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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Who's the Real Hero, Bar Bouncer or Cop?

On August 11, 2011, Freemansburg police officer Robert Lasso was killed in the line of duty, while responding to a domestic disturbance. He suffered a shotgun blast to the face.  While a distraught Freemansburg Chief of Police subdued the shooter, a highly decorated Bethlehem police officer was the first to arrive on the scene. He tried to save Lasso's life, repeatedly administering CPR. But he was too late. Lasso succumbed.

Maybe he blames himself for not being fast enough. I don't know the guy. But what I do know is that almost two years later to the day, this Bethlehem police officer was despondent about the Lasso tragedy. He tried to cheer himself up with a concert and the company of other police officers. He medicated himself the best way he knew - with alcohol.

The result was an off-duty drunk driving accident with no injuries. In fact, the accident happened partially because this officer mistakenly thought he saw a pedestrian, and swerved.

That officer is Richard Hoffman, the very person being crucified before Bethlehem City Council. Council never heard the Lasso story. Nor do they know of Hoffman's commendations.

I sat in stunned amazement on Monday night when Karen Dolan told a bar bouncer at Molly's Grille that he was "quite heroic."

I understand that Molly's is an after-Council hangout, but bar bouncers are no heroes. Sorry.

The real heroes are the men and women out there who will aid a battered spouse, assist a stranded motorist, help a lost child or try to save someone's life. The cops. The firefighters. EMTs.  The police officer who consoles a five-year old crying boy whose mother has just been shot by his own father.

When Northampton County DA John Morganelli recently proposed establishing a mental health court, he pointed out the special needs of veterans, who put everything on the line for us. We recognize their sacrifices and the stress they suffer as a result of serving in a hostile environment.

But we seem to have no sympathy for the police officer, who puts his life on the line every time he wears that uniform. He sees all the pain and misery in what can be a very cruel world, and it's no secret that many police officers and other first responders end up suffering from the same post-traumatic stress that we now recognize as a problem in the military.

I spoke to a long-time Bethlehem police officer who is also a veteran yesterday. He told me that, overall, service as a police officer is more stressful than the military. What makes things even worse is that most departments are ill-equipped to deal with officers in distress.

What might help Bethlehem and other police departments is mandatory counseling after stressful events. If they are involved in a homicide, it's bound to effect them. But most cops would rather die than ask for help. They would consider that a sign of weakness. That's why it really should be mandatory.

"This is a human being," Wade Haubert reminded Council on Monday night. Police officers themselves need to be reminded of that from time to time.

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really Bernie? Hoffman is an arrogant liar. What happened to Lasso was horrible but Hoffman can't use that as an excuse for all of his other wrongdoings... Many of which occurred prior to the death of Lasso

I agree that he should not have been terminated for DUI alone though, and he wasn't. He was terminated for a pattern of behavior.

Also, we must take into account how Hoffman's behavior would affect any trials he was involved in as an officer. His past seems like good cross-examination fodder that could have been used to weaken what might otherwise be strong cases pursued by the Commonwealth in the future.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is no way that Hoffman's noncriminal past can be used against the Commonwealth in a prosecution. you do not know what you are talking about.

The claim that Hoffman is an "arrogant liar"must mean, therefore, that he is innocent. he admitted to his previous disciplinary infractions, so I guess that must be a lie.

Finally, the death of Officer lasso is not an excuse, but an example of what police endure on a daily basis. instead of trashing this guy, he should be helped.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Great article. Thanks for sharing that information.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The comment above might be spam. I usually don't get compliments.

Anonymous said...

Boo Hoo. what a crock of shit. Stop the pathetic pandering for one of your drunk buddies O'Hare. The man is a dangerous loose cannon and will be fired before someone gets hurt and the city is really sued.

Real lawyers are confident in the outcome.

Anonymous said...

In fact, the accident happened partially because this officer mistakenly thought he saw a pedestrian, and swerved.

