Following up on Hlavac

Man, am I in trouble.  In between the festivities, I spent time on the phone and email trying to verify the KDKA report on Hlavac on which I reported yesterday.  No other media outlet picked up the story which has led a few folks to ask me if I accurately reported on the KDKA story.

I spent some time chatting with the KDKA and PG newsdesks.  KDKA told me that they stand behind the story and I was careful to reiterate the information presented: Hlavac received letter terminating his employment with the City and his lawyer did say on camera that they would fight for reinstatement.  I did learn that it was Marty G who interviewed the attorney, not Andy Sheehan. To be fair, if I got that fact wrong I could certainly have made mistakes otherwise, but I don't believe I did. 

Howver, the Post-Gazette told me that this information is wrong and that KDKA's producer had a different take on the interview, stating that Hlavac received notification that he will face an internal hearing on Monday with the decision on his future with the City determined pending the results of that hearing.

FWIW, I did ask KDKA about the story not being posted on the web and
they informed it was too short at 20 seconds.  They offered to connect
me to the web department to argue otherwise, but I declined when it
dawned on me that I was sitting in the car allegedly picking up the
pies while a piping hot holiday meal waited for me at my
sister-in-law's house.

So there you have it. LOL.  OK, so all you still have are my reports on a story aired on KDKA and conversations afterwards.  There's no official confirmation from the City that Hlavac has been fired.  Realistically, the City was closed after the KDKA segment so when it reopens on Monday and the hearing takes place, the entire issue could be moot. 

I reviewed yesterday's post and most of it is based on the story which did run in the Post-Gazette.  The primary concerns about the FOP attitude toward domestic violence presents the bigger threat to women in the community than what I perceived to be the media's inattention to what seemed breaking news (with the exception of KDKA). That was more of a swipe at the MSM. 

Here are the pieces relevant to the coverage:

Now, last night on KDKA, Ken Rice reported that Hlavac has been
fired.  One of the investigative reporters interviewed Hlavac's
attorney who claimed he would fight for reinstatement along with
custody of his son.  Yet, this morning that story is not the KDKA
website.  Nor is reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or the Tribune
Review.  In fact, the PG has a story by Jerome Sherman that is now out
of date because of this breaking development.  Thus, I have no source
for my claim that he was fired, except for the fact that Ledcat watched
the news with me and I'm betting a few of you did as well. 

This is especially worrisome given the heightened fear Pittsburgh
women rightfully feel about police response to DV calls and the fact
the holiday tensions
can give rise to spikes in DV situations. Would you feel it worth a
call to report battery by your husband when the media has been filled
with stories on the Hlavac situation and the fact that DV shelters are
overwhelmed?  Last night, KDKA also reported
that Womens Center & Shelter turned away 600 women in 2008.  Good
job media.  Focus on the merry of the holiday season and leave the rest
of Pittsburgh to wallow in your obsession with bad news.

At this point, I am a loss as to what is really going on.  I do think KDKA should post the story precisely because the claim it is breaking news in a significant story, however I just wasn't up to missing more time with the family to make the case.  If they reported erroneously, they certainly should retract the story which I would then address.  Either way, my ability to prove to anyone that I saw the story and interpreted it correctly is just not possible.  🙁 

I honestly think that blogging about KDKA's story was an appropriate thing to do.  People tweet all the time about things airing live on the air; we also retweet stories from various news sources. We invest trust in MSM all the time. I live tweeted about on the air coverage and then followed up with a post that was clear that the story wasn't available for any of you to verify.  I wasn't basing my post on a rumor, but on a story aired for thousands of viewers along with the article published in the PG. 

So I may owe an apology to Pittsburgh's mainstream media for not covering a story that KDKA reported inaccurately. But if KDKA could get it wrong, it is within the realm of possibility that the Post-Gazette got it wrong, too.  I can't know at this point.

I'm sure there will be plenty of coverage of Monday's hearing when things will shake themselves out. 

Here's my conclusing paragraph:

I think it is good news that a violent thug has been fired from a job
where he carried a weapon and authority.  I have no qualms believing
his ex-girlfriend given the man's past as well as his reputation on the
job.  If the police brass and the FOP want us to believe in the
integrity and authenticity of their response to the crime of violence
in domestic situations, they need to weed out the wife beaters and
promote the hard-working, intelligent men and women who uphold the
values of their occupation.

So let me restate for the record:

If the story is accurate, I think it would be good news that a violent thug has been fired from a job where he carries a weapon and authority.  I have no qualms believing
his ex-girlfriend given the man's past as well as his reputation on the
job.  If the police brass and the FOP want us to believe in the
integrity and authenticity of their response to the crime of violence
in domestic situations, they need to weed out the wife beaters and
promote the hard-working, intelligent men and women who uphold the
values of their occupation.

Eugene Hlavac should be stripped of his badge and gun until the court determines if he committed assault.  The FOP and the police administration should have acted swiftly, but they still have an opportunity to hold him accountable and act in the best interests of the public.  Whether they live up to their charge to protect the public and hold this man accountable to the values he is supposed to embody is anybody's guess at this point. 

Meanwhile, we had a lovely holiday with our families who shared a joint celebration.  Everyone went overboard, but I am now the proud owner of pair of Doc Marten boots and a GPS system.  I am excited to accurately find my way to kick something.  I'm contemplating a Blackberry upgrade, but dare I brave the Verizon store today?

Tonight we are going to see Meryl Streep!
UPDATE:  It appears from today's media reports, that Sgt Hlavac was suspended today (12/29) for five days pending termination.  I've watched the KDKA and WTAE reports and I'm still confused.


