020 that this man, this Swaby, was not the kind of individual to be trusted with pulling folks over and implementing the legislation,” Davies stated. “They usually did not do a rattling factor.”
Capt. Ivan Washington, a spokesman for the Prairie Village Police Divisiont, stated officers opened an inner investigation into the March 2020 incident and dealt with the inappropriate conduct “shortly thereafter” as a personnel matter. The division determined the interactions have been with an grownup, have been exterior the arrestee’s time in custody and “voluntary and reciprocal,” he stated.
“It is not the usual right here,” Washington stated. “It is not the expectation. It is not the norm.”
The police division declined to specify how Swaby was disciplined.
When reached through e mail with questions on how the police division dealt with the matter, Prairie Village Mayor Eric Mikkelson and Metropolis Administrator Wes Jordan stated Swaby obtained “punitive disciplinary motion.”
They stated the investigation discovered Swaby’s actions have been “unprofessional and never in compliance with the excessive requirements, guidelines and rules of the Division” but in addition cited the division’s findings that the textual content exchanges have been “reciprocal.”
“It was vital to me to see that our Police Division took swift disciplinary motion in opposition to this officer for the misconduct,” Mikkelson, who declined a cellphone interview with The Star, wrote in an e mail. He declined to reply additional questions.
An interplay between an arrestee and an officer can by no means be reciprocal due to the facility imbalance between them, stated Lauren Bonds, authorized director for the nonprofit Nationwide Police Accountability Undertaking.
The arrestee has to fret about doable future courtroom appearances, felony expenses or different penalties with the legislation.
“There’s an underlying factor of coercion that ought to have knowledgeable their evaluation of the state of affairs,” Bonds stated.
“If this was one thing that the lady felt snug revealing to her advocate that it was an issue, that ought to have been doubtlessly a flag that this was not one thing that she was snug doing.”
Civilian complaints, and particularly under-reported points like sexual misconduct, are sometimes excused by police departments with little penalties for the officer, Bonds stated.
‘We must always get a room’
Swaby arrested the lady on suspicion of driving below the affect on March 1, 2020, in response to a report from the Kansas Fee on Police Officers’ Requirements and Coaching (CPOST).
The girl, recognized in CPOST experiences as AD, reached out to Davies for authorized illustration and talked about that the officer had made sexual advances towards her. She expressed concern to Davies that stopping her interactions with the officer would negatively have an effect on her DUI case.
Screenshots of the texts and Snapchats obtained by The Star present Swaby and the lady discussing their weekend plans earlier than he asks her for intercourse.
He writes that he’ll “sit right here and take into consideration you I assume,” earlier than making a suggestion to AD: “We must always get a room, get liquor and snacks!”
AD tells Swaby that she is attempting to keep away from alcohol and tells him she would possibly exit along with her associates in Kansas Metropolis. Swaby responds with an specific message, asking AD if she would need to have intercourse with him.
In screenshots of Snapchat messages, Swaby tells AD to search out one thing to do close to him over the weekend.
“Random – I believe you are scorching,” he wrote, in response to a Snapchat screenshot. AD’s replies aren’t seen within the screenshots.
“Yup, ideas I most likely should not be having however I am human,” he wrote. “I did not need to overwhelm you … you may get uninterested in me hitting you up . . .”
At one other level, they trade messages about their potential license suspension, and Swaby asks AD if she hates him.
“(I assume) it is simple guilty me in sure circumstances,” he writes. “However you continue to speak to me… so I simply wished to know.”
Reporting to police
Davies was shocked when AD confirmed him the messages, he stated.
He reported the officer’s conduct to Eric McCullough, who on the time was a sergeant on the police division, a number of weeks later in mid-March.
Screenshots of the emails present Davies first despatched McCullough among the images of the messages on March 12, 2020. He additionally confirmed a name with McCullough to debate the incident a number of days after and later thanked him for talking with the arrestee.
Davies despatched McCullough the rest of the screenshots of the texts and Snapchats by March 18, e mail screenshots present.