In fact, Hoffman admitted that there was no pedestrian. He was fumbling for his phone.

Your slant might work if he didn't have multiple previous incidents before he was so "despondent" that particular night. Wrapping Hoffman up in a story about real heroes doesn't make him any less an asshole and it certainly doesn't give him an excuse - or mitigating circumstances - for a history of "medicating" himself that goes further back than what you propose.

To mix Hoffman in with real heroes is an insult to them.

Anonymous said...

Take his gun and badge away,ASAP!
His presence on the job diminishes every competent officer and endangers evert taxpayer and citizen.

I wish him no personal ill will.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, this is not one of your finest hours.

Bill said...

Bernie what you are saying about Police Officers and stress is accurate. I don't know this guy, but wonder if he is such a bad apple, why does he continue to do things like tell the truth about his behavior, as exampled by the statement you indicated he made about fumbling with his cell phone during the DUI incident. Police officers do experience significant high stress events and are at risk for things like PTSD and addiction, these are facts.

I don't want officers who do bad things while on duty to remain active, but that is not what I am hearing is occurring here. If as some pointed out the city terminated him following an off duty DUI they could end up with issues for not offering him help.


FAH KIN AH SUM said...

cry me a river. what a crock of shit this is. you are way off base on this bernie

Anonymous said...

Bern-seriously?

The guy's a drunk. He shouldn't be holding a gun. An active alcoholic, with a gun, is a threat to pubic safety.

I should know. I'm a drunk, too.

Anonymous said...

We should reject the irresponsibility of drunks that is enabled by their dry-drunk apologists. Drunks and their apologist enablers have created a 12-step world the responsible are supposed to live in. It's time drunks conform or be punished; not encouraged.

Sincerely,
I stop at two beers

Anonymous said...

The price for excessive drinking should be extremely high. We should offer the carrot of rehabilitation, as well as a really big stick of harsh punishment for irresponsibility under the influence.

Anonymous said...

@5:00
Hoffman originally claimed there was a pedestrian. Only when confronted with the fact no pedestrian was present did he give a new excuse of the cell phone. He is neither honest nor should he be put amongst police officers who deserve praise.
For some unknown reason Ohare has decided to crusade for this wreck to keep his job. Bernie loses a lot of cred points with this windmill joust.

Anonymous said...

Seriously.... Cops shouldn't drink & drive anymore than you or I. & how the other cops kept saying he didn't seem drunk. Of course he didn't seem drunk ----- they were drinking too. Officer Sue,Palmer Township was charged with drinking and driving. The only difference was she was woman enough to step down as an officer. She knew that what she did was wrong. It is their jobs to uphold the law whether they areon or off duty. After just one beer one could be impaired. Don't drink & drive. Period. Just because someone doesn't get hurt doesn't make it ok. It is usually the drunk that walks away from the accident while severely hurting or killing others involved. This guy should be woman enough & just step down like Sue did....

Anonymous said...

"But we seem to have no sympathy for the police officer, who puts his life on the line every time he wears that uniform. He sees all the pain and misery in what can be a very cruel world, and it's no secret that many police officers and other first responders end up suffering from the same post-traumatic stress that we now recognize as a problem in the military."
I won't defend the officers conduct but I do want to add to your sentiments. Not only do we have no sympathy for the officer who responds to your crisis, we then label him a union thug.

Anonymous said...

If someone had died in that accident Bernie, how would you feel then. If he can't handle the job he took, then it's time for him to move to a job that is less stressful. You might as well say that police who beat up cititzens are just doing it because of the stress they are under. Don't make excuses for a drunk cop!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"In fact, Hoffman admitted that there was no pedestrian. He was fumbling for his phone."

In fact, Hoffman admitted there could not have been a pedestrian but thought he saw one.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem PD is CALEA recognized. This section pertains to assistance programs that I would believe BPD must have in place to assist this particular officer.
Do they Bernie?

