The fallout from the sad and unnecessary murder of 67-year-old Peter Cukor last month, outside his home in the Berkeley hills, continues to rain down on Berkeley police chief Michael Meehan. And now we hear that Meehan went ballistic trying to manage the story after the
Bay City News Bay Area News Group originally reported that he had apologized for the Berkeley PD's slow response to the incident during a community meeting.
Meehan apparently used police databases to track down
BCN Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley, whom he had tried to reach in early March by phone and email in order to request changes to a story. Oakley had reported that Meehan had offered a public apology for the slow response by Berkeley PD to the initial call placed by George Cukor about the strange and "spacey" intruder on his property who was trying to get inside his home, however Meehan denies ever saying such a thing. He now blames reporters and bloggers for having printed inaccurate information before the department could correct it.
After Meehan could not reach Oakley, he tracked down his address and sent Sgt. Mary Kusmiss to Oakley's home one night to press for changes to the story. Oakley now claims he suffered panic attacks as a result of Kusmiss awakening he and his wife, arriving armed but in plain clothes on his doorstep.
Berkeley PD transcripts indicate that police had been instructed not to respond to non-emergency calls that day, February 18, because of an approaching Occupy protest that was headed toward the Berkeley campus. The Berkeley PD has since tried to deny that Cukor's call had been ignored, however transcripts of police communications that day have since shown that his first call was deemed a non-emergency, and was not responded to. Because no police showed up, Cukor tried to seek assistance from a nearby firehouse, which he walked to, only to find no one there. After he returned to his home, he was bludgeoned to death with a flower pot by Daniel Jordan DeWitt.
A new piece yesterday from the Contra Costa Times reports on the argument now unfolding about how urgent Cukor's initial call sounded. The draft transcript indicates that he wanted "an officer up here right away," however the police are now backing off saying that this is not a perfectly verbatim transcript. Police have maintained that Cukor called the non-emergency line, and have tried to say that people call all the time asking for a quick response, but that Cukor did not indicate that anyone was trying to enter his home by force. It was only after Cukor was attacked and his wife called 911 that police arrived on the scene.