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Promotion questioned

Promoted cop also has pending CPRB complaint

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One of the three police officers promoted in recent weeks despite being investigated in the past for domestic violence, also has an open complaint pending against him with the Citizen Police Review Board.

As first reported in City Paper last April, Eugene Hlavac, then a beat officer stationed at Zone 3 in East Liberty, was accused in March 2006 of yelling and yanking cyclists off their bikes during a mass outing. Hlavac, recently promoted to sergeant in Zone 1 on the North Side, cited three cyclists and one passer-by for disorderly conduct, allegedly for blocking the streets. The cyclists, all members of the urban-cycling group Critical Mass, lodged a complaint against Hlavac for his behavior in turn.

Hlavac's choice of whom to cite was "totally random" one witness told CP at the time. "It could've been anyone."

"I'm a little disappointed that someone with that kind of record would get a promotion, especially when there is an open complaint against him," Nathan Brubaker, one of the cyclists, says today. "They should at least wait until the review board has made its decision before they promote him."

"Would it have been better if [his promotion] had been suspended until such time those issues have been resolved?" asks review board executive director Beth Pittinger. "Absolutely. But right now there is no process in place to allow that to happen."

Pittinger met with police Chief Nate Harper June 25 to discuss how to avoid repeating the flap. "We've established a much more effective line of communication" with the police department, she adds.

In addition to the complaint from the cyclists, Hlavac has been involved a domestic dispute with his girl friend that resulted in a police call. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

The other two officers who were promoted are Charles Rodriguez, who is being investigated for a simple assault against his daughter, and George Trosky, who was arrested in 1997 for breaking his then-wife's nose.

All of the three cyclists involved were found guilty last summer by a district magistrate, but the cyclists' group is still waiting to air their grievances before the review board. Pittinger says that she expects the hearing to take place by the end of July.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh City Council will hear more concerns over the promotions at a public hearing slated for 1:30 p.m. Thu., June 28.

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