Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fountain Hill Cop's Mantra: Fighting Solves Everything



His name is Liu Fang. He's from China, and was visiting the Lehigh Valley over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Deeply religious, he wanted to spread the Word. But the place he chose to talk about Jesus, Jelly Beans Southside Jam in Allentown, was less than ideal. Patrons complained about Fang's born-again fervor, and bouncer Grady Cunningham went to work. Fang was beaten to within an inch of his life and left in a puddle of blood. Praise be Jee-bus! Fang went on to get a $1 million judgment (2007-C-2459) he's never been able to collect. Cunningham went on to become a Fountain Hill police officer who was recently exposed on videotape, roughing up a handcuffed and shoeless petty criminal. Though he was fired by an unanimous Borough Council, a recent arbitrator's award says there's nothing to see here. Move along. Give this man his job back. Doesn't the FOP rock?

Despite a major civil judgment for brutality, Cunningham also works part-time in other police departments. Maybe they like the tattoo emblazoned on his forearm, saying "Fighting Solves Everything." Just the thing you'd want to see in a man sworn to serve and to protect.

Grady Cunningham thanks FOP for their support
Maybe that's why they overlooked his checkered history in both Lehigh and Northampton County before hiring him as a Fountain Hill police officer in 2010.

In Northampton County, magistrate dockets reveal that, in 1993, harassment and terroristic threats against Cunningham were sent on to County Court. Also in 1993, bad checks, forgery, receiving stolen property and unlawful use of computer charges were sent to court. But what happened on the County level is unknown. Poof! No record. It could be that he was admitted into ARD, a special program for first offenders, after which the charges are dismissed and sometimes expunged.

He still owes Northampton County $354.50 in costs for an old (1991) disorderly conduct conviction. The matter was referred to a collection agency, but he blew them off.

In Lehigh County Cunningham was charged with terroristic threats, harassment, disorderly conduct in 2003. Charges were downgraded to two counts of harassment and he was placed on six months probation and fined $600. He was later brought back to court on contempt charges for ignoring his costs, like he did in Northampton County, and he coughed up the dough rather than go to jail.

Lehigh County has always been better than Northampton County that way.

In addition to the criminal charges against a cop who believes that fighting solves everything, he has a history of domestic violence. In Lehigh County, Protection From Abuse Act (PFA) contempt charges were filed against Cunningham in 2003. That same year, a PFA was sought and obtained against him in Northampton County. Those PFA charges were eventually dropped by his battered girlfriend after a custody order was entered, assuring that his visitation with his son would be supervised.

Civil records also reveal that someone named "Grady Cunningham" is a bit of a deadbeat. I can't be sure this is the same Grady Cunningham who was born in 1971 and worked as a police officer in Fountain Hill, but let me list the details with the caveat that this could be someone else:
1995: $1,567.50 judgment (back rent)
1996: $4,910.22 judgment (back rent)
2004: $1700 judgment by People First FCU
2008: $3,561.20 judgment (back rent)
2008: $1,856.20 judgment (back rent)
2013:  In February, a $11,997.60 judgment (back rent)
.
Grady Cunningham should not be working as a police officer. Anywhere.

Guys like me give lawyers a bad name. I lost my license to practice in 1985 for unethical conduct as a result of my drinking, but believe me, that was only the tip of the iceberg. There was more. So much more. My dad spent a lifetime building up a good name, and I tore it down in seconds. I probably knocked a few years off the lives of both my parents. But I am the exception, not the rule. Most lawyers are, contrary to popular opinion, honest to a fault. They are members of a profession. Just as I was a bad lawyer who had to be taken down a notch, Grady Cunningham is a bad cop who deserves no rewards or breaks for roughing up a criminal suspect.

Like lawyers, most police officers are dedicated professionals whose ultimate goal is to help people. Take Fountain Hill Police Chief Ed Bachert, for example. Before being named Chief in 2011, he devoted a career to Allentown. With a Master's Degree in Public Administration, he basically ran day-to-day operations in during Mayor Afflerbach's Administration as an Allentown police officer. His was a voice of reason. He's a good cop, as are most police officers.

