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Cops union: Bolger apology not enough

Cunningham aide should resign, TPOA head says

Saying that a statement by Ward 2 Chief of Staff Katie Bolger isn't enough, the president of Tucson's police union again called Wednesday for the aide to City Councilman Paul Cunningham to step down.

Bolger issued a written statement Tuesday, saying she's "extremely regretful" for March 22 incident in which she drunkenly yelled at police after almost being hit by a bomb-squad pickup while jaywalking.

"We are glad she is acknowledging her personal responsibility for that incident. From that point of view, we accept the apology," said the head of the Tucson Police Officer's Association, TPD Officer Bill Bonanno.

"Where the apology misses the mark is that she fails to acknowledge the most disturbing action of that evening," Bonanno posted on Facebook. "Ms. Bolger repeatedly attempted to use her position to garner special treatment."

TPOA first called for Bolger to resign or be fired last week.

Bolger "repeatedly threatened the officers on scene because of her current position" and "made an enormous spectacle," a statement on the TPOA Facebook page said.

Tuesday, Bolger said in a written statement that she's "extremely regretful" and offered apologies to the police. She said she called TPD Chief Roberto Villaseñor two days after the incident to apologize for her "rude, inexcusable, unprofessional conduct."

Bolger has declined to be interviewed about the incident.

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Cunningham has said he won't fire his office head, at first limiting his comments to saying the situation was being "handled internally"

"I believe in second chances," Cunningham said last Friday.

"I acknowledge that Katie used poor judgment and was unprofessional. We are taking steps to address this issue appropriately. Obviously, if these steps can’t be taken, we will have to make some changes," he wrote.

In a weekly newsletter to constituents, Cunningham wrote about the situation:

"I know how 'handling things internally' sounds, but I don’t wish to make how I handle personnel issues within my office a public matter. She’s still a city employee (as well as a friend) and deserves privacy."

'Do you know who I am?'

Bolger, 44, was crossing Speedway just after 9 p.m. on Friday, March 22, when she was nearly hit by a TPD officer driving an unmarked bomb squad pickup, the officer reported.

She ignored the officer's commands to sit on the sidewalk, walking away and yelling expletives.

"The woman continued to curse and began to yell that she worked for Tucson City Councilman Paul Cunningham and told us we were in trouble," Officer Charles Pickard reported.

Pickard and the other responding officers reported that Bolger told them to contact Cunningham and the police chief.

"You might want to call (TPD Chief Roberto) Villaseñor just for the fuck of it," Bolger allegedly said.

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"Do you know who I am? I am Council Member Cunningham's chief of staff," one officer reported her saying.

"Undo my fucking handcuffs ... this is really not good for you that I am in handcuffs," Bolger reportedly said.

Bolger refused to sign a jaywalking ticket, officers wrote.

"No, take me to jail. I want to make a point," she said, according to a police report.

Bolger was booked into the Pima County Jail that night, and released the next day.

The 18-page police report on the March 22 incident was widely distributed by a pseudonymous emailer the week afterward. Copies, with various areas highlighted, were sent to mayor and entire City Council, high-level city administrators and multiple news organizations. No replies were made to emailed requests for comment sent to the originating address by TucsonSentinel.com.

This week, Bonanno reiterated his call for Bolger to resign because of what he contends was an "attempt to utilize her position for her own personal gain."

"That action, in and of itself, is detrimental to her ability to continue to effectively function in that position. We still believe the best move for Councilman Cunningham's office, and the City, is for her to resign her position," he said.

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