Police union petitions city council for Sykes' removal

Letter sent to city council, Mayor Collins

6/3/2014
BLADE STAFF
Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes
Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes

Toledo police union leaders sent a letter today to city council and Mayor D. Michael Collins calling for “appropriate punishment” of Councilman Larry Sykes, who, in April, accused two Toledo police officers of “profiling.” An internal police investigation ruled the allegations “unfounded.”

“Basically we're asking his colleagues to take action against him,” said Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association. “His arrogance has superseded his ability to lead the city.”

In the letter, Mr. Wagner writes that the appropriate punishment, based on the city charter, of Mr. Sykes “should include censure and office forfeiture.”

RELATED CONTENT: Toledo Police Patrolman‘s Assoc. letter to Toledo City Council

The letter outlines six “charges” that the union would levy against Mr. Sykes: dishonesty, abuse of authority in dealing with the public, violation of Toledo City Charter chapter 4, section 30, council member shall not interfere with administration, violation of Toledo City Charter chapter 7, section 180, violation of a state law which disallows for knowingly filing false complaints against a police officer, and conduct unbecoming.

Mr. Wagner said inter-office mail was used to send the letter and that it was unlikely that anyone had received the letter. He said he expects to hear from council within days but, if not, the union will go to the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office and ask for a special prosecutor to investigate.

Mr. Wagner also asked council to amend the city charter that deals with the recall of elected officials. Currently, an elected person cannot be recalled in their first year of office. Mr. Sykes was elected in November.

“We're sincere and his actions need to be disciplined,” Mr. Wagner said.

In a related move, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Toledo has passed a motion requesting that the city hold a forum on racial profiling, and that meetings be set up between union representatives, city officials and minority groups to discuss relationship issues within the groups.

Several local unions have called for Mr. Sykes to step down after the April 24 incident, including the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association, Toledo Firefighters Local 92, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Ohio Council, and the Toledo Federation of Teachers. The International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO, also requested he leave his council post.

Mr. Sykes has said he is moving on and will no longer discuss the issue after his apology last month.