“As a bowler pocketed his $21 refund just after midnight at the Kenmore Lanes in February, he had to contend with an off-duty Kenmore police officer – moonlighting as a security guard – who took issue with the patron’s complaints,” buffalonews.com reports. “Took issue.” Yeah I can just imagine how politely officer Jeffrey R. Mang voiced his objection. Especially as “Angry words were exchanged. The patron’s friend tried to intervene. Then, within seconds, the off-duty officer drew his sidearm and – without any threat of deadly force against him – put the barrel to the head of the would-be mediator, according to the bowlers’ accounts.” Needless to say, when on-duty Kenmore police arrived . . .
the two bowlers were arrested. Not Officer Mang. Why would he be? Still, actions have consequences, don’t they?
But after the bowlers told their story to Kenmore police officials, the moonlighting Kenmore cop didn’t work another day in uniform.
And when the Village Board met June 3, it accepted the resignation of a “village employee,” who officials later confirmed was Jeffrey R. Mang, 30, a nephew of Kenmore’s mayor.
“There was no special treatment,” Kenmore Police Chief Peter J. Breitnauer said of the three-month internal investigation into the incident. “There was no cutting corners.”
An investigation that allowed Kenmore’s mayor’s nephew to walk away without disciplinary action. And, I assume, keep his gun rights. Maybe even LEOSA rights.
Mang’s actions were irresponsible. Whether you’re a sworn police officer or a concealed carry permit holder – rare as hen’s teeth in the Empire State – you don’t put your gun to anyone’s head unless you are facing an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm.
The city’s lackadaisical “investigation” into the incident was also irresponsible. It sends a message to bad cops: we got your back. It also degrades the public’s faith in the people charged with upholding the law and, thus, the law itself. But we’re gonna have to give the IGOTD trophy to Mang. Polishing it should give him something to do while he seeks law enforcement employment elsewhere.
Oh, and for the record, I’m disgusted by all the media outlets who refrain from publishing pictures of cops who’ve stepped over the line. So, just for fun, here’s the News’ account of the night in question, after they filed a Freedom of Information request.
The bowlers who clashed with Mang said he argued with them not as a police officer but as an employee of Kenmore Lanes upset that the bowlers had demanded a refund.
The two were local college students out with four other friends. Their enjoyment soured as the bowlers in the next lane became more obnoxious as the night progressed, according to one of the bowlers, who ended up in the dispute with Mang. He and his friend spoke to The News on the condition that they not be identified because of the possibility it could hinder their job searches.
Both men were reluctant to discuss the episode and expressed a desire to put it behind them. Although Mang’s actions seemed to qualify as “menacing” under New York’s Penal Law, the two bowlers chose not to press criminal charges.
One of the bowlers went to the desk to inquire about a refund, and their group of six was given back the $21 spent for their third and final game. That’s when Mang approached him to ask why the bowler had not complained sooner.
Mang told the bowler he should fight the group from the next lane, who were by then apparently outside waiting to confront them in the parking lot, according to the bowler, who is 23 and was attending SUNY Buffalo State at the time.
He and the security guard – the bowler says he did not know Mang also was a cop – started to argue. He said he told Mang that had Mang been doing his job of providing security, the night would have gone differently.
“That made him upset. That’s when he grabbed me by my neck and the whole thing began,” the 23-year-old bowler said.
His friend, 27, saw the argument escalate. He said he stepped between the two and told the security guard to get his hands off his friend.
“At that point was when the gun was put to my head,” the 27-year-old said.
“I’ll (expletive) kill you,” Mang screamed, according to the 27-year-old. “I’ll blow you away.”
“I was scared for my life,” the bowler said later.
Mang shoved the 27-year-old’s head on the desk counter and handcuffed him, the bowler said.
On-duty police were called, and the police report describes a chaotic scene at that point.
“There was a lot of people upset and trying to explain what happened,” an officer wrote in the report, which The News obtained under New York’s Freedom of Information Law.
Mang reported that the 27-year-old had spit in his face. The 27-year-old said he did not remember doing so. But he was cited with harassment and disorderly conduct, both violations under New York law.
The 23-year-old was also cited with disorderly conduct. All the violations were later adjourned in contemplation of dismissal in village court.
The report made no mention of Mang’s decision to pull his weapon. The two bowlers complained about it later at Police Headquarters and the next morning when the 27-year-old said he filed a formal complaint.