Also, some of the vicious slugs who post here probably would not support returning servicemen/women who suffer from PTSD either. Asshole comments from those who probably suck dry our social services in this country.

22.0 Compensation, Benefits, and Conditions of Work

22.1 Compensation

22.1.1 Salary Program

22.2 Benefits

22.2.1 Leave Program
22.2.2 Benefits Program
22.2.3 Personnel Support Services Program
22.2.4 Victim Witness Services/Line of Duty Death
22.2.5 Clothing and Equipment
22.2.6 Employee Assistance Program
22.2.7 Employee Identification

22.3 Conditions of Work

22.3.1 Physical Examinations
22.3.2 General Health and Physical Fitness
22.3.3 Fitness and Wellness Program
22.3.4 Off-Duty Employment
22.3.5 Extra-Duty Employment

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Hoffman originally claimed there was a pedestrian. Only when confronted with the fact no pedestrian was present did he give a new excuse of the cell phone. "

There was no "new excuse." That's nonsense. He rec'd a text message on his cell while driving, and while looking to see it, thought he saw a pedestrian. There was nothing false in what he said, except to those of you who are predisposed to find him guilty. He is being railroaded, but will win his arbitration.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bethlehem PD is CALEA recognized. This section pertains to assistance programs that I would believe BPD must have in place to assist this particular officer.
Do they Bernie?"


Somebody with a hot nit for Hoffman and from inside the City is working hard to paint this guy. As I said, these programs are voluntary. Cops will deny they have a problem.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, how do you pick and choose who you beat the drum for or tear to shreds? You have lambasted other people that YOU DON'T LIKE on this BLOG who have done far less then this cop!
Ee will no long be considered credible for the commonwealth should he ever have to testify against anyone!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not only should hoffman be suspended without pay and enter mandatory psychological counseling for ptsd and addiction, but every bethlehem officer who was in the bar that night who allowed him to drive; either by commission or omission, should, too, be suspended without pay. Perhaps, a 2-4 week suspension for hoffman and a 3-5 day suspension for the other officers in the bar. IMHO.

c said...

Nice piece Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Hoffman lied to a superior officer, only to later recant. He is untruthful. That could be brought up at a future trial, since it is technically a crime in PA to provide false information to a police officer.

He will be fired, since he did not oppose it.

Your confidence in the arbitration process is simply false hope. This will be upheld, just a Schlener's was. He was schedule to report to work a few hours about this, which would have impacted the City just as Schlener calling off work did.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Hoffman lied to a superior officer, only to later recant. He is untruthful. That could be brought up at a future trial, since it is technically a crime in PA to provide false information to a police officer."

This accusation of dishonesty is coming from someone who lacks the integrity to identify himself, and who should therefore be an expert on the subject of lying.

I sat through the hearing, remember? There was no evidence of dishonesty. In fact, if anything, Hoffman was probably honest to a flaw, even when it hurt him.

Right after this accident, whilein the hospital, he told the sergeant investigating this matter that someone darted out in front of him, and he swerved to avoid that person. A few days later, when internal affairs questioned Hoffman, he said that he was checking out a ext that he had just received, and thought he saw someone in front of him, so he swerved. By that time, he realized that there could not have been a person in front of him or that person would have been hit.

I believe both statements are consistent with each other and show the officer's honesty.

You, who lack the personal honesty to identify yourself while distorting what was said, have a different view. No surprise there. Hopefully you are the Molly's owner or bouncer, and not one of the Council members who will be deciding this matter.

He did not contest the hearing because he elected to pursue the arbitration. In fact, i believe this matter is a personnel matter that should have remained private. By conducting a public hearing without this employee's consent, his rights may very well have been violated. Bill Leeson is pretty sharp, so I tend to think there must be an explanation. In fact, I'd like to know how the ET, MC and 69 knew all about the prior discipline when the decision was made to terminate Hoffman. Someone in the Callahan admin leaked confidential information to the press. I hope that is pursued in the arbitration, as it should be. Hoffman's civil rights were violated in an effort to brand him in the eyes of the public.

