SOUTH BEND — City police Patrolman Jack Stilp will be suspended five days without pay for giving a local news media outlet a report that he’d filed in which, he claimed, the county homicide chief made threatening comments to him.
The city’s Board of Public Safety approved the suspension Thursday.
It all stems from a phone conversation between Stilp and St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett back in April.
The comments were related to the federal investigation of taped phone conversations that led to Darryl Boykins being demoted as South Bend’s police chief.
Board of Public Safety President Patrick Cottrell cast the lone vote against the suspension because, he said, he sided with Interim Police Chief Chuck Hurley’s original request for a 10-day suspension.
Three board members voted for the suspension: John Collins, the Rev. Eddie Miller and Luther Taylor.
Ten days wouldn’t have been too much, Cottrell said.
Corbett himself had received a five-day suspension from St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak on Aug. 29 for making the call to Stilp.
In May, Stilp filed an internal report with the transcript of that April phone call, stating that he wanted it on file so he’d be treated fairly in case he was ever involved in a case that the Metro Homicide Unit would investigate.
The alleged threats include this comment from Corbett: “Well, all you day shift (expletive) better quit running your sucks, trust me, there’s some (expletive) coming down shortly.”
After Stilp asked what that meant, Corbett replied: “I’m just telling you that I’m the wrong guy to be (expletive) with.”
Later that month, Stilp gave the report to ABC 57 News and spoke with them about it. Minutes before he did that, he spoke with a South Bend police captain who told Stilp he couldn’t tell him what to say to the news crew but that Stilp could say “no comment,” according to the public safety board’s list of findings.
In an emotional hearing before the board early this month, Stilp said he was never told he couldn’t release the report.
The board found that Stilp’s internal report had “sensitive information” that only the police chief or a designated representative could release to the public, per the police department’s policies.
Specifically, the report documented friction between an officer and the homicide unit commander, and it referred to ongoing issues in the Boykins demotion.
The board also found that the state’s “Whistleblower Statute” doesn’t apply in this case because the report didn’t assert federal or state violations or ordinances about “political subdivision” or the misuse of public resources.