By Elizabeth Hur
COLWYN, Pa. (CBS) – The taser scandal led to chaos in Colwyn Thursday night.
The Borough Council meeting was packed but only a handful of residents got to voice their concerns and ask questions because the meeting turned contentious and at times out of control.
From tense moments among the crowd to some heated exchanges between Colwyn Mayor Daniel Rutland and Council President Tonette Pray and a woman eventually getting escorted out of the building, some residents say instead of hearing real solutions they saw more drama.
Angel Rimel said, “What happened in there solved nothing.”
Sally Rimel added, “I’ve lived here 40 years and I was embarrassed to be in that meeting.”
There was an agenda and that was to discuss police matters this after 4 officers were put on paid leave after 17-year-old Da’Qwaun Jackson reported he was tasered while shackled in police custody. It happened on April 24th.
This week, the alleged triggerman Cpl. Trevor Parham, Officer Michael Dructor who reportedly witnessed the incident and their supervisor Deputy Chief Wendell Reed were put on paid leave. The Borough Council later added Lt. Wesley Seitz to that list. Sources say that’s because Seitz was the whistle blower who let the Mayor in on the tasering incident. The Mayor claims he was not notified until 5 days after the incident.
Wednesday night, the Mayor declared a State of Emergency and brought back Seitz. Thursday night, the Council overturned that decision and re-instated the Dep Chief instead—the same man captured in a video posted on Youtube in which an officer is shown being tasered with several people laughing in the background. Reed denies laughing in the background and calls the video a short clip of a serious and legitimate training session.
Dep Chief Wendell Reed explained, “When you go through Taser training, officers have a warped sense of humor. They tape each other getting tased.”
Reed went onto clarify to reporters there was no attempt at covering up the tasering incident on his end.
“I was not aware of what happened. I did not know what happened. I was not informed until later along with the Mayor,” Reed said.
As for this Dep. Chief returning to work, the drama from inside the meeting spilled out into the street and all the way into the police station where Mayor Rutland informed Reed the scheduling will have to be redone and until that is completed Reed cannot be back “on duty.”
So as of Thursday night, three officers remain on paid leave pending the outcome of the ongoing criminal investigation: Cpl Parham, Officer Dructor and Lt. Seitz.
The Council also voted to bring in an independent investigator to look into allegations that the reporting of the incident was mishandled.
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