An embattled West Reading police officer, accused of physically attacking his police chief, has broken his silence, saying he was the victim of workplace harassment for more than decade.
"I've been harassed probably for the 16 out of the 18 years I've been there," said Officer Ronald E. Ladd, 57, who is accused of hitting Chief Edward C. Fabriziani, 51, on Aug. 31, while in Chief Fabriziani's office.
Ladd told 69 News that he went to Chief Fabriziani's office to complain about being verbally attacked by a fellow officer in public.
But Ladd alleges that the discussion quickly turned into an argument.
"The chief jumped out of his chair, and he's screaming at me, and he's pointing his finger at me, and he is spitting on me as he's doing so because he was so out of control," said Ladd, who claims the meeting then became physical.
"He took and hit me with the heels of his hand," said Ladd, "and when he did that, I pushed back, the fight ensued."
But Ladd explains this altercation was the culmination of years of mistreatment.
On one occasion, Ladd alleges that Chief Fabriziani made fun of him.
"I lost between 30 to 35% of my hearing in Iraq. So, it came back to me that [Fabriziani] made fun of me behind my back about wearing hearing aids. How sad is that?"
69 News tried to get the Chief Fabriziani's side of the story, but he referred all comments to his attorney, who issued the following statement:
"Chief Fabriziani looks forward to resuming his duties as Chief of Police of the Borough of West Reading following the attack by Officer Ladd. Officer Ladd will be prosecuted in civil court to the fullest extent of the law for his horrendous acts of violence committed against the Chief. We eagerly await the completion of the Borough’s internal investigation so the Chief and the Borough of West Reading can move forward," said Kevin A. Moore, Esq., attorney for Chief Fabriziani.
Court documents indicate that Ladd used his fist to hit Chief Fabriziani in the head and body. Fabriziani was treated at the hospital for cuts and bruises.
"And based upon the physical evidence and our investigation we determined that Officer Ladd was the aggressor of the physical confrontation that took place," said John Adams, District Attorney.
A citation has been filed and could carry a penalty of up to 90 days in jail or $300 fine.
Officer Ladd says he has also been in contact with his attorney, and stands by his claim that he is the victim of harassment.