As for the arbitration, go ahead and tell yourself this is a winner. But it's not. no self-respecting lawyer would honestly conclude you have a prayer bc you don't.

Instead of going after this guy, I'd like to see his superiors implement new policies to help first responders who see things every day that are bound to impact them. Instead of addressing the big picture and working for systemic changes that would actually improve the quality of your government, you want to ruin morale.

Very petty and very foolish.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Incidentally, the cell phone is no "excuse", as someone misrepresented here. There was a record of the text. The person who sent the text testified as well. he was sent a text.

My guess is that he got the text, went to look at it, and thought he saw someone while looking at the text and swerved. His perception was not as good as it should have been bc he was impaired.

But the notion that he is a liar is complete nonsense. The testimony establishes someone who clearly has a problem, but who just as clearly has a great deal of personal integrity.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If someone had died in that accident Bernie, how would you feel then"

What if? What if? What if he shot someone? What if there had been no accident at all?

Instead of dealing with the what ifs, we try people on what is.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Not only should hoffman be suspended without pay and enter mandatory psychological counseling for ptsd and addiction,"

I agree completely, and would add that he should agree that upon any further disciplinary infraction, he will be fired. I do not believe the officers with him honestly believed he was impaired. They would not have allowed him to drive if they thought that.

Anonymous said...

Why weren't you so vocal when Allentown fired Rush, the cop who was cited for public drunkenness, OFF DUTY, after he attacked air conditioners. He, at least wasn't driving a vehicle and never got in an accident.

When Rush was fired there wasn't a peep out of you supporting him. Why no excuse and support for that cop with a "disease"?

Rush didn't have the history Hoffman does, but you didn't come to his defense by wrapping him up in the blanket of PTSD and real heroes.

Hypocrite.

What's your connection to Hoffman? Why does this soon to be ex-cop get the full Bernie positive spin? The public is tired of those in blue covering for each other and treating each others offenses differently than they treat Joe Schmuck citizen.

In an instance where a cop is held to a higher standard expected of him, you call us to be forgiving and understanding. The vast majority, as you can see by the comments, are as understanding and forgiving as Hoffman would be if we rolled our car drunk and lied about what caused it.

Anonymous said...

1142: I am the poster at 943. Re: your contention that ohare is a hypocrite, he is. So am I. So are you. So is every single person who posts here and elsewhere. Period. We are all hypocritical in some way or another, but I forgot, your shit has no smell. If you believe it doesn't, then you are far more sociopathological than osama bin laden himself. Just postin'

Anonymous said...

not wanting to use your real name because you know you will be retaliated against for it hardly constitutes lying. they haven't even brought up the "conduct unbecoming an officer" angle yet. little Napoleon is toast and he will not win in arbitration. the officers who saw him getting ready to drive should face disciplinary action as well, and they're should be an investigation into why the fire department was called to Molly's as well. if it was retaliation or harassment, those responsible should be fitted as well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:42, the reason I did not cover Officer Rush's termination is bc I am only one person, can only cover so many stories and am far more familiar with Bethlehem than Allentown police. In fact, I miss most termination hearings. I went to this one and called it as I saw it. In the case of the Allentown officer, I know he was one of the officers involved in a shooting before his drinking incident. I am sure that, internally, he beat himself up over that matter and wondered when reading the news accounts whether he was suffering from PTSD.

These are human beings who put their lives on the line every day. If an officer is corrupt or lying, he has to go. But in both the Allentown and this case, I saw nothing that made me question either officer's integrity. In the bethlehem case, Officer Hoffman's integrity was very apparent to anyone willing to give him a fair shake. In fact, all the police officers who testified were quite impressive, from former Chief to current Chief to patrolman. Bethlehem hAs the finest force in the LV.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:13, if there was hard evidence that Officer Hoffman asked the fire department to harass Molly's, or that other officers were asked to do so, that would be official oppression and I would agree completely that he should be terminated. But the actual evidence was far from satisfactory.

