Burbank councilman calls out police chief

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Burbank City Councilman David Gordon tonight called on his colleagues to direct the city manager to place Police Chief Tim Stehr on administrative leave.

Citing the recent public shooting suicide of police Sgt. Neil Thomas Gunn, who was named in an FBI probe into police misconduct along with several other officers, Gordon said the City Council had a “moral and legal responsibility” to place Stehr on leave until multiple investigations were concluded.

“The stress and tension in our PD has understandably become toxic,” Gordon said. “We cannot close our eyes our cover our ears to what is going on.”

His comments were met with applause from a chamber packed with Burbank police officers.

Stehr’s “actions and inactions” have pushed the Police Department “to the brink of disaster,” said Burbank Police Lt. Omar Rodriquez, who along with Gunn and several other officers have sued the department based on various claims of discrimination and sexual harassment.

As of 7:15 p.m., the City Council had taken no formal action on the administrative leave proposal, with City Atty. Dennis Barlow questioning the legality of Gordon’s request.

The rest of the City Council appeared ready to put the matter on a future agenda for discussion, but made clear they had no intention of declaring an emergency order.

Councilman Dave Golonski called the request “grandstanding,” and Councilwoman Anja Reinke said the move was hasty.

“I think it’s a little vigilante to be honest,” she said.

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Written by Jason Wells

November 3, 2009 at 7:16 pm

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