Shortly after the 2012 election, Manchester Police Chief David Mara and now-Deputy Chief Nick Willard met with Ward 3 Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur at Theo’s, the Elm Street restaurant Levasseur owns. The chief was concerned that Levasseur had received confidential personnel information about a city police officer from an officer who had been fired, and that Levasseur had disclosed this information on his public access TV show. The chief came to ask Levasseur, as a public official, to exercise more care with confidential personnel information.
An Attorney General’s report released last week contains this detail regarding Levasseur’s response during that meeting: “Levasseur pointed to his bellybutton, and stated that it was his ‘bullybutton’ and when someone pushes his ‘bullybutton’ he goes crazy and would not be intimidated.”
This is the kind of behavior everyone at City Hall has come to expect from Levasseur, who has made numerous allegations that city police have bullied and intimidated him. The most serious charge, made in an email to Chief Mara last year, was that Officer Steven Maloney “placed his hands on me and poked me in the chest” after the Jan. 15, 2013, Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. Mara forwarded this complaint to the AG’s office, which initiated an investigation late last summer.
That investigation led to last week’s 18-page report on Levasseur’s various claims. In addition to finding every single claim unsubstantiated, it shows that Levasseur dodged the AG’s office for four months, repeatedly stalling the interview process and trying to convince the office to drop the investigation. He even prevented the AG’s office from interviewing a witness (one of Levasseur’s legal clients) whom he claimed had been intimidated by city police officers.
Why would someone who repeatedly claimed to have been victimized and intimidated by the city police department try to block an investigation into such claims by the one authority in the state that could put a stop to such abuses?
As the AG’s report makes painfully clear, the alleged campaign of intimidation against him is a figment of Levasseur’s imagination. Making repeated unsubstantiated allegations is bad enough. But the report also shows that Levasseur has used his position as an alderman to belittle, demean and undermine city police officers and officials, including Chief David Mara. He has used his public office to try to get Manchester police officers investigated or disciplined.
These are serious breaches of the public trust. For the good of the city and his constituents, Aldermen Levasseur should resign immediately.