Janesville25.5°

Town of Beloit investigates racial slurs

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ANN MARIE AMES
February 10, 2009
— Racial slurs sparked a recent union vote of no confidence in the town of Beloit police chief and a "tense" atmosphere in the department, according to a Jan. 2 report.

But Town Administrator Bob Museus said complaints the police union filed against Police Chief John Wilson are politically motivated.


"The union is taking a shot at John," Museus said this morning.


The report was written by Milwaukee attorney Alan Levy, who was hired by the town to investigate a complaint filed against Wilson on Dec. 12 by Teamsters Union Local 695, which represents the police officers and clerks.


According to the complaint, Wilson used racial slurs in the police department in front of employees. He also used a racist term on the phone with a local towing company, the complaint states.


The racial comments took place in 2006 and 2008, and eight specific instances were cited, according to the report.


Wilson admitted to using some of the language mentioned in the union complaint, but he did not agree with each allegation, according to the report.


The Janesville Gazette obtained copies of the complaint and the investigation results through Wisconsinís Open Records Law.


The complaint surfaced while the town is negotiating police contracts, and some union members are using the issue for political gain, Museus said.


The town will not "surrender" management rights to the union, he said.


Wilson is "quite contrite" and has apologized to the town board and to Museus, Museus said. Wilson has been reprimanded in writing and required to take a counseling or sensitivity program, according to the report.


The actions probably were stricter than they would have been if a similar complaint had been filed against an officer, Museus said.


The Gazette was unable to reach a union representative or Wilson for comment this morning.


Wilson has worked for the town of Beloit since 2003. He retired as the Bollingbrook, Ill., police chief in 1997.



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