Online Staff Report
The Rockford Unit of the Police Benevolent & Protective Association (PBPA), Wednesday, June 4, brought a formal complaint against Chief Chet Epperson based on his alleged conduct during a 2013 incident at the home of NAACP President Leland “Lloyd” Johnston.
The complaint alleges that Epperson improperly interjected himself into a welfare check of Johnston’s 24-year-old son at 2904 Warwick Way Oct. 30, 2013. According to the complaint, Epperson advised Johnston over the phone to not cooperate with officers.
According to PBPA President Terrence Peterson, the incident has mounted significant concern among members, prompting the complaint to the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners.
“It not only shows that the Chief lacks understanding of the fundamentals of effective police work, but more importantly demonstrates his overall inability to effectively lead this department,” Peterson said in a statement.
The complaint calls for the board to conduct an independent investigation of the incident.
Oct. 30, 2013, officers arrived at Johnston’s Warwick Way home to check on his son after police received a call that the boy was being battered. Johnston refused to allow officers into the home and became defiant, according to the complaint. When officers would not leave his property, Johnston allegedly placed a cell-phone call to Epperson. The complaint alleges that Epperson told Johnston to order the officers off the property and that a supervisor would be called to the scene.
The union also claims Epperson lied in a written report that states he did not make such an order to Johnston. Officers at the scene claim they heard Epperson tell Johnson to send them away after the call was placed the call on speakerphone.
Chet Epperson was not available for comment.