Officer Steven McManus speaks out

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Officer Steven McManus speaks out

His name has been bandied about the Village for over a year, but until now, Westhamp­ton Beach Police Officer Steven McManus has yet to speak publicly about several controver­sial incidents in which he has been involved.

Here, for the first time, Officer McManus goes on the record about his missing pistol, Super­visor Linda Kabot's DWI arrest and the police contact with East End Independent reporter Lisa Finn's son:

At the recommendation of the Chief of Police and the District Attorney's office I have stood back and not commented on these incidents. How long though am I to stand by and see my name questioned over and over in local papers without speaking out.

Mr. Murphy writes in his response that the Westhampton Beach Police Department is in the midst of a scandal, an accurate statement. There is a scandal brewing! However his newspaper has been directed away from the real scandal and led in a different direction.

Mr. Murphy also writes that he has turned over all his material to the Suffolk County District Attorney. I certainly hope he had, because I have through the proper channels to little avail. I can only hope that he is more successful than I and others have been in convincing Mr. Spota to convene a Grand Jury.

He also reports that he has a reputation for reporting the truth. I am not all that familiar with his paper and I am by no means a reporter, but as the Editor of the paper shouldn't he want to preserve that reputation for reporting the truth by limiting or not including anonymous sources in his reports? His paper and, to be fair, others have made statements about conspiracies involving Ms. Kabot, and I am thrilled to find that Ms. Kabot has decided to go to trial on her case.

Does anyone think that the Suffolk County District Attorney's office would let a case go to trial if there was an real conspiracy involved?

Mr. Murphy blasted Mr. Speir because he reported a relationship between his reporter and a Police Officer inside our Department. Why?

His threats of legal action only fan the flames that maybe there is a dark connection that was exposed! Imagine my surprise, when I find that the reporter who has used "anonymous sources" in her articles to criticize me, and a person she recently interviewed is also using anonymous sources in the Police department to spread rumors of improprieties, has a current sticker from my PBA on her vehicle window.

Then the reporter's son shows me a 2010 "Honorary Member" card from my own PBA that has the signature of my PBA president on it. The card states that young Mr. Finn is the PBA president's "godson." When you mix in the fact that PBA president Jeff Speer and Vice President Mike Bruetsch are persons who want the IA investigation to go away, you have to look at the larger picture.

Mr. Murphy says "Welcome to Hell." Well, I have been in hell since March 2009 when I took two actions. I reported a firearm missing to the Chief of Police and then broke "the blue wall of silence" when I reported that an officer tried to get me to go along with a story he fabricated about seeing me put my handgun in my locker. I endured an almost eight month internal affairs investigation, several interviews, constant questioning, a polygraph and watched as my eight-month pregnant wife had to sit and be interviewed several times by investigators.

Then when the report did come out indicating that I was not one of the culpable parties, we saw several Village Trustees block the charges from being vetted. Where's the story on that? All I did was report an incident!

The flames got even hotter when in September 2009 I didn't encourage PO Lucas to ignore a vehicle that we felt was being operated unsafely. Perhaps I should have heeded the advice of some of the older guys in the department when they said "hey kid, you have to learn how to ignore things."

In closing I would like to address some of the lies that I have heard and read.

  • I did not misplace my gun and then wasn't man enough to go to the Chief of Police and tell him so I had my wife find it.
I reported the truth about my gun! I did not make up any portion of my account of the incident. Can the other person involved say that?

  • Ms. Kabot was a target of a conspiracy to "get her."
There were no government satellites realigned to track her. There was no conspiracy to take down Ms. Kabot as a favor to anyone. Officer Lucas and I treated her as anyone else would have been treated in those circumstances. Maybe that's what she is upset about.

  • There is a missing four (4) minutes of Video tape.
I instructed PO Lucas to turn the camera off to retrieve the time of the stop from the video. This was done at a time when we were NOT interviewing Ms. Kabot. We also replayed the video to see the vehicle in motion and the initial interview to ensure what we observed was on the tape and what was said to us was picked up by the microphones. The video was restarted when we again began to communicate with Ms. Kabot. The videos CAN NOT be edited in any fashion. The icop video system is a digital system that can only be downloaded, not edited. Perhaps I should have done what certain other officers in the department have done, leave the external microphone in the car and point the camera to the sky. (How about a story on that, Mr. Murphy?)

Mr. Speir has taken some members of local government to task on their inability to govern openly and fairly, and the appearance that they are protecting certain persons. When is The Independent going take the blinders off and look at the big picture? Instead of accusing Mr. Speir of bad reporting maybe Mr. Murphy should team up with him and help straighten this mess out.

Thank you Officer McManus for speaking on the record.