As far the fire department, the evidence was that the fire official was "jovial" and said, "it's all good," when he approached Molly's about being over capacity. There was no official action, and not a scintilla of evidence that Officer Hoffman had a thing to do with that visit. And the establishment apparently was over capacity. Does Molly's get to flout the law bc Council members and high-ranking city officials visit? I think not.

The other evidence about official retaliation is a visit feim police after a fight at the bar. The evidence was that police are often parked nearby precisely bc of this sort of thing. The officer told the bouncer not to use certain wrestling moves. And probably said that bc, on his opinion, it is excessive force. Once again, there wasn't a shred of evidence that Officer Hoffman had a thing to do with that police visit. According to what the bouncer said, police visits are the norm.

The evidence also shows that the supposed altercation with Hoffman occurred in March, but that the owner waited until August before conplaining that he was worried.

It seems like a nice place and I wish the owner success in his business, and believe him when he said Ofgicer was agitated at the bar that day. But I do not believe there was any sort of retaliation, and that feeling is a product of an over active imagination.

Your reference to Officer Hoffman as "Little Napoleon" betrays your own predisposition. I have never met him and am reaching my conclusions on the basis of the evidence presented. In my view, it is insufficient.

Anonymous said...

hmm, you honestly consider getting into bar fights, threatening police officers, threatening business owners, threatening to use your police peers to destroy someone's business, drunk driving and lying to investigators to be examples of personal integrity? I might remind you that this "finest force in the Lehigh valley" masse international headlines for an illegal drug raid that cost the city millions

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bar fights? There actually is no evidence of a bar fight. Shoving? Yes. Threats? A 2005 incident in Philly with a cop who likely was boozing himself. Threats to close a business? As I indicated, the evidence there is very weak. Lying to investigators? In my view, he was painfully honest. Finest force in the LV? Absolutely. They are a good group. You can bring up the decade old Hirko case, which Bethlehem would have won had it gone to verdict.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" The vast majority, as you can see by the comments, are as understanding and forgiving as Hoffman would be if we rolled our car drunk and lied about what caused it."

The comments likely come from the same two or three people.

If we were to gauge reality by what people post on blogs, Ron Paul would be President.

Anonymous said...

as someone who was intimately involved in the hirko case, I disagree and believe the city got of cheap. the warrant was expired, evidence was tampered with and the short was a loose cannon who was previously rejected by other departments for being unstable. I consider skiing someone in the face and trying to choke them to be a bit more than a sobbing m match. as for the bouncer, I've seen him safely remove 200 pound Lehigh football players without breaking a sweat our spilling his coffee, so to imply that he felt removing a cop was a feather in his cap is a bit of a stretch. the kid has been bad news for the city since they hired him, much like schlener was and the fire chief who just retired. It's about time Bethlehem stops tolerating these behaviors from their public servants.

Anonymous said...

apologies for the typos....

Bernie O'Hare said...

I assume you must be a cop, and you seem to have some sort of vendetta against the Officer you inappropriately and anonymously refer to as "Little Napoleon." It is just as clear to me that the officers who testified, including the Chief and former Chief, have personal regard for this officer. Do I go with the sentiments of the officers who testified and identified themselves and who seem to like HoffmAN? Or do I go with an anonymous cop who smeared Officer Hoffman's size, brought up the irrelevant Hirko case, and who desperately wants to be Chief?

Dude, I'll call this the way I see it.

Don't worry. City Council will wring its hands and fire this guy, and probably make pious speeches, too.

Then the arbitrator will rule in his favor.

Instead of being focused on some sort of vendetta, why not work to make counseling mandatory after certain events? I think you might improve Hoffman and the rest of the force by doing that and reduce the incidence of this kind of hearing.

