Cop detains daughter’s boyfriend, says “we’ll make s–t up”
LORAIN, Ohio — A white Ohio police officer has been fired after a department investigation found he conducted an unwarranted traffic stop on his teen daughter’s boyfriend, who is black, reports the Chronicle-Telegram. Lorain police officer John Kovach Jr. was fired last month for violating the department’s standards of conduct during the April 16 incident in Lorain, about 30 miles west of Cleveland, the paper reports.
In bodycam video, Kovach can be heard ordering the young man to get out of the car and telling him, “You’re going to jail,” not responding when the teen repeatedly asks him, “For what?”
The officer later temporarily detains the boy and his daughter, both 18, in his squad car and is heard saying, “We’ll make (expletive) up as we go.”
The paper obtained documents related to the dismissal which said Kovach’s actions warranted “immediate dismissal.” In a memo obtained by the paper, police chief Cel Rivera said the actions were “an abuse of police authority and a serious departure from appropriate protocol…they are contrary to the mission, values and policies of the Lorain Police Department.”
According to the paper, Kovach pulled over the car with a driver and three passengers in it outside of a home without alerting dispatch. He then tells the driver, his daughter’s boyfriend Makai Coleman, to get out of the car because he’s “going to jail.”
“Have a seat in my car. We’ll make (expletive) up as we go,” he said.
Kovach appears to be looking for his daughter, and doesn’t realize that she is one of the backseat passengers.
The boy sits in the squad car. The mother of two of the teens in the car, Gloria Morales, comes outside of a home and talks to Kovach. He asks Morales if his daughter is in her house, and when she says no, he asks why his daughter’s computer is in her house.
“If I check and you’re lying to me, you’re going to jail,” he says.
He reportedly later told fellow officers he tracked the girl’s computer to Morales’ home because he believed she was suicidal and wanted to take her to the hospital, the paper reports, citing documents related to the firing. He reportedly said he waited at Morales’ home and pulled Coleman’s car over when he saw it.
Kovach later told officers that he didn’t think Coleman was a good person and that his daughter had been staying with him against his wishes, the paper reports.
In the video, he tells Morales his daughter is “suicidal” and says “that boy has been harboring her.”
Morales tells him to obtain a search warrant if he wants to search her home. Kovach threatens to give her daughter a ticket for not wearing her seatbelt and then tells Morales she is being disorderly.
“How am I being disorderly? You’re making this personal,” Morales says in the video.”You want to ticket my daughter for not wearing her seatbelt because you think your daughter is in my house.”
When Morales says she will call 911, Kovach threatens to arrest her.
When Kovach realizes his daughter is in the backseat, he orders her to get in the backseat of his patrol car and pushes her inside as the girl screams that she is 18 and can’t be detained for no reason.
“Why are you pushing me? Why are you doing this?” she is heard screaming.
The investigation reportedly found that Kovach violated the department’s policies by initiating the traffic stop without cause and failing to inform dispatch; for threatening to arrest Morales; for taking Coleman into custody and saying he would make up cause; and for using his police authority to locate his daughter.
The department’s union is reportedly appealing.
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