City Council Dismisses West Terre Haute Police Officer

News

A West Terre Haute Police Officer learns his fate after a Monday night city council meeting.

By a 2 to 1 vote, the West Terre Haute City Council found Jonathan Stevens Sr. guilty of conduct unbecoming of an officer and voted to terminate his employment. 

“The Indiana Code specifically provides that an officer of a town, a law enforcement officer can be disciplined including dismissal because of a crime,” Chris Gambill said.   

Officer Stevens does not agree with council’s decision and he says the council and the police department are racist. 

“I’m here to set a precedent that racism and bullying these people for jobs, this is not the 1950’s anymore so I’m not going to turn around and run,” Jonathan Stevens said. “I have family members of difference races who may want a job here too, and if I just turn around and run, I make no stance for it and I will make a stance for it.” 

Back in October 2017, Stevens was arrested in a domestic dispute in his home while off duty.  

Recently Stevens pleaded guilty to an amended charge of disorderly conduct, a class B Misdemeanor. His original charge of domestic battery in the presence of a child, a Felony. 

That charge was dismissed with the plea agreement and Stevens was sentenced to six days in jail and 174 days on informal probation. 

Since the news broke, citizens voiced their concerns and outrage over the possibility of Stevens’ return.

One Facebook comment read, “he shouldn’t get his job back,” others defending the officer said, “I know him personally and he’s never beat his wife. Don’t believe everything you hear.”  

At Monday night’s meeting, emotions boiled as residents were upset that they couldn’t speak out about Stevens and the council. 

West Terre Haute Police Chief Bill Bark declined to go on camera, but says that the department takes character and background checks on their officers. 

Officer Stevens has until next Monday to request a hearing to appeal the council’s decision. Proof would have to be shown that he was convicted of a crime. 

When asked if he should be held accountable for the crime, Stevens declined to comment. 

This is the second officer, fired from West Terre Haute, in the past 3 years. The appeal process or former officer Sergeant Kristopher Froschauer took more than a year and he was ultimately terminated.

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