MOUNT VERNON — Embattled former police sergeant Mark Perkins denies the events that happened at his home took place the way they were described by Capt. George Hartz. The alleged altercation between the two men led to Perkins being placed on paid administration leave for allegations of gross misconduct and eventually to his termination 11 days later.
In an interview with the News, Perkins said he has video of the incident and plans to use that to prove his case when he appears before an arbitrator on Sept. 17, as part of his termination appeals process.
According to his written statement, Hartz said he went to Perkins’ home on April 8 to deliver a disciplinary meeting notice and other papers.
During the opening conversation between the two men, Hartz stated Perkins was “agitated” and “his temper was escalating rapidly. At some point he gave the notice back to me.”
Hartz said Perkins refused to allow him to leave the porch, even when Perkins’ wife and another man were prompting him to allow Hartz to leave. Hartz said Perkins pushed him backward when he tried to exit the porch. During a second attempt to leave, Hartz said “Mark grabbed by jacket and shirt and pushed me backwards not letting me walk past him. He held on to me for several seconds before letting go. Screaming the entire time.”
According to the captain, Perkins followed him to his car, refused to allow Hartz to gain entry to his car and eventually slammed the door once Hartz was inside.
The former administrative supervisor admits he was loud and used abrasive language, but he denies ever touching his superior officer.
“He could have walked straight off my porch, in front of my camera, but he didn’t,” Perkins said. “That’s where the majority of this four minutes transpired. That didn’t happen. The video will clearly show everything that happened and it does not have that.”
Hartz said that he was comfortable going to see Perkins alone as he felt the two had a “good rapport.”
Perkins told the News he believed that to be a fair statement.
“It’s accurate because when I’m at the police department, I gave him the respect of the position. I gave him the respect of the captain,” Perkins said.
However, Perkins said he felt the need for the department to hand deliver a meeting notice, a memo detailing his job duties and two grievance- related documents, were unnecessary and could have waited until he returned from sick leave.
“Who delivers a letter to an employee telling them they have blankets to fold? Who sends a letter that says I should reacquaint myself with the Collective Bargaining Agreement because you have forgotten how to file a grievance? Dave Glass sends an envelope which proves Dave Glass knew this was going to happen. I firmly believe this proved the collusive efforts of them wanting to terminate my employment,” Perkins said.
“I’ve been putting up with this for seven years, then it comes to my home and I don’t think I should have to take that here at my house,” Perkins said. “... I don’t think he came out here to see how far he could push me, but I do believe that him coming out here, and after I was able to look through the envelope, the entire purpose for coming to my home was to provoke a situation.”
At the close of his statement, Hartz said that as the incident continued, he grew more concerned for his own safety.
“During the balance of my time on his porch, and before I entered my vehicle to leave, I did believe he was upset and angry enough to physically harm me. I was in fear for my safety,” Hartz wrote.
When asked if Hartz ever asked Perkins to back off or move away, Perkins said that request, or any other typical law enforcement response to such a situation never occurred.
“As a law enforcement officer, he never attempted for a weapon, he ever attempted for intermediate, he never separated, he never gave any verbal commands and he never called for backup. It was not how he said it was,” Perkins said.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office took a report regarding the incident and handed it over the prosecutor’s office. No charges have been filed.
“That’s an assault on a police officer that he’s alleging,” Perkins said. “That didn’t happen and there is a reason why there were no charges.”
According to documents acquired by the News in a public records request, Hartz attempted to deliver the documents on April 5, after calling Perkins and leaving a voicemail message asking him to come to the department or call regarding paperwork. Hartz did drive to the Perkins home where he was unable to make contact with anyone.
Dave Glass, safety-service director, declined to comment on the incident stating the matter is part of the upcoming arbitration and a federal lawsuit filed against the city by Perkins.
- Police Captain George Hartz
- Police Chief Mike Merrilees
- Sgt. Robert “Kit” Morgan
- Mount Vernon Police officer sues chief, city for discrimination April 19, 2013
- Perkins fired from MVPD April 22, 2013
- News investigation uncovers ‘fishy’ deal May 24, 2013
- Motorcycle debate causes rift with Mount Vernon Police Department May 30, 2013
- City policy protects whistleblowers June 3, 2013
- BCI investigating MVPD chief, sergeant June 10, 2013
- Storage, scrap sale add to MVPD woes June 11, 2013
- Merrilees’ evaluations unimpressive June 12, 2013
- Morgan qualified, respected June 13, 2013
- No felony cases for MVPD detective June 19, 2013
- City officials get training in records retention June 28, 2013
- Tapes tell tale of MVPD deals July 1, 2013
- Officer: It’s ‘miserable’ at MVPD July 9, 2013
- Same test given for captain, chief July 10, 2013
- City denies claims in Perkins lawsuit July 12, 2013
- Merrilees, Morgan placed on leave July 13, 2013
- Retired officers concerned about future of MVPD July 15, 2013
- Acting police chief Hartz suspended August 19, 2013
- Details emerge in suspension August 21, 2013
- Perkins questions validity of physical request September 3, 2013
- Accounts of alleged altercation differ September 4, 2013
- Mark Perkins: I want my job back September 5, 2013
- Mount Vernon Police Department files released months after request September 6, 2013
- Perkins’ evaluations show good, bad sides September 6, 2013
- City waits while BCI investigates October 12, 2013
- Twitter talk sparks 9-1-1 policy changes October 18, 2013
- City embarrassed by length of investigation November 16, 2013
- Lawsuit filed against MVPD officers November 20, 2013
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