Sheriff’s candidate clarifies discipline issue
Sheriff’s Capt. Dan Coverley said Wednesday he received a one-day suspension as a result of a 2001 incident in which he was videotaped grabbing a man by the neck.
He said the county settled a 2002 lawsuit filed on the man’s behalf.
“To clear up any confusion: For the incident in 2001, I was disciplined and suspended for one day for using an improper lifting technique,” he said. “The incident was investigated for excessive use of force and I was cleared.”
Sheriff’s candidates were asked if they had ever been subjected to discipline as the result of an incident on the job.
The sheriff’s office conducted an investigation and Coverley was found “to have acted unprofessionally with respect to his use of bad language and for failing to follow the proper use of force protocol,” according to court documents.
“I think anyone that has worked over two decades in law enforcement has gotten in trouble, have done things they’ve been disciplined for, and have made mistakes, and I’m certainly not exempt from that,” Coverley answered.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Coverley said he felt he didn’t get an opportunity to fully answer the question.
“The moderator said that we would get back to the subject and I took him on his word that I would have time to finish my response,” he said. “He never got back to the subject and I wasn’t able to fully explain the situation.”
Coverley said the case was reviewed by a federal judge and that his personnel file has been closely examined when he was accepted to the FBI National Academy.
“The case was reviewed by a federal judge who said that he had been involved in excessive use of force cases and this was not that,” Coverley said.
According to federal court documents, the lawsuit stemmed from an April 10, 2001, incident where Coverley and another deputy responded to a hit and run collision.
“I chased him through the Ranchos, where he drove up onto sidewalks, putting myself, and any citizens, in danger,” Coverley said at the Good Government Group forum. “He crashed into a car and my partner had caught up to me at that time. We had to break the window to get him out, cut the seatbelt, and handcuff him and arrested him. A homeowner videoed the incident.”
In 2002, after the man had been released, the sheriff’s office received a letter from his attorney citing the video, which appeared on national television.
“The lawsuit was dealt with both internally and externally in the department, and I was cleared of any wrongdoing of excessive force and the county settled the suit,” he said at the forum. “I was doing my job, doing the best I can.” Coverley is seeking to replace retiring Sheriff Ron Pierini. He is facing Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Duffy, former county commissioner Dave Brady and retired Marine Dean Paris.
Sheriff is a nonpartisan race and the top-two vote-getters in the June 12 primary will go to the general election in November.