West Reading residents: End police controversy now
Council president promises to act in best interest of borough residents
The embattled West Reading Police Department was put under the microscope Tuesday night.
Borough officials were trying to get to the bottom of a fight that erupted between Ofc. Ronald Ladd and police Chief Edward Fabriziani.
The altercation is alleged to have occurred in Fabriziani's office on Aug. 31.
Recently, Ladd, 57, told 69 News that he was being mistreated by another officer, so he took his complaint to Fabriziani.
Ladd said the meeting quickly escalated out of control and a fight erupted between him and Fabriziani, 51.
Both men were put on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Ladd attended the borough council meeting Tuesday night to see how officials would decide his future on the force.
Council officials said they would not comment on the matter publicly, citing it was a personnel issue, but Kevin Conrad, the council president, did express his frustration over the matter.
"It is absolutely frustrating," said Conrad. "However, it's part of our responsibility as elected officials of the borough of West Reading to act in the best interest of the residents and the taxpayers."
And those taxpayers also demanded answers about exactly what happened between Ladd and Fabriziani.
"They can't both be right. One is telling you one story, the other is telling you the other story," said Russ Schollenberger, resident.
"Well, it's a sorry state for the borough. I mean it's not just a single black eye, it's a double black eye," said Oswald Herbert, resident.
During Tuesday night's meeting, many praised the hard work and diligence of Ofc. Ladd.
Fabriziani was not present. Court documents indicated he was hit in the head and body by Ladd during the office altercation.
An independent investigation was conducted by the Berks County district attorney's office, which ruled in favor of the chief.
"And based upon the physical evidence and our investigation, we determined that Ofc. Ladd was the aggressor of the physical confrontation that took place," said District Attorney John Adams.
Ladd was cited with harassment.
Toward the end of Tuesday night's council meeting, officials went into a closed-door meeting to discuss the matter further.
"My hope is that the council looks at everything that's happened and they put everything together and decide to do what's best for the community, and not for personal interests," said Joseph Brown, a West Reading police detective and president of the Berks County Fraternal Order of Police.
The council meeting ended around 11:15 p.m., and officials indicated the matter is still under investigation.
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