Kansas police officer out of job following blogger complaint
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas police officer is out of a job in the wake of a government watchdog’s complaint to regulators about a 1995 conviction in a California misdemeanor domestic violence case.
Marion Police Officer Michael A. Stone’s last day on the job is Saturday.
Stone declined comment, saying in a Facebook response to The Associated Press that he wants to “move on from this.”
A July 5 complaint filed by blogger Lee White with the state Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training alleges the California conviction disqualifies Stone from serving as a police officer or even from legally possessing a gun.
Stone did not contest the misdemeanor state domestic violence charge, court records show. He was found guilty and sentenced to two days in jail and three years of probation, court records show. In 1997, the court granted a defense motion to dismiss the misdemeanor case, but the complaint to state regulators contends the expungement did not restore his gun rights.
Kansas law prohibits anyone convicted of a domestic violence from becoming a law enforcement officer in the state, whether or not a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction is later expunged or whether there is a later a diversion agreement.
Stone told The Marion County Record , which first reported the complaint, that he wanted to have an attorney review the 1995 case given the years he has spent in law enforcement.
“I don’t know how much I can say about this, but my understanding was that everything was fine, that dismissed meant dismissed,” Stone told the newspaper.
Stone’s ex-wife, Misty Morris, also filed a protection from abuse petition against him in 2006 in Butler County that was later dismissed when she failed to show up at a hearing, court records show.
White is a former local newspaper and radio reporter who once covered Butler County. He now writes for his “Butler County Watchdog” blog that touts “Official Accountability Through Citizen Reporting.” The 52-year-old blogger said he was contacted by a former Butler County sheriff’s deputy who knew Stone, and that the two of them recently confirmed the old domestic abuse case.
“The mainstream media have faced so many layoffs and budget cuts, I think there needs to be another layer out there of accountability for public officials,” White said. “And if I am able to be that layer of accountability, yeah, I find a sense of satisfaction from that.”
City Administrator Roger Holter said Stone worked with the Marion department since September 2012, but declined to talk about whether Stone disclosed the California domestic abuse case when he was hired by the city. The city’s website shows Stone was the department’s K-9 officer.
“We appreciate his many contributions to our community and we wish him and his family best of luck in his future endeavors,” Holter said.
During his law enforcement career in Kansas, Stone previously worked as a corrections officer at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, as a patrol deputy for the Butler County Sheriff’s Department and as police chief in Florence.