Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Councilman charges police harassment




BY WALT SCHAEFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — A lawsuit charging that police have harassed and violated the civil rights of a village council member, his wife and son has been filed in U.S. District Court, Cincinnati.

        The suit, filed by attorneys representing Councilman Roland M. Heyne Jr.; his wife, Patricia Heyne; and their son, Roland “Butch” Heyne, charges police “used overt and covert means to harass the Heyne family in such ways as stalking, using the privilege of their position and other means.”

        Named as defendants are Police Chief Charles “Chuck” Huff and police officers Curtis Dale Covert, Tim Gallagher and Paul Rennie. Also named is Mayor Glenn Allen.

        “Harassment of members of the Heyne family is part of the plan and practice of the Arlington Heights Police Department and Chief Huff,” claims the suit filed by attorneys Eric H. Kearney and Todd B. Portune.

        The suit seeks $4 million plus punitive damages and attorney fees, and asks that the police and mayor be ordered to stop harassing the family.

        “The accusations contained in this suit are totally false,” Chief Huff said. He declined additional comment, as did Terrence Ladrigan, counsel for the village.

        The Heynes also declined comment. Mr. Kearney said they are willing to discuss a settlement with Arlington Heights officials. Allegations include:

        • The Heynes' son, 17, was unjustly accused by Chief Huff of vandalizing a home Dec. 24, 1998, and was subsequently harassed by Officers Rennie and Weimer, who were stationed at Lockland High School, where the boy is a student. “The officers, acting under the direction of Chief Huff, made threatening stares at Butch Heyne,” the suit claims.

        • Patricia Heyne has been “stalked” by members of the police department who have followed her on visits to stores and a doctor's appointment outside the village.

        • Officer Gallagher “invaded” Mrs. Heyne's “personal space” while she participated in a leukemia benefit event at the village hall last December and “stared at her in a menacing manner.”

        • Officer Covert in spring 1996 and last summer “entered the back yard of the Heyne (home) to improperly and without cause observe” them.

        The relationship between the Heynes and the village administration and police department has long been strained.

        Last May, Mr. Heyne Jr. — who had been criticized by Mayor Allen for his refusal to take a voluntary drug test — announced that his record of a past drug-related arrest has been expunged. He made public the expungement to clear his name. The expungement was related to Cincinnati police charges in January 1996 of three felony counts for using deception to obtain dangerous drugs.

        In April, village resident Connie Harris read a letter to council asking Mr. Heyne Jr. to resign for failure to perform to the best of his ability. “Mr. Heyne (Jr.'s) approach, while in office, has not been of a problem-solving nature. It has been more confrontational. ... His perceived notions of corruption are without warrant,” Ms. Harris said.

        Mr. Heyne Jr. had sued the village of about 1,200 residents, the mayor, police chief and clerk a month earlier for access to public records; and an agreement was reached in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to make three years of records available to him.

        Mr. Heyne Jr. assumed his village council seat in January 1998. Two years earlier, when he ran for mayor, he accused Mr. Allen, his opponent, of intimidating voters at the polls.

       



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