Anonymous said...

Im not a cop, never wanted to be chief of anything, no vendettas, and you indirectly brought up the hirko case by lauding a police department that disgraced itself and its community on an epic level. Napoleon complex has nothing to do with stature, look it up. I believe he will be fired and lose in arbitration. clearly, you feel otherwise. Time will tell. incidentally, he was ordered into counseling twice already, how many strikes do you propose he gets?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You have no personal vendetta, but call Officer Hoffman a "Little napoleon." You deny you are an officer, but claim inside knowledge of the Herko case. You have asked how many strikes Officer Hoffman gets, but there is no evidence the City offered him an opportunity to deal with his alcoholism, a disability recognized under the ADA. So i'd say he's had no strikes.

Anonymous said...

I guess you haven't taken the time to look up Napoleon complex. It's a pretty good fit. incidentally, who diagnosed him as an alcoholic? after all, I'm sure you realize that it's not a disability without that diagnosis from a professional.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Oh, I see. You want me to diagnose a Napoleonic complex, but not to diagnose alcoholism. Mmmk.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, every city employee receives training related to their EAP program. To claim they city never offered him an opportunity to deal with his problems it's a bit of a stretch. It's available to everyone at any time they feel the need.

Bernie O'Hare said...

And now we complete the circle. The employee must request the assistance. Yet most officers think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. This has been my point.It should be mandatory in certain situations. instead of railroading an officer, it makes more sense to me to fix the actual problem.

Anonymous said...

There is no diagnosis for Napoleon complex. However, there is a diagnosis for alcoholism, and you claimed that Hoffman has one. I'm just curious as to who gave him that diagnosis, or are you just making things up ad you go along?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree. the term "Napoleonic complex" is not really a psychological term, but is a pejorative you used to describe a Bethlehem police officer, demonstrating your own bias. Alcoholism is a disease that can be diagnosed by laymen, especially those who suffer from the disease themselves. I don't need a doctor to know someone has a broken arm.

Anonymous said...

Laymen can not diagnose a disability.

Bernie O'Hare said...

All the more reason to direct this Officer to a professional instead of a lynch mob.

Anonymous said...

"with a cop who likely was boozing himself."
"with a cop who likely was boozing himself."

Now who is playing a game.? you and your alky buddies are standing with one of your own. he will be fired and stay fired because his actions are reprehensible as a police officer.

Why not make fun of the bouncer again.

Also why not tell the folks about the comments that show your pattern of behavior? You won't because you make them disappear like the alky yuou are.

Anonymous said...

1233...you're asking me?

Anonymous said...

I thought public employees and their unions were union thugs? Isn't that right O'Hare?

Peter J.Cochran said...

This is like military combat, he see's the mush that was once his comrades face.He's up close and personal doing CPR! Shotguns are the most viable weapon inside of 30 yards. Shotguns are much more destructive energy than an AR-15 .This had to be a mess up close.God bless Officer Lasso and his family. Hoffman's employment will be riding a rail on 'past practices ' of the City of Bethlehem.

Anonymous said...

Police cut common folks NO slack.
(Other professionals witness death and tragedy close up, when they roll their cars---do the police give them a break?)

When cops step outside the law,"law enforcement" circles the wagons around them....and we should all be sympathetic,understanding.
Every day on YouTube you can see American police officers shoot somebody's pet dog, wack a hearing imparted person,taze a psychiatric patient,senior citizen etc. Not much they can't justify in their pursuit to serve and protect.
Do a google search and see how many steel workers in the Bethlehem mill were killed on the job. How many got heros funeral
services?
They is a gross double standard. People are tired of it.
Black and poor folks even more so.

Take his gun and badge. He is not cut out for the high standard his profession SHOULD demand. One wonders what kind of cowboy culture his drinking buddies offer the citizens and taxpayers of the Christmas City.

