Levasseur Crosses the Thin Blue Line

Published at 2:30 PM on 1/8/13

As reported on this morning’s radio program, Alderman at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur got it wrong when he accused an unknown off duty Manchester Police Officer of threatening him.  He got it very wrong. In fact, the person he accused of threatening him was not an off duty police officer.  He was a close friend of slain officer Michael Briggs’ family who decided to attend the meeting as a result of Levasseur’s verbal histrionics against Chief David J. Mara on the issue of naming the police station.

Sources familiar with the situation have confirmed that the accused was a soon to be former dispatcher with the police department who was there without the chief’s knowledge. 

As discussed on this morning’s show, and originally onour show of January 3, 2013, I simply did not see the threats Levasseur claimed were made in his email to the chief.  Did I see a dirty look made towardLevasseur?  Yup, sure did.  Don’t blame the guy either.  However, did I see the pointing of fingers, shaking of fists, the “mouthing” of threats, or the need for the chief to physically restrain and calm the non-existent off duty officer?  No, I did not.

I saw Chief Mara leave the testimony table and walk toward the gallery.  I saw Levasseur react to “something” and turned back to where Mara was and saw the mis-described off duty officer with a dirty look on his face.  While I can’t completely rule it out, it’s hard for me to believe that the actions described by Levasseur could have taken place in the second or two I looked away.  Even if I missed it, Chief Mara did not act, in any way, to “calm” the alleged aggressor.

All that aside, however, the line Levasseur really crossed was not in making the false accusation against someone who was not an off duty police officer.  It was in using the allegedly hot headed behavior of the accused to characterize the department’s officers generally by saying, “(A)s we all know the police are a very cohesive unit, a brotherhood as they like to be called. Who knows how far his hatred for me has pervaded throughout your department or will after he talks to more officers? We all know how hot headed a particular group of officers are as the reputation of your officers has been well established.”

Even if Levasseur, who also wrote “if he is the officer that I believe he is, this officer has made questionable statements about me to an area business”hischaracterization of he department’s officers created a great deal of enmity in the rank and file.

In demanding that the department disclose the identity of the alleged threat maker so he could file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office, Levasseur also demanded that disciplinary action be taken and an apology be given.  Don’t expect that to happen; any of it.  The question remains whether or not Levasseur will recognize just how offensive and insulting his email was and take the steps necessary to right this wrong.