An Ohio police officer has been fired, and may yet face criminal charges, after a traffic stop in which he allegedly hassled his daughter’s African American boyfriend for no reason, The Chronicle-Telegram is reporting.
John Kovach Jr., who is white, did not approve of his adult daughter’s relationship with Makai Coleman, who is black. Kovach even said that to his superiors. And on April 16, that dislike came to a head in an incident that would later cost him his job.
According to an internal investigation, Kovach had traced his daughter’s computer to a friend’s home. He then went to that neighborhood and apparently waited for something to happen.
When a vehicle driven by Coleman, with three passengers in the vehicle, passed by in the opposite direction to which Kovach’s cruiser was facing, Kovach turned on his lights and, without alerting dispatch, initiated a traffic stop. He then approached the vehicle and told Coleman to get out because he was “going to jail.” When Coleman asked why he was being detained, Kovach didn’t mince words.
“Have a seat in my car. We’ll make s**t up as we go.”
Coleman was cooperative and did as he was told.
Meanwhile, Gloria Morales, the mother of two of the people who were in the car with Coleman, comes out of a nearby house and starts demanding answers. Kovach says his daughter’s computer is inside the house; when Morales tells Kovach that he can’t come inside without a warrant, he threatens to give Morale’s daughter a $300 ticket for not wearing her seat belt. When Morales threatens to call 911, Kovach threatens to arrest her for misuse of the 911 system.
Kovach then orders Morales’ two children to go into their home. It was then that Kovach noticed that it was his daughter who was the remaining passenger in the car. The two then get into a verbal altercation, with the young woman insisting that he can’t detain her without cause because she’s an adult. Kovach continues to try to shove the young lady into the car.
You can watch the video of the incident below, but be warned: it contains strong language.
Calling the incident an “abuse of power,” Kovach’s superior, Safety-Service Director Dan Given deemed that Kovach violated various sections of the department’s standards of conduct and policy and procedures.
“These actions are not acceptable for members of our Police Department and we felt it warranted immediate dismissal.”
Kovach’s union has appealed the firing.