Give him assistance. Treat him with compassion. Support his recovery, and help reintegrate him back into a productive occupation....but not one with the immediate power of life and death. Get him help just as soon as you remove the firearm,badge and authority the citizens of Bethlehem gave him.
The citizens of Bethlehem,indeed the integrity of the BPD,deserve no less.

I wish him the best on his road to recovery.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe anyone is listening to the "bouncer" or the bar owner. The bouncer was on house arrest in Northampton County at the time of the incident. And the employer has had several of the prisons finest working there. Hardly stand up citizens...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, I think you have that double standard reversed. Most people i know are cut slack every day by the police. More often than not, they don't file charges and try to resolves things. But you want this cop's livelihood taken away bc he has a problem he developed as a result of keeping things safe for you. You are also blaming him over things that other officers have done in other places and other times.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow! You're right. Looks like Hunsicker had a motive for bashing Officer Hoffman. The man Karen Dolan referred to as a hero has had several run-ins with police, and on the day in question, he was indeed under house arrest for second offense DUI. Had this information been known to Bill Leeson, he would probably have revealed it to Council.

http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/CPReport.ashx?docketNumber=CP-48-CR-0000278-2012

Anonymous said...

According to the newspaper accounts in 2005 after assaulting a on-duty Philly cop, his BPD superiors had to go down and sign him out of jail. He was told then that any repeat offense would result in his termination. He admitted fault and agreed that it would never happen again. Well it did happen again, and again.

Anonymous said...

Now you are attacking the bouncer for just doing his job? What was he supposed to do, Stand there and watch the off duty cop continue to have his hands around the neck of another customer? Put the blame where it belongs and stop enabling a rogue cop.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:10, he did not have any incidents of that kind after the incident in '05. The incident at Molly's is very weak for the reasons I've already stated.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:16, I am not attacking the bouncer, but he was under house arrest at the time, has had several negative encounters with police, and may have had a reason to want to get a police officer. I thought he was just a little too proud of himself, and now know why.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I have the utmost respect for anyone in uniform. I also realize many need counseling after tragic events.
But let me get this straight. This off duty officer goes into a restaurant and thinks he has the right to grab another customer by the throat and when the bouncer asked him verbally to leave, the officer then assaults the bouncer! What are you thinking? Then to top it off, after the officer is removed from the establishment, the owner then realizes it's a off duty police officer that just assaulted one of his customers, but the owner offers the officer the opportunity to go back in, provided he calms down. Instead of taking the opportunity to calm down or better yet just leave, the officer then escalates the problem by threatening the owner and his business because, "I'm a fucking Cop, I will cause you problems".
Wait, it gets better! Then the officer leaves and somehow a little later a couple more officers (coincidently) show up later and question the owner and bouncer about how they "removed" their fellow officer earlier.
Wait, it gets even better. Then the next day a couple of officer Hoffman's friendly fire men (coincidently) just happen to show up at the restaurant to question the owner about some fire regulations!!!
The owner testified in all of his years owning the business, that has never happened before!!!! I guess it all was just a coincident. LOL
You said yourself, an officer should be fired, "when it comes to matters of integrity and honesty or official oppression".
Intimidating business owners! Getting fellow police officers and firemen to harass a business. This is corrupt, unethical, lacks integrity/honesty and stinks of "official oppression"!
Now you state that, "this guy appears to have personal integrity". And you want him reinstated? You condone this? What a joke!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I would have problems with this if I believed it. I don't. Too many holes. 1) I'm not sure that the person they encountered was really Hoffman. 2) I am troubled there was no complaint about this incident, which supposedly happened in March, until August. 3) according to the bouncer, police are often parked nearby, so I don 'to think he should be surprised that they would come in after a fight. 4) the officers warned the bouncers about his wrestling moves, and he didn't like it. It could be the officers were concerned that he was using excessive force. 5) the firefighter who spoke to them about being over capacity was, by their description, "jovial" and said "It's all good." They were over capacity, and probably should be warned when they are. 6) This bar was an after-council meeting spot for council members and the Mayor, and is frequented by many high-ranking city officials, including several high-ranking police officers. It would be sheer lunacy for the owner to worry, assuming anything was said. 7) we now know the bouncer was under house arrest and had reason to be pissed at cops.

