Friday, July 14, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Liar, liar — pants on fire

He’s a liar, he’s a liar — that seems to be all attorney Alex Gray can say about former Jacksonville Police Chief Geoffrey Herweg.

Gray has told a judge that Herweg is a liar, asked Mayor Gary Fletcher why he hired a liar and has brought it up every time he has found an open microphone.

Other than besmudging Herweg, the lying push has nothing to do with the case at hand.

Whether Herweg can be a police chief again in Jacksonville or anywhere in the state hinges on the legal interpretation of Article 5, Section 9 of the state constitution: Does a misdemeanor conviction prevent him from being a police chief?

Jacksonville Alderman Tara Smith and her attorneys Alex Gray and Nate Steel believe that segment applies to Herweg’s employment. Fletcher, City Attorney Robert Bamburg and most city council members believe it does not.

There is a restraining order against Herweg being chief. He has been moved to another city position. City Attorney Robert Bamburg has filed an appeal requesting Herweg be allowed to remain chief until the case has been settled.

So why all this “liar, liar pants on fire” push? It’s an attempt to paint Herweg as a Brady cop – one who has a history of misdeeds, missteps and is generally a miscreant. But according to the attorney general’s office, there is no state Brady cop list. In Pulaski County the prosecuting attorney submits information on police with discipline to the judge and that judge makes a decision. And all the hollering about being a liar won’t make a difference.

To be succinct, Gray is being disengenuous.

There is no doubt (mathematically or theoretically) that if Gray’s momma gets on the stand under oath she will tell us of some whoppers you told. There were times that something got broken, misplaced or not done and when she asked, your response was, “not me” — a lie.

Then let’s get Gray’s three best high school buds on the stands, under oath, and guess what they will reel off the times that you lied. And if that’s not enough, how about that one ex-girlfriend who will say that you said certain things now long forgotten.

Mr. Gray, nobody’s perfect — from the president to the unemployed and downtrodden.

Did Herweg lie about his accident 17 years ago? Yes, that’s why there’s the conviction in Texas, where he crashed his car into a garage when he was an off-duty police officer. But then Gray tried to say he lied again a few years ago in the dismissal of a police officer under his command in Lovington, N.M. First off, two lies in a 15-year time span — we should all be so lucky.

But more importantly in the 31 pages in Officer Anthony Hobbs’ federal complaint against the Lovington Police Department, which includes Herweg, not once does it call him a liar. Hobbs does say Herweg was reckless and negligent, but does that make him a liar?

Herweg has a conviction on his record that no one is lying about, and that brings up the constitutional and legal question of whether he can serve as police chief. Apparently there is a gray area here (no pun intended) and the issue needs to be settled by the courts — not by people, in person, in the media and all over social networks saying this guy is a liar.

Let the courts decide, but please let’s stop the name calling.