FBI Closes Investigation of Hobart Police Officer
[HOBART, IN] - After investigating a resident's complaint that he has been harassed by Hobart police because of his lifestyle, the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice have concluded no civil rights violations took place.
"We agreed there was no abuse of authority of power and that it was a neighbor dispute at best," said Charles Porucznik, senior supervisory agent in the FBI's Merrillville office. Civil rights cases typically involve a form of brutality or personal injury, and the federal civil rights act does not protect individuals based on their sexual orientation, he said.
Porucznik said he called Hobart Assistant Police Chief Robert Paulson to inform him of the outcome. He also recommended that the matter be addressed internally by the department.
Leslie Fox, a pre-operative transsexual, alleged that since October he has been repeatedly threatened, followed, mocked and harassed by a police officer, who also is his neighbor. Fox believes the comments are a direct result of his lifestyle. He said he's contacted police dozens of times and has filed two complaints against the officer. He also alleged that the police department was no longer returning his calls or responding to his 911 calls.
"Something doesn't seem right here," Fox said. "I'm not safe. This is not just a civil dispute. I don't think its over. It's long from over."
Fox said he plans to file a stalking complaint against the officer this week.
Paulson said he's talked to Fox several times and to the officer, allegedly harassing Fox.
"Every time I talked to him, I thought that would be the end of it, but (Leslie) was not satisfied," Paulson said.
Paulson said the department has always responded to Fox, except during the FBI investigation. Paulson said contact during the course of an FBI investigation would be improper.
"We never ignored him and we've called him back," he said. "I've tried to resolve this matter and it just hasn't been resolved."
Since Fox met with the FBI at the beginning of June, he said the harassment has continued. Fox's neighbor also alleges problems created by Fox.
The officer's wife, who is also Fox's neighbor, filed a stalking complaint against him on June 6, which is after the date Fox contacted the FBI with his harassment allegations.
Fox said Friday he was unaware of the complaint and had yet to be contacted by police about it. He said the claim was ridiculous.
"This is my residence," Fox said. "I sit outside all the time. I'm not following her. What am I allowed to do?"
The officer and his wife are not being named because charges have not been filed in the case.
Fox said he's convinced the harassment will continue, not only from his neighbor, but also from other police officers. He remembers the last major encounter with the officer like it was yesterday and said the memory still haunts him.
"I was sitting outside my residence and he came home from work," Fox said. "He told me he didn't like me outside and wanted me in my apartment. I went to get away from him and he followed me and started pushing me with his body."
Fox later said he told the officer he was going to call 911, but the officer told him the police wouldn't respond to his calls. Fox said it took police more than 30 minutes to respond to his 911 call for help.
"I could have been lying dead in the street, but the officer that responded told me he didn't care," Fox said.
Fox said Friday that he wasn't sure what his next step would be. He said he has contacted the Indiana State Police and the Lake County Sheriff's Department about the case. Both referred the case to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, he said.