A Michigan State trooper who fled the scene following a vehicle accident he caused and then tried to cover it up by reporting a false crime has been disciplined, according to Michigan State Police. But just how is a mystery.
Last summer, trooper Kevin Klomparens accidentally backed into a vehicle at a popular Southfield lunch spot, causing a few hundred dollars worth of damage.
He didn’t report the accident and quickly fled the scene. When he later learned that the crime had been witnessed, Klomparens tried to cover it up by reporting that he was the victim of a hit and run on his police radio.
Klomparens eventually admitted to causing the accident and making up the crime he reported. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office elected not to charge the trooper with anything. Earlier this month, MSP told 7 Action News that they had disciplined Klomparens, who is still on the force.
But according to MSP spokeswoman Shanon Banner, the state is “prohibited from releasing the details of discipline” that is “part of an employee’s personnel file.”
Media law experts disagree.
“The act does not prohibit an employer from giving this information,” said Robin Luce-Herrmann, a media law attorney who disagrees with MSP’s citing of the law.
Luce-Herrmann says how the trooper was disciplined is public information. The only requirement is that Klomparens' employer needs to notify him in writing that the discipline is being shared prior to sharing it with a requestor.
The state’s stonewalling goes against its own recent practice of releasing disciplinary information.
Just a few weeks ago, MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey-Etue was docked 5 days pay for a controversial Facebook post. That discipline was announced in a press release by the governor.
“The public right to understand what happens with police officers who disobey rules or somehow commit an infraction, I think that outweighs any individual right that the officer may assert with respect to their privacy,” Luce-Herrmann said.
WXYZ has now been forced to seek the information through a public records request, which can delay the release of the discipline until December if it is released at all.
Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (248) 827-9466.