So no, I attach little weight to what they offered. If I believed it, I'd want the officer fired. But I don't. I don't think things went down the way they described it. Over time, the mind confabulates, so I think they may not have the best recollections.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I usually see eye to eye with you on almost everything but thats a lot of assumptions on your part.
1.The bouncer and owner lied about it happening or it being Hoffman at all.
2.The now under house arrest bouncer, through mental telepathy , somehow made Hoffman get into the fight and choke another customer just so the bouncer could have a reason to get back at a cop (which they did not know he was a cop until Hoffman said, "I'm a fucking cop and will cause you problems)
3. The cops and fire dept show up for the first and only time before or after this event happened , just by coincidence within a 24 hour period after Hoffman is thrown out.
Sorry, No doubt about it, this is harassment of a respected business.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have explained twice, and in detail, why I have reservations about the Molly's witnesses. Nowhere in those explanations did I call the owner or bouncer a liar. And to be clear, I don't think they lied. I just don't put much stock in something they reported five months after it supposedly occurred. I'm not sure they have the right person, and the patron who was allegedly being choked was not called. I think the claims of retaliatory behavior are borderline lunacy, giving that this is a watering hole for city heavyweights. And the bouncer, we just learned, was under house arrest and had reason to be pissed at police. It's very weak. There was something almost cocky about the way the bouncer testified. If I were a fact finder, I would not find their testimony credible. It does not mean they are liars. It just means I don't believe them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Also, the claim about this being the only time the police showed up is wrong. The bouncer testified police visit regularly, especially if there is a fight. And there was a fight. The fireman, as described by the bouncer, was not threatening. If they are over capacity, shouldn't 't something be said?

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Your 8:36 post states he didn't have any more alcohol related incidences after the 2005 incident when he was warned that if another incident happened again, that he would be terminated. Crashing into a bunch of cars and rolling your car over in 2013 with a blood alcohol limit two times over the DUI rate IS ANOTHER INCIDENT.

Bernie O'Hare said...

My earlier comment sad he did not have another incident like the one in 2005, which involved an altercation with a Philly cop. Look I don't want to argue this ad nauseum, especially with people who do not ID themselves. I interpreted that warning to apply to incidents like the altercation with a Philly police officer. It certainly is not clear. Something like this should be.

Anonymous said...

BOH is qualified to diagnose this officers disease and how/why he got said condishion.
Insightful.
He also doesn't believe in the "Blue Wall of Silence".
Only Police Officers see bad things on the job and everyday they cut loads of people slack.
Sounds right to me.

Anonymous said...

Fuck cops..nobody needs these assholes anyway. I never needed a cop and never will. THEY ALL SUCK

Anonymous said...

Go drink at the FOP lodge with the rest of these drunk asshole liars.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they can do some coke with the phillipsburg pd and shoot some graves up

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie, maybe you should just go have lunch with the Bethlehem cops at Lump's deli. Then you can get all the " knowledge" you need. Lump is full of shit too. People may think he is nice..... Park in front of his store & don't go in there but to visit someone else. He isn'tso nice then. Bethlehem is all about politics. If you aren't a part of it you don't have a chance. Hoffman should have stepped down from his job instead of costing all this money to decide if he should be able to stay on as a cop. & why wait for someone to get hurt. Take care of the problem before it becomes a bigger problem. I am not a cop either. Just your average neighbor who can see clearly. Next time you go to Lump's I'll flatten your tires for you & you can go tell Bethlehem's finest.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You sound like a very nice person. I can't understand why Lump would nbe unpleasant to an anonymous coward like you.