NORWALK, Conn. A simple mistake is to blame for giving the impression of a possible Norwalk Police cover-up this week, according to Chief Harry Rilling.
Detective Shannon Sherry was arrested early Sunday, but his name did not appear on the arrest log that is available to the public and to reporters. Rilling said the officer who filled out the summons for Sherry began his shift before midnight and then put the wrong date on the form.
Rilling confirmed the details as presented in published reports: Sherry's wife told officers that she kicked him because she was afraid of him, because of his aggressive behavior during an argument about his level of intoxication. In return, Sherry grabbed her by her hair and dragged her around the house. She called police at 2:18 a.m.
Sherry was charged with disorderly conduct. Although the incident happened Dec. 11, the summons was dated Dec. 10. It therefore hadn't been on the Dec. 10 log the previous day. "Because this happened with a police officer, it probably seems to be as if we were trying to cover something up, but we weren't," Rilling said. "It probably happens more frequently than we realize."
Reporters occasionally hear of an arrest that isn't on the log they have been provided. When that happens, community policing officers who conduct the morning briefings do not have an explanation.
"I agree it looks bad, but there was nothing devious or an attempt to cover it up," Rilling said. "We certainly would know that it's going to end up in the courts anyway."
Sherry, 36, is a seven-year veteran of the force. He was arraigned Monday morning. His court file contains no information about his behavior.
Rilling said Sherry's court file is sealed because of an internal investigation, and he doesn't want officers who may be questioned to read the reports, which may influence their memory of events.
Norwalk police routinely "lock" files. This often happens in the case of child abuse or narcotics activity.
Rilling said he was "very, very concerned" that Sherry's name was not on the report and referred to the 2008 scandals involving Sgt. Stephen Couture and Lt. Michael King. Couture allegedly informed Lt. Tom Cummings that he was a suspect in a sexual allegation involving a 15-year-old boy. King allegedly downloaded pornography onto a department computer.
"I could have covered that up very easily because I was the only one who knew about it," Rilling said. "There was no way I was going to allow that to be covered up. We brought that out, and it was a very embarrassing time."
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