"We have to police ourselves and do the right thing if we want the trust of our community," Bachert told The Morning Call when Cunningham was terminated.

All too often, that wisdom is ignored by public sector union arbitrators. I expect to have the arbitration ruling soon, and when I get it, I'll share it with you.

55 comments:

Dixie rebel said...

A true American. I want him on my side against the chinks , Ricans, black and all the other a holes that plaque our society GOD bless you sir

Anonymous said...

You really have to ask how do some of these guys become police officers? Sorry Bernie but there are far to many of this type of guys in far to many police forces.

Anonymous said...

you print accusations that you do not know are true. you are the scum bucket here.

Anonymous said...

This cop is not an exception. There are many more like him carrying guns and badges.

Anonymous said...

Someone perhaps a family member wrote about Officer Cunningham being compassionate, but it is difficult to imagine that to be the case as he would not allow a returning veteran to even have 24 hours to produce the documents she needed.

Anonymous said...

This story is horrible Bernie. What is Fountain Hill thinking to hire such a person?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you are a racist.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get off blaming the FOP? The decision is that of a judge or arbitrator, NOT the FOP!! I guess we should blame a lawyer who represents a man convicted of murder as being an accomplice than too??? I don't know this Officer personally but messing with a suspect in cuffs is definitely improper to say the least. The only comment you post here with any truth , is that Chief Bachert is a good officer and fine leader. As a former atty I would think you would present more facts and less of a personal opinion! I would also advise you to try being a cop for a day and then resubmit this article. Hiding in a suit and tie for yrs as a attorney would make me start drinking too!

Anonymous said...

Bernie you have the correct Grady Cunningham...this man should not wear a badge

Anonymous said...

Did the FOP pay for his legal defense if so they condone his behavior. I was in Law Enforcement and retired from it...and please don't tell me about the FOP

Anonymous said...

When businesses hire they usually conduct a background check on prospective workers but it appears Fountain Hill did not. How could they have hired this man? It makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful

Anonymous said...

CYA guys. Close ranks and F the public. Dirty fuzz are the worst and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Bernie? A racist? I think not and that was the response I knew would come flying at him on this one. Shame on them for taking this creep back..no guts..no glory Fountain Hill sheep. Grow a pair and can him!

Bernie O'Hare said...

They did, but an arbitrator ruled he should get his job back. Don't know if an appeal is planned.

Anonymous said...

Can him anyway and fight it. Nothing says they must do what is not in the best interests of the public. Suck it up and fight for what's right. Don't cave to a lousy arbitration situation.

Anonymous said...

Appeal is right!

Anonymous said...

The guy is a walking liability case. What will he do next? Use his piece? Then what? CAN HIM AGAIN and keep doing it until he gives up. Got to protect the public from this menace.

Anonymous said...

Make the FOP spend their money defending this jerk..make it hurt.

Anonymous said...

I still Feel this Officer should not be a COP... GREAT since I live in FT-Hill Seeing this COP Drive around in a Police Car like nothing happened is a slap in the face to us FT- Hill Residents I commend the BRO of FT-Hill of trying to BOUNCE this guy off the FORCE & the CHIEF But some YO-YO-YO union kiss ass Said he can have his job back I say BULL SHIT.. I know all my fellow neighbors in my BLOCK are PISSED he back 1 of my neighbors went to HQ & spoke to the chief & told him to keep GRADY on DESK duty ONLY... & another neighbor call the CHIEF up on the phone the Chief said he understands everyone is upset over this & he does not blame us & if it was up to the Chief & Mayor GRADY would still be FIRED but FT-Hill agreed to go in front of the FOP panel thus once the decision is handed out it's a FINAL ONE.. I Spoke to a counsel member on Friday & said is FT-Hill appealing the decision of the FOP the Counsel member said FT-Hill can't in this case cause FT-Hill agreed to go in front of the FOP PANEL...This is going to SUCK FOR ALOT of FT-Hill people... Well like my Neighbor said HE WILL MESS-UP AGAIN...& I hope FT-Hill keeps this fresh in there minds when this officer screws up again..

