Davenport pays, apologizes to hearing impaired man

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The city of Davenport has issued an unusual apology to a former alderman after a police employee was caught on tape saying that he intentionally knocked softly on the hearing-impaired man’s door when responding to a service call.

The city has also agreed to pay Keith Meyer $49,990, just below the $50,000 threshold for payments that must be approved by the City Council, the Quad-City Times reported (http://bit.ly/1aBN1Lo ).

The out-of-court settlement stems from a disclosure made during Meyer’s trial last year on a misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly pointing a gun at a neighbor in November 2012. Jurors acquitted the 72-year-old Meyer, who was often mired in conflict with other city leaders when he served on the Council from 2003 to 2007.

During the trial, a recording from a police officer’s open microphone was played. It caught a civilian police employee saying that when he went to Meyer’s house to respond to a damage complaint, he knocked softly so Meyer wouldn’t hear him.

The apology, signed by Police Chief Frank Donchez, City Attorney Tom Warner and City Administrator Craig Malin, says that Meyer “was provided service that did not meet the standard of excellence and compassion Davenport employees hold each other to.”

“The Davenport Police Department will undertake training in an effort to ensure all residents and visitors are provided the services demanded of those in positions of public trust,” reads the apology, which also commends Meyer for handling the matter professionally.

Donchez said the department opened an internal affairs investigation after Meyer’s trial, and it led to disciplinary action against one employee. He said training with a group that supports hearing-impaired Iowans already has been scheduled.

Meyer said that he agreed to settle the matter out of court to “save the citizens of Davenport and myself money on lawyer fees and Scott County residents money on court expenses.

“I didn’t get everything I wanted, but that is what negotiation consists of,” he said.

Mayor Bill Gluba said the employee’s action was “totally inappropriate and indefensible.” Gluba easily defeated Meyer in the mayoral election in November.

“Keith was right. It was a most unfortunate situation,” he said. “He is entitled to an apology from the Police Department. It is very, very poor judgment of the personnel involved.”

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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