Davies stated he did not recall listening to from McCullough after that time. Their correspondence led him to consider Swaby would lose his place as an officer earlier than his shopper appeared in courtroom.
“I am pondering, 100% certain, that in fact Prairie Village goes to fireplace this man,” Davies stated. “It simply cannot get extra of a battle of curiosity to attempt to hook up with somebody that you simply’re prosecuting for against the law and that you could be testify of their case.”
Months later, he and AD attended a digital administrative listening to in mid-June relating to the doable suspension of her driver’s license.
Swaby was on the decision, testing in opposition to the lady.
Davies wished to debate the specific messages on the listening to, however the decide would not enable it, he stated.
AD’s license was suspended. Davies filed an attraction, hoping to have Swaby testify on the report about his interactions with AD after the arrest.
The prosecutor within the case, Davies stated, was the one individual to do the precise factor. When he instructed her in regards to the state of affairs involving Swaby and his shopper, she dropped the case, he stated.
State company response
Davies stated he knew of not less than one different younger lady who Swaby arrested for a DUI within the greater than a 12 months he continued working as a police officer.
Within the meantime, Davies realized about CPOST, the company that regulates police licenses in Kansas.
He crammed out a report about Swaby and mailed it with proof of the messages in September 2021. Later that month, he obtained affirmation that the report was delivered, he stated.
Davies by no means heard from CPOST. Mikkelson and Jordan stated that CPOST inquired about and reviewed the incident beforehand however took no additional motion.
CPOST Government Director Doug Schroeder stated the company cannot touch upon particular person investigations, however he shared details about the group’s course of for investigations.
After CPOST receives a criticism, the company determines if it violates the Kansas Regulation Enforcement Coaching Act. If it does, the group assigns one among its three investigators to the case.
The investigators take a look at any felony investigation obtainable, or they accumulate proof, speak to witnesses and interview the accused officer. Outcomes of the investigation are introduced to a few of 12 commissioners on the company’s investigative committee.
The case is closed if the committee decides to not act. The committee doesn’t make findings or substantial claims. It solely decides whether or not or not the company ought to take motion in opposition to an officer.
Bonds stated organizations like CPOST, which are supposed to uphold requirements for law enforcement officials, typically fail to carry them accountable. The companies are sometimes made up of former officers, who’re usually sympathetic to the departments and officers they’re meant to verify, she stated.
“They’re actually geared, I believe to exonerate the officer when it is one thing that occurs within the context of their on-duty actions,” she stated.
In Swaby’s case, it was solely after he was reported for an additional offense that the company acted.
In early October 2021, medical responders and legislation enforcement have been referred to as when Swaby received right into a bodily altercation together with his spouse.
Later that month, he resigned from the police division. He and his spouse stopped collaborating within the police division’s inner investigation of the incident after he left.
Swaby misplaced his license to be a legislation enforcement officer in Kansas in June 2022, in response to CPOST. It was greater than two years after Davies initially made his report back to the Prairie Village police.
Each the texting incident and Swaby’s altercation together with his spouse are cited within the CPOST report as causes for revoking his license. An interview was scheduled for investigators to debate the allegations with Swaby, however he failed to indicate up, in response to the company’s report.
He was the second Prairie Village police officer to be stripped of his legislation enforcement certification by CPOST inside a number of months this 12 months. Jeffrey Henley misplaced his license after he allegedly despatched “regarding messages” and requested a 16-year-old woman to ship him nude images.
Davies stated he wasn’t instructed that Swaby misplaced his police license. He solely realized that Swaby had left the police division after submitting a routine open information request to verify the standing of officers concerned in his circumstances, he stated.
Davies stated he usually believes most law enforcement officials are doing the precise factor. He was shocked that the division did not take away Swaby from the drive with the proof he offered.
“When you haven’t simply phrases however precise documentation displaying one thing of this nature and no person swiftly offers with it,” Davies stated, “it form of makes you query what else is occurring.”
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