Anonymous said...

They did what? Did they give up their right to appeal..is that what your saying? If so..your council people are nuts. Why would they paint themselves into a corner on this guy? Screwy.

Anonymous said...

Tough guy indeed. No balls. The guys not man enough to pay his bills. Bet he also skipped on credit card bills. As MLK said, one shouldn't be judge on the color of ones skin but on the content of ones character. Even the president of the US would be ashamed of him.

Anonymous said...

The F.O.P.(Forever Overlooking Problems) this organization was designed to protect these losers!!! This idiot will seriously hurt or kill an innocent person some day and they will blame on the stress of the job.... Bethlehem PD same way they have more bad cops than good ones but the problems get covered up if You only knew half the things that go that are covered up You would be disgusted and now I see Craig Finerty is Bethlehems new chief ...What travisty of justice He is one of the good old boys......hopeully Donches sees thru that one and he will be gone.......

Anonymous said...

FH council has a lot to answer for on this. They must be held accountable to the public..not an arbiter! If this was a binding agreement..then shame on them for not having the guts to do the right thing in the first place. No guts to do it and stand by your decision no matter what. More info needed here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

BoroCouncil voted unanimously to fire the guy. He grieved it, and under a union contract, has an award stating he is entitled to get his job back. This decision can be appealed. the standard is high, but it can be done, and i suspect it will be appealed.

Anonymous said...

If FT-Hill were smart(and obviousl they are not) thy should keep Barney Fife inside for his own protection......JUST SAYING

Anonymous said...

I would hope so. I also agree he should be sat down until that appeal takes place. He should not be on the streets. Have some courage FH.

Anonymous said...

At least they did not agree to binding arbitration.

Anonymous said...

Has the arbiters decision been made public? Can the public see the reasoning for that decision or is it sealed?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have a RTK outstanding.

Anonymous said...

Very good..

Anonymous said...

Great Bernie, I am very curious to see who the arbitrator was in this case.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Who the hell hired this man to be a police officer?

Anonymous said...

Who hired him is not important at the moment as blame is a dead end street. Deal with this creep here and now for all time. Break the chain and can him again asap. until that day comes..tie him to a desk.

Anonymous said...

For purposes of clarification on the racial discussion. The President is a White-African-American. George Zimmerman is a White-Hispanic. It's time to focus on what separates us.

Sincerely,
The New York Times

Anonymous said...

This guy should never have passed a background check, blame or not, he should never have been hired...someone in the Fountain Hill Police Department dropped the ball when doing his background check....i went on line and in two minutes found out what type of background he has.

Anonymous said...

I guess FH can kiss off getting liability insurance.

With guys like this on the force any lawyer will get civil rights liability cases on future police mess ups.

The FOP sent it to arbitration, so they have some responsibility regardless of the contract.

Anonymous said...

I think the arbitrator is public record...they should be able to tell you who it is

Bernie O'Hare said...

I checked the law and am sure I will get at least the ruling, although I would like the underlying opinion.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people commenting and casting stones on the opinions of a disbarred lawyer??!! Really??

Anonymous said...

Casting Stones???....Did you see the video....you must joking so you attack the messenger....are you an FOP member?

dee bicking said...