As for your suggestion that Mr. Murphy work with me to "help straighten this mess out," he likely would not embrace that idea.


1. Joyce L. Donneson said...

GOOD for you Steve; you've waited LONG enough.

Hasn't he though! OtBB is honored to be the instrument of his version of events.

The officer just needs to be extra careful who's backing him up if he has to go through any doors.
– Dean

2. Clarity said...

Hoo rah brother, finally the truth comes out.

3. Rick Murphy said...

"OtBB reserves the right . . . ignore any comment."
-- your policy, Dean. I posted this well before Mr. the detective's comments: print it or I will:

Let me get this straight. The kid is parked by the beach with a couple girls. No booze, no pot. By the next morning someone spread the "news" all over the village. Because the kid had a PBA card, the allegations of failing to address a pedophile, being soft on rape, letting a prisoner escape and setting up a town supervisor should just be ignored.
I have no problem responding to your "Finn killed JFK" theories. The officer in question was Xxxxx's counselor when he was getting confirmed in the eighth grade! He was not a source for Lisa's article, BTW, and I know who all of them were. Lisa gave every player in the village a chance to comment. Some didn't call back, some did but talked off the record, some asked their names not be used, and some went on the record.
As for Xxxxx, who by the way, is an honor student, stating Hank Tucker told him it was OK, did it occur to any of you he was kidding that is, making a little joke?
As for The Independent's financial status, as an owner I am one of four people to see our balance sheet. We are quite healthy. The rumor we are not comes straight from the Southampton Press salespeople who were told as much by their publisher, hoping it would make it easier to penetrate the East Hampton market (It didn't).
The Independent has no horse in this race other than to state the obvious: an investigation is needed, and there is a lot of crap being covered up that's going to come out now, including the truth about Kabot.
I never heard of this blog before, and likely will never read it again, but when an employee of ours is upset because her son's name is being dragged down by the clowns who frequent this dopey site it anger's me. It is obvious some of the bloggers are lashing out because their asses are on the line, and they are hoping it will all go away. That's never going to happen, not now. So keep flapping your mouths, and we'll keep digging deeper and deeper.
I will leave you with these two thoughts: How many of you have PBA cards – Dean you want to answer? And how did a routine traffic check get published within hours of its occurrence? Think a cop leaked it? Shouldn't the chief be upset?
Finally Dean accuses Lisa of being biased. And you Sir, are what? Aren't you completely in one corner and blind to the criticisms coming from the other side. What's in your wallet?

That said, I am glad Steve has come foreward, given the protection censorship affords on this site.

Steve, you refused to respond to our calls. My newspaper seeks the truth. I would love to interview you. Do you really think going through Dean -- who edits and manipulates this blog -- gets the truth out? We have no idea who did what. You just need to defend yourself from the allegations, and not in this venue but in a reputable forum. I offer you a column, with no editing or editor's note, to tell the truth.

  1. No, Rick, you did not make this comment "well before Mr. the detective's comments." Officer McManus' public statement was posted shortly after 5:00 pm and this response... the over-struck material was essentially cut 'n' pasted from your earlier comment which was made "live" (and unedited or manipulated) around 8:00 pm... you had not posted this at that time.
  2. As already noted, I do "edit and manipulate" OtBB, for style, never for meaning!
  3. Now you come on my blog with snotty little dismissive comments, and try to hijack "my beat!"
(And ol' son, you were beaten! Burns your butt, doesn't it!?)

I did not solicit the officer's contribution... only published his comment as a blog entry, something I have done in the past on the rare occasion.

I suspect that he elected to give OtBB the "exclusive" because it has established considerable credibility in the 32 months since its launch, and I've been covering the Village extensively here and in a prior incarnation of The Southampton Press Western Edition.

But your wouldn't know that since you just found OtBB this weekend.

Thanks for writing so voluminously, but don't you have a paper to get out?
– Dean

4. Scarlett said...

You go, Dean! When you're right, you're right!

5. Clarity said...

What Mr. Murphy fails to realize is that Lisa Finn has become a part of this story. As it was said, there has been no journalistic credibility to any of her stories, citing anonymous sorces and backroom dealings with presumably shady characters. Now she is upset that her personal relationships have been exposed. Mrs Finn was quick to call out police officer McManus' wife by name in her earlier stories, but now is upset that her own family has been drawn into the fray?? Mrs Finn's son (who was not named) was in possession of a PBA card indicating him to be a "godson" of a central player in this mess, the PBA president, and her vehicle was said to bear a 2010 WHB PBA sticker on the window. Does she not understand that this adds to the conspiracy theory that The Independent is in the pocket of the PBA, Hank and Joan?? Maybe she needs an anoynomous source to tell her so... Well, I just did.

