Friday, September 14, 2007

Embattled Columbus Cop Susan Purtee Resigns From The Force Rather Than Recant Her Convictions; The Patriot Dames Rock On

Sixty-year old Officer Susan L. Purtee, the 15-year veteran of the Columbus Police Department whose racially and semitically-incorrect website prompted protests from residents and City Council members, has resigned and will seek retirement benefits for a unspecified disability. Full story published in the Columbus Dispatch. Additional significant coverage from WBNS Channel 10 Columbus.

Police spokeswoman Amanda Ford claims that Purtee was not pressured into resigning. “She did this of her own free will,” Ford said.

[Ed. Note: At this point, I must interrupt the story. The black mayor, the black head of the local Urban League chapter, four black City Council members, and the Anti-Defamation League all publicly condemned Susan Purtee, and Amanda Ford is claiming Purtee wasn't pressured? That has got to rank as one of the most disingenuous statements of all time.]

Purtee, who could not be reached at her Grove City home tonight, turned in her resignation on Thursday September 13th, 2007, to take effect on September 22nd. She is apparently on vacation until that time. Purtee will be paid through September 22nd and can seek retirement benefits based on an apparent disability. However, Amanda Ford could not specify the nature of the disability.

Jim Gilbert, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, said, “Normally officers retire when they reach 48 years of age and have 25 years of service. That's for normal retirement.” He also stated the union doesn't assist with retirement paperwork, which is up to the individual officer.

We are obligated to represent her through the administrative investigation which was taking place,” Gilbert continued. “She has had limited contact with the union since this all began." Purtee was also interviewed by internal affairs this past week at which the FOP represented her. “The FOP does not condone anti-Semitic comments or the views of Officer Purtee,” he said. “We are obligated by contract and law to represent her administratively.”

Purtee's Internet videos, created with her sister, Barbara Gordon-Bell, 52, of Coral Springs, Fla., blame Jews, blacks, illegal immigrants and Cubans for a variety of the nation's problems. The sisters call themselves “The Patriot Dames.” The videos were made off-duty and Purtee's police connection was never mentioned. The two videos provoking the greatest criticism have since been removed by YouTube. The remainder of the Patriot Dames videos can be accessed on their YouTube website.

In a telephone interview tonight, Gordon-Bell said her sister has put a video on YouTube since the news of her website broke August 28th. The video, titled “O'Reilly 9-12-07,” responds to Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly's discussion of her. In it, Purtee says someone threatened to kill her. She says she never did anything wrong and that she has protected people in the inner city, many of whom have called to offer support. She also blames Jews for calling her “trailer trash” and says everyone in her department knows from her record that she's not racist. This video is posted below:

Barbara Gordon-Bell also was interviewed by Rick Sanchez of CNN, back on September 6th. That video is posted below:

When the story first broke in the last week of August, Police Chief James Jackson transferred Purtee from patrol duty to administrative duty. However, public criticism continued to build. Just a couple of days ago, WBNS Channel 10 obtained a copy of Purtee's 624-page internal-affairs file, which showed a number of situations where Purtee showed some administrative incompetency on the job. The file dates to 2002, when Purtee worked as a detective investigating crimes against children. She was written up for improperly disposing of evidence in a rape case, failing to properly investigate at least nine physical-abuse cases, and not properly documenting interviews. Basic housekeeping discrepancies that, if all officers had been subjected to the same intense scrutiny, could have been found in the paperwork of many other officers.

The file also shows that supervisors recommended Purtee be pulled from detective work because of that and an inability to follow proper protocol. Chief Jackson had previously requested that Purtee be terminated for unbecoming conduct after an incident with her supervisor. In a settlement agreement, she was suspended for 60 working hours.

While Susan Purtee vowed to stand firm, remain on the force, and not recant, the pressure being exerted from nearly the entire civic plutocracy undoubtedly wore her reserve so thin that she obviously decided she needed to choose - should she sacrifice her job, or, like so many others such as Senator Trent Lott and former Senator George Allen, sacrifice her convictions? Unlike the two senators, Purtee took the high road and sacrificed her job instead, standing firm on her convictions. Of course, the possibility of a disability retirement undoubtedly helped, but that's merely a possibility at the moment - not a guarantee.

In an age when it seems that anything and anybody can be for sale, Susan Purtee is a shining example of fidelity, loyalty, and integrity. She is an example worth emulating.

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