Ok first of all why is everyone with a comment anonymous if they have the balls to bad mouth this police officer then they should have the balls to use their name. In my observation of officer cunningham on the job he was professional and polite and yes the police call was on me the call was a disagreement between myself and another fountain hill officer. Officer cunningham responded to the call and resolved our disagreement. Another time i had the pleasure of dealing with officer cunningham was when my mother was sick and had to be taken to the hospital and again i had the same experience with him as the first he was polite and professional. Yes I've had dealings with most all of fountain hill officers. And the chief in my opinion they are all a fine group of police. Does anyone stop to think maybe it's the person and not the officer. I mean really folks was this so called abuse inflicted on a law abiding person. Well i guess we should all have extensive back round checks and lets see how many of us in our 20s were outsdanding citizens. Being found guilty of something does not make you guilty it just means some person behind a bench said so and we all know judges are always right. NOT. Kudos to you officer Cunningham I'm glad you are back. And before you ask no I'm not related or a friend of this officer I'm just a citizen who had dealings with him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dee, your comment is welcome. From what I've seen he's a bad cop.

Anonymous said...

Well Ms Bicking, do you think it is appropriate to throw a handcuffed man to the ground by his neck? If you condone this behavior it says alot about you...I too have had dealings with Officer Cunningham and he is anything but professional, I too live in this borough and will not use my name because I then become a target for this rogue cop.....

Anonymous said...

Hey FOP you guys done good...got him off...ya gonna be there the next time too? I hope you guys enjoyed the pizza.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the fact that if it were a black perp and white cop there would be squalkin by the Easton naacp.

Anonymous said...

Its just another one of Orclownski's desperate attempts to grab some cash from the public dole. Hes the worst lawyer in the LV valley who takes cases with no merit, and loses them all.

Dumb guy who hired him. Another loser for orclownski

Bernie O'Hare said...

The 8:22 comment comes from Tricia Mezzacappa, but I suspect most of you figured that out.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but where in this video does it show him being a bad cop..... I must have missed that. What I saw was a suspect in custody being given an order that he did not comply with. He began to pull away and was taken to the ground. Basically the same thing the FOP saw. What no one has mentioned here is that the suspect was yelling out very derogatory names to Grady. Lets be real here

Bernie O'Hare said...

OKK. Let's be real. The guy was handcuffed, with the cuffs behind his back. He was barefoot. He may have been calling Cunningham names, and I'll bet a drunk calls lots of people names. That is no justification for going after him from behind, putting him in a choke hold, spinning him around, and throwing him to the floor, head first. I believe that the only reason Cunningham was not charged wit assault is bc McLaughlin was unwilling to cooperate.

Now as bad as that is, Cunningham made matters worse by lying about the incident. If he lies about that, can he be believed about anything? Police officers are professional witnesses.

So I disagree with you on this one.

Anonymous said...

Punk-asshole-bully cop.
Gives dedicated officers a bad name.

Anonymous said...

@9:07
Anything you won't condone you worthless piece of shit?

Anonymous said...

I am a career police officer and there is absolutely no reason to throw the suspect to the ground as was done in this incident. The arbitrator got it wrong period. I would love to hear the FOP's position on this, but you will hear how he deserved representation and the arbitrator has spoken. The FOP must condone this activity by its members. I am sure the FOP leadership is smiling ear to ear with the outcome here, because they just stuck their collective finger in the eye of the evil local government. Take that Fountain Hill, right guys? Yep you really showed them.

Anonymous said...

So our society has been turned over to the criminals to rule. Why bother to have rules if they are not followed by the ones who are to enforce them? Give a badge to any individual and a weapon no less and their ego swells up more then a sponge in the ocean! Do they seriously think that anyone will take the police force seriously now? We are better off taking care of business ourselves and just look at the low life that our children have to look up to. I certainly have no respect for this person. What do we have to look forward to next, this person going to schools and telling children lies?

Anonymous said...

This speaks volumes for a professionally trained county police force. Towns and townships have no clue as to how to properly vet staff and train police and weed out the crap from the good. Local cops are a poor excuse for well trained and highly supervised police force. You get what you pay for and usually the local governments just can't afford quality people. Time for change. County forces exist all across this country and work well. Shared resources work. Stop thinking small and think larger.

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