I would hope that upon clearer light of day, Mr. Murphy can better understand the myriad problems with what he is attempting to defend.

6. Eyes on 6 Corners said...

Good job, both Steve and Dean.

Steve, you've got some big ones, brother!

His last Comment makes Murphy come across as envious of this blog even though he says he never heard of it and says he probably won't read it again. Does he have a drinking problem? The tone of his posts is pretty erratic.

I have no idea of what personal demons Editor Murphy may or may not wrestle with, but yes, between "Dean is full of crap" and "dude, you're doing a good job," there is an inconsistancy of tone.

But hey!, it's been a holiday weekend and he's allowed to enjoy himself... his brief probably would be better served had he written earlier in the day.
– Dean

7. EastEnd68 said...

Many thanks to Steven. I just hope everything comes out OK for him.

8. Lisa Finn said...

Hello Dean,

I am writing to ask that you refrain from further comment regarding my son, a minor.

The truth everyone is so eagerly seeking is this: Jeff Speer was my son's confirmation mentor at Westhampton Presbyterian Church, in 8th grade. He saw my son driving -- his own car, which is registered in my name -- and congratulated him on receiving a license, giving him the PBA card and sticker. Mr. Speer told my son "I'll just say I'm your godfather."

He is not my son's godfather. And all of this transpired without my knowledge or permission. One might ask why police officers or PBA presidents feel the cards need be handed out so freely.

I have not seen or spoken with Mr. Speer in over four years, when he was mentor at church -- and even then, our conversations were brief and involved only church details. I have no PBA card or sticker on my own vehicle, or in my possession -- and would not accept one -- and will tell my son to return his to Mr. Speer, as it was given without my permission or knowledge.

My son is a minor and is in no way involved in the stories published by the newspaper and therefore, does not need to be dragged into the fray, so to speak.

I have told him he needs a sticker to park at the beach and will purchase one for him in Village Hall.

As he is a minor and also, not a public figure, I am asking that he no longer be mentioned in any way on this site.

Further, one wonders why this episode was published on the site only hours after it happened. Were this anyone else's child, would this be something worthy of such public discussion? Honor students who devote hours of public service to the community should be congratulated for their good work, not berated for an innocent walk on the beach. He was doing nothing wrong -- and has been told that if he wishes to park at the beach in the future, he will have to wait until I have purchased a sticker for him.

If you have any further questions or wish to speak with me directly, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter.

Lisa Finn

Good to hear from you directly on this matter, Lisa. I wish that you had done so at the outset rather than get your Editor involved... he did the Finn family no service with his erratic late-in-the-day threatening comments.

(One OtBB reader wondered privately if his first published comment had been drafted on a bar napkin.)

Had Mr. Murphy not focused any of his messages on your son (by name!)... especially the "he was only kidding" stuff... the entire dialogue would have been about the apparent chummy relationship between you as a reporter covering the messy Westhampton Beach police department situation, and the PBA President and the Trustee-who-would-be-Mayor.

While I can certainly appreciate your concerns as a parent, I trust that you can appreciate that your son placed himself squarely in this matter with his incautious remarks while being interviewed by police officers in the course of their duties. He was in no way "dragged into the fray."

You wonder why "this episode was published on the site only hours after it happened." How could it not have been once the information was circulating the Village?

You also ask:
"Were this anyone else's child, would this be something worthy of such public discussion?"
Of course not, and if you'd think professionally instead of personally, you'd know the answer to that!

I'd once speculated that you must have been getting fat from all the cheesecake Hank Tucker was feeding you along with his personal agenda. While that was obviously hyperbole, the title of the blog entry, "The connection clarifies," should have made it abundantly clear why it was published.

And seriously, is your son's status as an "Honor Student" somehow relevant in this? (Though his encounter in Lashley Pavilion parking lot would never had come to light had he said "I'm an Honor Student" instead of "Hank Tucker said it was all right.")

(You affirm that your son is a minor, and this raises questions about the limitations of a New York State Junior Driving License that late in the evening with two other passengers, since you have assserted "He was doing nothing wrong.")

I trust that the mother/son conversation went well, and that he now has a better sensitivity to his mother's position in the community.

I note, however, that the PBA sticker was still on your son's Saturn at 4:00 pm today.
Thanks for writing.
– Dean

9. Oldtimer said...

Dean, after reading the editorial in The Independent, I called the editor. When asked if he looked into this enough to report the truth, his answer was "it's my opinion."

He refused to discuss the idea that perhaps it wasn't all he felt, and asked if he shouldn't have shown all the facts, his answer remained "it's my opinion."

