UPDATE: A review of the thumb drive video from the Gardner Police Officer who responded to the 8 p.m. Aug. 13 noise complaint call indicates the officer waited about 10 minutes for the homeowner to come outside.
Upon arrival, the video shows the officer had a brief interaction from the end of the driveway with the daughter asking if she lived at the residence and if she was a minor . He then asked to have her parents to come out.
There was not loud music on the video, and no people in the front yard. At about the four minute mark a man came from the back and said he would get the homeowner. At about 5:22, the responding officer looked in the backyard. There were about five people in the pool and no loud voices or music.
The officer walked back and forth from front to back watching for Meder to emerge. Tory Roberts, attendee, saw the officer and inquired if there was a problem, asking if the music was too loud; he responded it was okay, and Roberts said she would go inside and ask Meder to come talk to him.
At almost 10 minutes, Meder emerged with a friend, said she had been changing clothes, said her daughter was upset, he responded he had asked only her age and if she lived there, Meder asked for his card, the officer said he was responding to a noise complaint, the noise was fine now, but if he had to return residents could be cited.
The thumb drive with video of the officer’s body camera was obtained from the Gardner Police Department and was about 10 minutes in length.
Officer refers to partygoers as ‘Whiskey Tango’
What started out as a pool party for a local community group, became a lot more dramatic when a neighbor called to complain about loud music about 8 p.m. Friday night. On Facebook, the neighbor, a Gardner Police officer, referred to the women as “whiskey tango,” loud and profane and threatened to “CFG” them all over the driveway.
The event was an American Legion Auxiliary get together in St. John’s Trace. The ladies who attended ranged in age from 43 – 70, and the group had dispersed by 10:30 p.m.
There were two officers involved, the one who responded to the call, and the neighbor who made the Facebook post, posting the only reason he had not had a disturbance with them was due to his job.
The city declined comment regarding the issue, saying that James Belcher, Gardner police chief, was reviewing the matter to determine if violation of the city’s social media policy had occurred.
According to the policy, employees are solely responsible for their own sites and must “use a disclaimer such as: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the city’s position or opinions.” The policy also cautions not to use ethnic slurs, profanity, personal insults, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the city workplace, including things such as harassment and bullying.
Captain Hayes, neighbor, thru the city’s public information officer, declined comment on the incident.
Meder said she felt threatened by the post, as she lives alone with her daughter.
The Facebook name-calling post was the “icing on the cake,” Meder said. The threat of a “disturbance” with “them” was scary; she said as she lives alone with her daughter, and she said the neighbor often sits and watches her house.
The officer who came to her home was apparently called by Hayes.
“The cop was sitting outside of my house,” said Adrienne Meder, St. John’s Trace resident. “He harassed my daughter when she pulled up to get some things. I am contacting a lawyer.” Her daughter is 16, and Meder said the teenager was shaking and crying and trembling. She thought she was in trouble for not using her blinker.” She was not attending the party.
“A teen girl should never be shaking and crying after talking to police especially when he didn’t say a word about how she was driving,” Meder said.
Tory Roberts, council member and mayoral candidate, said she was at the evebt and noticed an officer standing around.
“I saw the policeman there and after a few minutes some other people had went and talked to him. He was still standing there and nothing happened. I went and talked to him. I asked him what was the problem – he said the music level,” Roberts said. “I asked if the current level that we turned it down to was OK and he said yes. That’s when I introduced myself. He was still upset that Adrianna had not come and
talked to him. I told him I would go make sure she came and talked to him. She was changing out of her swimsuit to be respectful, and she went and talked to him.”
Meder said she had been inside talking to her daughter, who was upset by her interaction with the responding officer.
Meder said the officer grilled her as to why it took so long to come to the door, and she explained she was changing into her clothes.
She said when she asked why the officer was questioning her daughter, “He said he was on the lookout for random minors walking into my house.”
He also said we needed to tone down our voices, and if he came back he would be issuing everyone that lives in the home a citation.
The officer left and went to the neighboring officer’s home, and the officers watched the party.
Meder said it was creepy and at times she feels like she’s being stalked by the neighbor.
It was apparently at this time Officer Jacob Hayes made a post referring to the party as a “whiskey tango fest” riddled with profanity and loud voices. In the one post, he threatened to ”CFG your drunken ass crawling up your driveway.”
“I personally think that the current head of the patrol division should not be calling anybody ‘whiskey tango’ especially somebody on the planning commission and the governing body,” said Roberts. “He should never be using that derogatory term in the position that he holds. Doesn’t matter who he’s referring to.”
A message sent to Hayes for clarification or comment on the incident was responded to by city staff, who said he did not wish to respond.
City staff declined to comment further as it is a personnel issue.