For 18+ years,  snowflakes, social justice warriors, and the politically correct have built this blog. Follow us on Twitter @Pghlesbian24

We need your ongoing support to maintain this archive and continue the work. Please consider becoming a patron of this blog with a recurring monthly donation or make a one-time donation.

Venmo @PghLesbian  CashApp $PghLesbian



This post and/or others may contain affiliate links. Your purchase through these links support our work. You are under no obligation to make a purchase.

  • Yes. So I reflected on the original piece and wrote this follow up. I also had some internal questions about it.
    Nonetheless, the issue will soon become the FOP's dedication to reinstating him, if he's fired. We bloggers need to learn more about the power of the FOP's bargaining process to reinstate criminals and thugs. While swift decisive action from the top down is important (and did not happen), swift decisive action from union leaders is important, too.
    This is my second recent story involving labor so I think it is something I need to explore more fully in relationship to LGBT issues.

  • Seriously. You folks sound like you've already condemned the man (Sgt. Hlavac). Did anyone really read any of the reports or court transcripts of what actually transpired? I thought not. The woman attacked him. She's somewhat overweight and is bipolar. She knew if she called the police he would be in trouble. There are 2 independent female neighbors who can verify what happened. But, I guess the truth won't really come out because it wouldn't last longer than 20 seconds on air.

  • Well, everyone knows that overweight women with mental illness should never be believed over men. And the best defense when you are attacked by mentally ill overweight women is to slug 'em. It may destroy your career, your family, your child's ability to trust you, but damn … it preserves your manhood. And gains you a slew of anonymous defenders.
    Listen, Anonymous, I don't sound like anything. I do condemn Sgt Hlavac because I believe the accusations. He deserves to be stripped of his police privilege, sent to jail for the assault charge and make his way in the cold, cruel world without hiding behind a badge. He'll survive. There's plenty of room for small bullies in corporate America.
    Fortunately, there's also room for opinionated women (overweight, underweight and so forth) to make people pay attention and most of us are doing it using our real names. I encourage you to have the courage to put your evidence into the public domain with your real name. I guarantee I will give i more than 20 seconds.

  • I remember another cop who used the “she attacked him” defense despite the fact there was videotaped evidence to the contrary
    Anthony Abbate Trial: Cop Charged In Bartender Beating Heads To Court
    Video footage from a tavern security camera shows a man thought to be Abbate punching, kicking and throwing a bartender to the floor. But defense attorney Peter Hickey said it was the bartender, 125-pound Karolina Obrycka, who was the aggressor.
    “She grabbed him and she tossed him around … like a rag doll,” Hickey said. “She grabbed him (and) almost had him on the ground.”

  • Did anyone really read any of the reports or court transcripts of what actually transpired? I thought not. The woman attacked him. She's somewhat overweight and is bipolar.
    By court transcripts, you mean what HIS LAWYER CLAIMED “actually transpired.” Isn't that correct?
    So, we have what his lawyer's defense of him is vs. HER DISLOCATED JAW and the objective assesment of the doctor at the hospital who thought Hlavac's story was total BS.
    On top of that, for the sake of argument, let's say the “somewhat overweight” and “bipolar” (OMG guilty right there!) woman did start a fight and Hlavac was just “defending” himself. Why did he then LIE to a doctor and say she fell? Why did his story change?
    Maria in Pgh

  • Here's my two cents:
    Publicly calling someone bipolar IF they are clinically not is slander. Otherwise, it is, in fact, at least a slur by connotation. While Sue cannot be held legally accountable for a comment on her blog, the poster can, in fact, be, since he/she is talking about a specific person in a public forum. Futher, IF the person IS bipolar, they could pursue action against the poster under HIPAA laws.
    So, bottom line — I would err on the side of caution before using this kind of language. Some people don't have the connections our mayor does to protect their reputation — so it is our responsibility as mindful citizens to do it out of decency.

  • I want to THANK YOU very much for the spotlight you have given the Sgt Hlavac case. I agree that even if Sgt Hlavic had been attacked, as an officer he should be well trained on how to restrain a person without breaking her jaw. It doesn't exactly surprise me but does really sadden me that a police officer's brutal assault is such a low priority in the MSM that it has barely even been mentioned. I really appreciate your taking the time away from your loved ones' holiday celebration to be on the phone with KDKA and the P-G in order to get the facts and so that they will have the sense that people do care about this officer's conduct and are watching carefully for how the FOP will respond to the situation.

  • Fran,
    I think people are quite unaware that there is very little real anonymity on the Internet, aside from highly sophisticated users. At least with regard to legal action, I mean.
    The sad thing about the slur's implication is that police supporters have such an antiquated, uninformed opinion of mental illness. It also implies that the training the City of Pittsburgh Police receive is either inadequate or simply not sinking in. Either way, is the commenter suggesting that dislocating the jaw of someone in a police interaction would be an appropriate reaction if the suspect is known to be mentally ill?
    I'd like to see women who find this situation outrageous show up at Sgt Hlavac's hearing on the assault charge to show her we support her, that we believe her.

  • Barbra,
    That's very kind of you. I wish my efforts on xmas had generated facts, but at least it sent a message to the media that someone is paying attention. To be fair, KDKA did a nice piece on women's shelters. I don't watch WPXI or WTAE (poor signals) to know if they did anything similar.
    You are right — I think the FOP's response is the key at this point. It is outrageous that their highest ranking representative was absolutely dismissive of the charges and showed no concern for public safety in his comments, no nuance at all. I expect that from the attorneys, but Dan O'Hara is sworn to protect the public and that was not evident at all in his response to the situation.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.