I also read Miss Finn's story, after which I went to their blog where there were several comments. All seemed to feel her story was tabloid trash, yet these readers opinions didn't matter to him, and these are his readers. This guy is something else.

As for Steve McManus, he very well bring this to a head. I now have to put him next to you as my heros of the truth.......

My blushes... but one point needs to be made. "Editorials" are the the expression of the writer's opinion, whether right or wrong. It's the stories reported which should be accurate.

Thank you for mentioning the Indy's blog, as I was unaware of it's existance. (It doesn't seem to be working at the moment.)

10. Specialist said...

I think Steve has it figured out who is backing up on calls and who isn't.

Good reporting Dean!

11. Watching Them said...

So the story goes deeper.

Nice of Mr. Murphy to offer Steve McManus a place to tell us what happened, but does he really think Steve would even pick up an Independant after what's been said about him in it.

How about a retraction, Mr. Murphy? Front page would be nice.

12. Shorewood said...

Thank you Officer McManus for doing your job in a professional manner, and not caving in to those with questionable agendas. We can only hope that those looking to muddy the waters are held responsible for their actions. Please everyone, get out and vote. Get everyone you know to get out and vote. Help those who need aid with travel, get to the voting booth. If you see anyone voting who you do not believe should be voting, report it to the authorities and file a complaint. If NYC, or Nassau, or wherever, is their primary residence, why would they be casting a vote in the Village of WHB. Do everything that you can possibly do. If not, do not complain afterwards.

13. Shorewood said...

Dean wrote: "the Indy's blog ...doesn't seem to be working at the moment."

It is working. 19 posts since 2009. Obviously not as hot as your blog :-)

My blushes, and I see that it does work... if the last post is from March 16th about the "Animal Shelter."
– Dean

14. Goodnight and goodluck said...

I find it funny that in her whiny rant, Lisa Finn conveniently fails to address her son's exclamation that "Hank Tucker said it was all right."

Please Lisa, enlighten us....

No, she didn't, but at the same time I don't think "whiny rant" is an accurate or fair characterization.

15. Clarity said...

Well Ms. Finn's comments don't do much to support her character. I don't for one second believe that she did not see the large red, white and blue sticker on the window of a car registered to her and presumably parked in her own driveway!!

On another note wasn't it Officer McManus who arrested the WHB High School janitor for selling dope to our kids? I believe so and bravo for a job well done.

Police Officer Steve McManus was detached to the East End Drug Task Force at the time it arrested the High School custodian and then another drug dealer across the street; prior to that it had taken down another convicted felon in a local bar... and that's seems to have been when the Village Board's interference with the Police Department took on really sinister implications.
– Dean

16. Nunya said...

Good for you, Steve! Remember, alot more of us have got your back. It's a shame some of your own guys don't.

17. NYCarrie said...

Note to all:
If you think you may be mentioned on the blog, make sure your car is clean and legally parked!

And don't be dropping names you don't really know.

18. BeachGirl978 said...

It's really annoying that this so-called reporter and her "editor" choose to obscure this issue by crying foul since an 18-year-old is involved. They do not explain why the 18-year-old non-resident stated that Trustee Tucker "said it was ok!!" How would a young non-resident even know this Trustee or believe he would extend a priviledge to him? The more that the reporter and her editor say, the clearer it is that there is a serious conflict of interest in this reporter's coverage of the Police Department. I can imagine the fuss Rick Murphy would make if a Southampton Press reporter was in Finn's predicament.

Excellent points! If this did not involve The Independent in anyway, it would be blurbed on his front page!

And you're right, there's a lot of posturing and arm-flapping going on by Editor Murphy.

In respect to the "18-year-old" involved, his mother says he is a minor, so he is apparently not yet 18 years.

19. Jeanne Speir said...

Ok, points taken.
Let's let the young man's life return to normal, eh? He sounds like a REALLY good son by all standards. By report an honor student, I think he also plays sports, works, and under the rattling duress of a police interview, he really tried to tell the truth. The officer let him go without a summons, which to me seemed like good judgement on the policeman's part.

He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The back-pedaling of the "majors" (as opposed to "minors") is the the real story here.

Lessons learned, I hope. I wish you all the success in the world, young man.

Yes, dear... but the video of the police contact in Lashley Beach parking lot doesn't show anything like "rattling duress." It's not like he was spread-eagled over the hood of his vehicle!

20. Jeanne Speir said...

Dunno about you, but anytime there's an officer outside my car window, even if it's checking my car registration or seat belt, I am a little rattled. For me it's a South Park ""Respect my author-i-tah!"" moment!

Yes, dear.

21. T said...

F*ck Steve ... He is a son of bitch .. Motherf*cker puck a** ..

There seems to be a story here… what happened?

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